Safely Treat Acne During Pregnancy


Pregnant women often experience problems with acne because of the fluctuating hormones in their system.

Acne is really a typical problem that gives women problems although being pregnant. Acne can turn out to be a issue throughout pregnancy because of the hormone levels inside your body. Some women get it on the face, however it can show up on other locations like the arm or back.


  • Fluctuating hormones often cause acne during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.
  • Expectant mothers who have fair skin tend to get whiteheads and blackheads.
  • Expectant mothers who have deep brown or golden skin tones tend to have more problems with melasma, or the “mask of pregnancy,” and brown spots on the skin where acne has healed.
  • Except that women should not use hydroquinone skin lighteners or retinoids (Retin-A and similar products) during pregnancy, the same products work for pregnancy acne as for acne at any other time during life.
  • Women who have  tendency toward skin pigmentation should consider wearing sunscreen that blocks UV-A rays, even indoors and in the car. Tinted products that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide block UV-A radiation.
  • Blue light and red light therapy are OK during pregnancy, but don’t overheat the skin.
  • Never pop pimples. The more infected the pimple, the greater the risk of forcing bacteria into the bloodstream. This can endanger the baby.
  • The easiest and most economical way to buy products for treating acne during pregnancy is Exposed Skin Care’s complete acne treatment system.

“More Zits Than I Had In Middle School”

It’s not unusual for women in their twelfth or thirteenth week of pregnancy to complain that they are breaking out in more whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples than they had when they were teenagers. The reason women break out with acne during pregnancy has to do with the hormone testosterone.

Testosterone is a hormone that in large amounts causes male sexual characteristics, such as hair growth, deepening of the voice, muscle development, and aggression. In women, testosterone fuels sex drive. The ovaries make tiny amounts of testosterone throughout a woman’s life, especially during the early teens and during pregnancy, notably when the baby is a boy. The additional testosterone in a woman’s body during pregnancy stimulates the production of the skin oil known as sebum by the sebaceous gland in every pore in the skin.

Women’s bodies also make much more estrogen during pregnancy. The combination of estrogen and testosterone makes the skin much more sensitive to sun. Brown spots may appear on the skin with sun exposure. This “mask of pregnancy” will usually disappear when the baby is born. Brown spots that form on the skin after pimples heal, however, may be more numerous and more persistent. Women who have dry, sensitive skin and darker skin tones are more prone to this problem.

What to Do About Pregnancy Acne

The treatment of acne during pregnancy is very similar to the treatment of acne during any other time of life. Acne of pregnancy forms when pores get clogged with sebum. If the pore is infected is not infected with acne bacteria, the sebum may just harden into a whitehead or blackhead. If the pore is infected with acne bacteria, inflammation unleashed by the immune system aimed at destroying the pimple may cause local inflammation of the skin.

Preventing whiteheads and blackheads is just a matter of keep pores free of excess sebum. Preventing pimples is a matter of keeping them from becoming overgrown with acne bacteria. Usually the problem is not a lack of washing. Most commonly the problem is:

  • Resting the face on a hand, which traps oil and bacteria in pores, or
  • Not tilting the head back when rinsing off shampoo (this will cause acne on the forehead), or
  • Letting sweat get trapped in fold of the skin (this is the problem when acne appears on the breasts or buttocks, when usually does not happen when a woman is not pregnant), or
  • Using oils to prevent stretch marks which clog pores.

It is important, and usually a pain, to wash hands both before and after touching your face. It can take some ingenuity (and a movable shower head) to rinse hair backwards without allowing shampoo or hair products to touch the hair line, forehead, and nose. Frequent showering with careful drying of the skin (preferably with a blow dryer capped with a diffuser to keep from drying out the skin) will help prevent breast and buttocks acne, and using a vitamin E cream rather than pure oil on stretch marks will help prevent acne elsewhere on the body.

Are Skin Care Products Safe During Pregnancy?

Women can use almost all the same skin care products during pregnancy as they can at any other time with two major exceptions:

  • The skin lightener hydroquinone is absorbed into general circulation and may cross the placenta into the baby’s circulatory system. This is not likely to be dangerous unless either or mother has a genetic condition called ochronosis, most common among people who have Asian skin types. In this condition, hydroquinone can cause permanent black and blue mottling of the skin.
  • Retin-A, Accutane, Tazorac, Differin, Renova, and tretinoin topical are probably dangerous to the embryo during the first month of development, and are not known to be safe at any other time during pregnancy.

Otherwise, pregnancy acne is like regular acne except it tends to pop out in more places. Women who have fair skin should use a mild cleanser and a mild moisturizer twice a day. Avoid alcohol-based products that can dry out the skin.

Some women are more concerned about the formation of melasma (brown spots) on the skin. The more pigmented the skin, the more prone it is to form spots during pregnancy. If you have brown or black skin tones, consider wearing a sunscreen that blocks UV-A rays all the time, even indoors. UV-A rays can penetrate glass windows in your house and car. They activate the brown spots that seem to multiply during pregnancy.

Blue light, red light, and combination light therapy, on the other hand, are fine during pregnancy. Just don’t snooze under the lamp or place it too close to the skin.

No matter what your skin type, don’t pop pimples. A “pimple” with a yellow center of liquid pus is caused by staph bacteria, not acne bacteria, that can enter the bloodstream. Let your doctor give you medication for especially painful pimples, or treat them with either tea tree oil or calendula gels. If you have never used these products before, test a dot on your forearm to make sure you are not allergic to the herb or any other component of the product before you place it on your face.

Many women find that they have more things to do while they are pregnant than just acne care. The simplest and least expensive way to deal with acne during pregnancy is to buy a complete acne treatment system like Exposed Skin Care. It provides all the products you need to treat acne during pregnancy in safe and effective doses, and the manufacturer offers a one-year money-back guarantee.

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