Pregnancy is a wonderful but challenging time. And acne can make it even more challenging. You may have entered your pregnancy with existing acne breakouts. Or even more frustratingly, hormones may cause breakouts to re-occur or worsen. But the good news is that the same three avenues of acne treatment used outside of pregnancy – topical treatments, oral treatments, and facial acne cleanings – are still applicable… with some caveats. Today you’ll find out what you can do and what you can’t do for your acne while you’re pregnant.
If you have acne when you get pregnant, there’s a 50/50 chance it will get better, just from being pregnant. There’s also a 50/50 chance that due to your altered hormonal state, it will get even worse. And, if you don’t have acne, pregnancy may even cause it.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to predict who the lucky first group will be. However, if you’re in the second two groups, and you’re more apt to be in these groups if you often have a flare up at the start of your menstrual cycle, here are some tips to help you control your pregnancy acne.
Topical treatments that are generally considered safe in pregnancy are acne face washes and toners, as well as many spot treatments such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid products. I recommend at home glycolic products throughout pregnancy as a whole face treatment to help prevent breakouts as well as a spot treatment for specific blemishes. Topical antibiotics include Erythromycin and Clindamycin. The super cautious may not feel comfortable using anything but cleansers and toners in the first trimester, and of course you should use whatever you’re most comfortable with. And I can't stress enough, all retinoids must be avoided.
In terms of acne cleanings… Cleaning out clogged pores and blemishes is also very helpful and need not be avoided in pregnancy. Whether done by a facialist or in a dermatology office, it results in faster resolution of pimples. Professional-strength glycolic treatments help to both prevent new breakouts and treat existing ones.
As with most courses of acne treatment, it’s recommended to start with the simplest solutions and step up the treatment only if needed. So if you are not responding to the topicals or acne cleanings I mentioned, oral medications may be warranted… Again, depending on your tolerance for taking any pills during pregnancy that aren’t vital to your health and in consultation with your doctors. Cephalexin and Erythromycin are commonly prescribed in the last two trimesters, but again consult with your doctors.
Pregnancy is a wonderful but challenging time. However, I can now say that being able to treat your breakouts with these techniques hopefully will make it just a little less challenging!