By Benjamin Davis
Experiencing acne during pregnancy is a very common occurrence. As you probably know, hormones have a major effect on acne, and women who are pregnant often undergo intense hormonal fluctuations. Androgens, a particular hormone that is elevated during pregnancy, cause extra production of sebum, an oily secretion of the sebaceous glands. Sebum combines with shed skin cells that line hair follicles. This creates an environment where bacteria can grow and multiply, eventually leading to acne breakouts.
Acne During Pregnancy: Do’s
Your first step is to talk to your physician about your options for dealing with acne during pregnancy. Everyone’s body and pregnancy experience is unique and only your doctor is qualified to provide you with advice tailored to your needs. The information provided in this article is based on information from doctors and women that have dealt with these issues. Hopefully it will give you some good ideas and suggestions. With that said, let’s move on with some tips considered to be safe acne treatment during pregnancy:
- Exercise proper hygiene
- Wash your face with mild cleansers; use soft washcloths or your hands
- Shampoo daily if you have oily hair
- Keep your hands away from your face as much as possible—hands can trap oil, sweat and dirt, which blocks pores
- Eat a diet that promotes clear skin: “The Clear Skin Prescription” by Nicholas Perricone, M.D., is a good reference book
- Read the labels on your makeup: The term you are looking for is ”noncomedogenic.” This means that the makeup will not clog your pores and cause acne. Also, make sure to wash off your makeup before going to sleep
- Be careful even with over-the-counter creams and gels. Benzoyl peroxide is a common ingredient in acne treatments that is considered by some to be a safe acne treatment during pregnancy. But Lawrence E. Gibson, a Mayo Clinic Dermatologist, advocates caution regarding how to treat acne during pregnancy. He points out that even topical medication can enter your bloodstream, and while there are no known problems with benzoyl peroxide, there is little research on the safety of its use during pregnancy. You should also be mindful that over-the-counter medications contain a myriad of other ingredients, not all of which are considered safe for pregnant women.
Acne During Pregnancy: Dont’s
- Don’t take prescription medications unless ordered by your doctor. One popular acne medication—Accutane—can cause severe birth defects, miscarriage or premature death, according to the FDA (Federal Food and Drug Administration). Antibiotics like minocycline can potentially cause fetus abnormalities.
- Don’t eat greasy, oily foods (see above regarding dietary strategies)
- Don’t pop or squeeze pimples: this could worsen the symptoms and cause scarring
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