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Safe acne treatments during pregnancy

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In this article

Blue light acne treatment during pregnancy
Eradikate acne treatment during pregnancy
Glycolic acid acne treatment during pregnancy
Is salicylic acid treatment safe during pregnancy?
Is laser acne treatment safe during pregnancy?
Isolaz acne treatment and pregnancy
Treating pregnancy acne holistically

There are many acne treatments available in beauty salons, over the pharmacy counter and on prescription. Gone are the days when the only choice we had was Oxy 5 or Oxy 10!

But if you’re pregnant and pregnancy acne is bothering you, it can be tricky to know what acne treatments are safe to use.

So here’s our round up of some of the most popular acne treatments, and which ones are safe during pregnancy.

Blue light acne treatment during pregnancy

Most cases of acne are caused by a build up of a natural waxy substance produced by the skin, called sebum. When sebum levels rise, which during pregnancy can be caused by a rise in hormones called androgens, it can lead to blocked pores. These blocked pores then become comforting environments for a bacterium called Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes.

P. acnes is found naturally on the skin, but if it’s allowed to colonise, or take hold on the skin, it causes acne.

Blue light kills P. acnes and is therefore often used, in a clinical setting to help treat acne. This kind of light therapy doesn’t include the use of lasers. Instead, it makes use of blue LED lights that are directed onto the skin to penetrate deep into the layers to kill bacteria and help reduce sebum.

The use of blue light as an acne treatment during pregnancy is considered safe and for it to be effective, it should be administered by a trained professional on a weekly basis.

Eradikate acne treatment during pregnancy

EradiKate is a topical acne treatment than contains zinc oxide and high levels of sulphur, developed by skincare expert to the Hollywood stars, Kate Somerville. For many users, it's one of the best spot creams. When applied directly to areas of the skin affected by acne, EradiKate can help unclog pores, reduce acne spots and prevent them from returning.

We couldn’t find anything on the Kate Somerville website to suggest that using EradiKate during pregnancy was safe or unsafe.

Glycolic acid acne treatment during pregnancy

Once angry, inflamed acne pustules have gone down, they can leave behind scars that may appear darker than the rest of the surrounding skin.

Glycolic acid is a type of alpha hydroxy acid, or AHA. AHAs are usually derived from natural sources and are often also called fruits acids. Like all AHAs, glycolic acid works by peeling away a few of the upper layers of skin, leaving behind fresher, more evenly pigmented skin. It also has the added benefit of reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Using an AHA like glycolic acid, can be effective at treating these dark scars left by acne. Glycolic acid is usually used in conjunction with benzoyl peroxide to help treat acne under the supervision of a dermatologist.

Glycolic acid at a concentration of less than 10% is safe to use during pregnancy, but if you’re worried, double check with your midwife or GP.

Beauty products bought on the high street are usually less than 10% but stronger glycolic acid peels that you’d receive in a salon should not be applied during pregnancy.

Glycolic acid at any concentration can cause skin redness and irritation, which can be heightened during pregnancy.

Is salicylic acid treatment safe during pregnancy?

Salicylic acid is commonly found in many over the counter acne treatments. It’s an effective exfoliant similar to AHAs which helps the skin to peel away the top few layers and allow dead skin cells to slough away more easily. It also reduces the amount of oil in the skin. This all helps the pores of the skin to stay clear, therefore helping to prevent acne breakouts.

Over the counter products will typically contain 0.5 to 2% concentrations of salicylic acid. If you visit a salon or a dermatologist for a salicylic chemical peel, it will more than likely be in the range of 20 to 30% concentration.

Salicylic acid is part of the aspirin family. High strength salicylic acid peels are not safe to be administered during pregnancy as the drug can be harmful to your unborn baby. The jury is out on whether over the counter strength preparations are safe, so we’d advise erring on the side of caution and avoiding all products containing salicylic acid during pregnancy.

Is laser acne treatment safe during pregnancy?

If acne is particularly bad, it can leave behind deep scarring. One of the treatments for acne scarring is laser therapy, and there are two types.

Ablative laser therapy is used to remove a small amount of the skin that surrounds the scar. This then leaves behind a smoother, less raised patch of skin.

Non-ablative laser therapy is used to stimulate the production of collagen. Collagen is responsible for keeping the skin plump, the more collagen, the better the appearance of the skin.

It’s best to speak to your midwife or GP to find out if laser acne treatment is safe during pregnancy. Some doctors say that it is safe, whilst others don’t recommend it. What is known, is that the numbing creams often used to make laser therapies less painful, enter the bloodstream and can cross the placenta into your baby’s bloodstream.

We therefore think it’s better to avoid laser therapies when pregnant.

Isolaz acne treatment and pregnancy

Isolaz is a type of laser therapy used to help treat acne. It uses a broad-spectrum light to kill the skin bacteria associated with acne, P. acnes. A gentle vacuuming tool is then used on the skin to literally suck bacteria and cell debris out of the pores.

It doesn’t require a numbing cream as it’s relatively pain free, unlike other laser treatments and is therefore considered safe during pregnancy.

If you’re in any doubt, again, speak to a medical professional or avoid Isolaz treatment until you’ve had your baby.

Treating pregnancy acne holistically

Being pregnant is a time of both excitement and nervousness. Knowing what to do for the best is always going to be a worrying time, especially if its your first pregnancy.

If you have pregnancy acne, then let Sönd help you. Our range of alkalising cleaners and moisturisers have been developed for people with skin problems such as acne, by people who know first-hand what it’s like to experience acne.

Using alkaline based products on your skin, rather than acid based as so many other skincare regimes are, makes scientific sense. Your skin will be more hydrated, nourished and supported, meaning that it’s better able to cope with the extra strains of pregnancy hormones.

So relax and take comfort from knowing that our products are looking after your skin, quite literally at a skin-deep level. And that’s certainly one less thing to have to think about.

Hannah de Gruchy BSc(Hons)

About Author

Hannah de Gruchy is a freelancer writer who specialises in health and wellness. She has a keen interest in the biology of skin and loves using her words to help separate the real science of skincare from the pseudoscience of some skincare brands. Hannah has a degree in Human Biology and many years’ experience working in laboratories around London. Using this experience, Hannah enjoys turning complex science into interesting, engaging and easy to digest pieces to read. In her spare time, Hannah runs, practices yoga and loves cooking plant based foods.

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