Caring for Pregnancy Acne
Having acne prone skin can mean that you struggle to keep your skin under control and you regularly experience spots, pimples and breakouts. You might have seen a dermatologist and use prescribed acne medications or you might manage your skin yourself at home with over-the-counter treatments.
But what if you're pregnant or planning to become pregnant? What acne treatments are safe to use during pregnancy? What if you start developing acne during pregnancy for the first time in your life? What should you use to safely treat acne? Is acne while pregnant even a thing?
Annoying for many, yes, it is.
Being pregnant causes surges and fluctuations in hormone levels that mean you can experience different moods and emotions from one day to the next. But the hormone variations that pregnancy brings don’t just cause changes in the way we think and feel, they cause physical changes too. One of the most noticeable, aside from a growing bump of course, is changes in our skin. Some women report better, more glowing skin during pregnancy. But others develop pregnancy acne, which can mean that they’re experiencing acne for the first time, or that their existing acne becomes worse.
This can be upsetting and stressful, at a time when hormones are already causing unpredictable mood swings. Added to this, you might be worried about what you can do about your skin, when the expectation is that your skin should be ‘glowing’.
So, what safe pregnancy acne treatments are there and how good are they? Can you use the normal things you might apply to your skin? Does acne go away after pregnancy or will your skin change forever?
Here’s everything you need to know about pregnancy acne and the Sönd guide to safe topical acne treatments during pregnancy.
What Causes Pregnancy Acne?
When you’re pregnant, levels of hormones called androgens naturally rise. These androgens are most commonly thought of as being male hormones, but they’re also present in female bodies, just to a lesser extent.
When androgen levels increase, it causes the sebum glands in the skin to grow in size, and in turn produce more sebum. Sebum is an oily substance with a waxy feel, that’s naturally produced by the skin to help keep it hydrated. But when it’s produced in excess, it can cause blockages within the pores of the skin where naturally shed skin cells build up. These blockages trap bacteria, leading to inflammation, clogged pores and eventually, acne.
When Does acne During Pregnancy Start?
When pregnancy acne can starts will vary from one person to another but tends to start from week six of pregnancy.
A common question is whether acne is an early sign of pregnancy. Given that it is likely to only start after week six of pregnancy it isn’t a reliable sign of early pregnancy.
Does Pregnancy Acne Go Away?
Pregnancy acne usually clears up once you’ve given birth, but it can be distressing at the time you’re going through it.
Can I Prevent Acne During Pregnancy?
The best way to prevent and manage pregnancy acne is to support your body as it goes through hormonal changes. Eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of dark leafy greens and antioxidant rich fruits and colourful vegetables. Taking steps to achieve good quality sleep and low stress levels will also help.
But unfortunately, if your skin decides it wants to break out, there isn't a surefire way of avoiding it completely. Which is why a good skincare regime to support the health if your skin is so important. More on that shortly.
Will I Definitely Experience Acne During Pregnancy?
No. Not all women will develop acne during pregnancy. However, if you're already prone to breakouts, then you may find that your skin becomes even more oily and acne-prone whilst you're pregnant, despite your best efforts to look after it.
Either way, the basics of healthy, happy skin, is a decent skincare routine that you stick to, twice a day...
Our Skin Care Tips on Caring for Pregnancy Acne
- Use a gentle cleanser twice a day to wash your face help cleanse away excess sebum without irritating the skin. (Wash more often than this, and the skin could become more inflamed.)
- Try to avoid rubbing your skin with face cloths or face towels or using harsh exfoliating agents or astringent cleaners. Be as gentle with your skin as possible, using your hands to rinse your skin and gently patting it dry with a soft, clean towel.
- Use an oil free moisturiser and makeup products that are also free from oils. Look for products that are non-pore blocking, often referred to as non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic.
- Be careful what you use on your hair too, particularly if you’re prone to acne breakouts around your hairline and forehead. Oily products such as hair serums can add to the oil on your skin.
- Be mindful of what else touches your skin. If you have naturally greasy hair, it’s best to wash it daily and avoid having a fringe or wearing your hair in a style that’s in contact with your face. Try to also avoid touching your face with your hands, especially if you wear hand cream.
- As much as it’s tempting to do so, avoid squeezing or picking at spots and blackheads. If you do, you run the risk of making the appearance of your skin worse and causing permanent acne scars.
Treating Pregnancy Acne
There are various treatments for acne, such as blue light acne treatment, glycolic acid acne treatment and laser treatment, but not all are safe during pregnancy.
Many regular acne treatments have not been studies in pregnancy, mainly due to the problem of testing anything on a woman who's carry such precious cargo. Therefore, most acne treatments should be avoided during pregnancy even in the later stages.
Topical Acne Treatments
Some regular, over the counter topical acne treatments are unsafe during pregnancy. Topical acne treatments are treatments that are applied to the skin. Drugs present in medicated skincare are absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream and can cross your placenta and enter the bloodstream of your growing baby. Many of them haven’t been tested for their safety in pregnant women so should always be used with caution.
Products that contain isotretinoin should never be used during pregnancy, if you're trying to become pregnant or if you're breastfeeding. Also known as Roaccutane, isotretinoin gel or capsules are used to treat acne but can cross the skin barrier and cause birth defects in your unborn child.
Topical retinoids are another type of skincare ingredient that should not be used during pregnancy.
However, acne treatments that contain salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are safe treatment options during pregnancy. Salicylic acid works by removing the dead skin cells from the surface of the skin that can clog the pores and cause acne breakouts.
Benzoyl peroxide works by killing the bacteria that are one of the major common acne causes, as well as removing excess oil and dead skin cells.
If you're struggling with acne prone skin caused by pregnancy hormones, look for skin care that contains these two ingredients that are considered safe to help manage your skin.
Safe Remedies and Products to Treat Acne During Pregnancy
As we've discussed, many prescription acne medications such as isotretinoin are unsafe for use during pregnancy. Not only that, laser and light treatments for acne are questionable, and are best avoided during pregnancy.
Therefore, the best option for spot treatment goes skin deep - the right skin care. It can be hard to emotionally deal with stressed out skin, especially if you have a history of acne or you have severe acne and you have to stop using the treatments you've been used to. Unfortunately, acne in pregnancy is very common, and most acne remedies are a no go.
But trust that your skin will begin to calm down once you've given birth.
How to Care for Pregnancy Acne
Getting your skincare right to help support your acne prone skin is important and is even more so during pregnancy. Using harsh ingredients that strip the skin and are absorbed should be avoided, and instead, products should be used to support the natural defences of the skin.
An effective way of tackling pregnancy acne safely is to use skin nourishing cleansers and moisturisers that help combat the causes of acne, rather than simply treating the spots and breakouts that are a symptom of acne.
Pregnancy acne, or any other acne, is not caused by poor hygiene, unfortunately, it’s a condition that can simply be caused by our biology. Here at Sönd, we believe in holistic skincare and healthy living to help nourish the skin, whilst helping it to stay as healthy as possible.
Alkalising Skincare: The Best Pregnancy-Safe Acne Products
We developed our range of skincare to help problem skin and we were uncompromising on the fact that it needed to get results. So we created Sönd skincare unlike any other and made it alkaline based. Most other skincare regimes on the market are acid based.
Alkaline skincare allows the skin to stay more hydrated and helps support the natural defences of the skin. This alkaline environment ensures that the skin cells can thrive and maintain their optimum health. The skin is less stressed and more balanced, allowing it to spend more time maintaining itself, rather than having to constantly renew in order to repair itself. The less stressed the skin, the more able it is to deal with the bacteria and excess sebum that leads to or can worsen acne.
Our skincare contains alkalising salts that create a hostile environment for bacteria. This means that bacteria cannot build up as much as they can in a more acidic, bacteria loving environment. Another win for acne prone skin.
Pregnancy acne is most common in the first and second trimesters, so early pregnancy acne treatments are important to help you tackle your pregnancy acne if its bothering you.
Our range of cleansers, serums and moisturisers could be the answer to your pregnancy acne. We even have a sample set that you can try to see just how good it is! Our products are also suited to other common skin conditions such as rosacea and eczema.
We hope you find solace in our alkalising, safe pregnancy acne treatments that work. Not having to worry about your skin will leave you to enjoy the rest of your pregnancy, nurture your growing bump and feel excited to meet your baby. Then, when the time comes, your skin will be better able to deal with the stress of caring for a newborn!
We wish you all the best!
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.