How to Treat Acne During Pregnancy

As though backaches, migraines, nausea and labor weren’t enough for the mommies expecting a child, acne has joined the ride to even further the stress of giving birth. It is not always an easy task to find a safe and effective treatment for pregnancy acne. During pregnancy, the level of hormones is increased, and this hormonal increase can result in many skin changes including acne.

Some women can automatically tell when they are pregnancy as they immediately suffer from pregnancy acne. For me at least it’s this way. In fact, it’s usually the first symptom I notice. I’ve been really lucky not to have much acne in my life, other than the usual teenage “t-zone” breakouts, but never really any random acne spouts. Then I got pregnant for the first time. I had no idea acne could be such a pain in the butt. And it comes back like clockwork right at the beginning of each pregnancy, and lasts clear until the end. It’s my preggo nightmare, I tell you.

However, every individual new mom to be is different and some never get so much as a single pimple. A fear some women have is that if they have pregnancy acne, then their unborn child will develop the same symptoms in later life. There is no medical bias for this thought and is largely unfounded.

Why do women search for information on acne treatment pregnancy? Mostly because they have to be cautious as to what they are going to use as a treatment. It is important to understand what is going on with their own bodies while they are supporting two people during the gestation period.

The Causes of Acne

Home changes in progesterone levels are thought to be the main contributing factor to pregnancy acne.  Progesterone boosts the secretion of the skin, which creates the glands that produces the oil to activate. This activation then triggers an easy spot for bacteria to breed and show up in the skin as acne. Good news for the mommies is that there are acne treatment during pregnancy available, safe and easy to find or use.

The effects of pregnancy acne is as the result of a combination of dead cells and bacteria clumping together and clogging pores. This condition is most likely to happen whenever there are hormonal changes or hormonal surges in the body. In other words, during puberty or pregnancy or right before the menstrual period. During pregnancy, these hormonal changes tend to encourage the extra production of natural oils which can clog the pores of the skin, causing acne during pregnancy.

Many times pregnancy acne is a symptom of their pregnancy. In fact, this could happen to women who had no acne problems prior to becoming pregnant. But why do pregnancy and acne seem to go together? This can be recognized as a form of hormonal acne, wherein a woman develops inflammation on the skin as a direct result of massive hormonal fluctuations inside the body.

The symptom of pregnancy induced acne usually goes away as the pregnancy advances and the hormone level stabilizes. How long the pregnancy acne lasts for during the pregnancy term differs from each woman.

Most women experience the worst phase of acne in their first trimester. It is impossible to predict who will get acne and who will not but those who have had previous acne problems and are more prone to the outbreak suffer from it during pregnancy. Following are some of the symptoms of acne in early pregnancy:

  1. Inflamed and painful bumps and pustules
  2. Red spots
  3. Whiteheads
  4. Blackheads
  5. Oily skin


Since acne that begins during pregnancy is almost always caused by hormonal fluctuations, it usually disappears once the baby is born and everything has time to return to normal. If it seems like the acne is getting out of hand then speak with your health care provider about this. You can always practice non-medication based acne treatment methods, such as cleansing routines, using facial masks made from fruits or other foods, drinking more water, etc.

You can find many recipes for natural facials online. Some are as simple as boiling a cup or so of milk, and then adding some fresh lime juice, and once the mixture cools, applying it to your face by soaking a clean cloth in the mix and leaving it on your face for 15 or 20 minutes, then rinsing. This is the treatment that was used by the legendary beauty Cleopatra, except that as Queen of Egypt she was able to soak in tubs of milk and citrus.You aren’t using any kind of chemicals, so you are completely safe with this type of acne treatment.
It’s also important to make sure to cleanse your face twice daily – once in the morning and before bedtime. You need to be meticulous when choosing the type of facial cleanser you use to ensure that it is gentle enough for your sensitive skin. Your best bet is to go for fragrance-free facial products since they are made up of mild ingredients.

Two More Musts For Managing Acne During Pregnancy

Two more musts for keeping acne to a minimum are:

  1. Don’t touch your face and
  2. Don’t pop your pimples.

It’s important not to touch your face, especially your blemishes, because you can transfer grit, grease, grime, and bacteria to your face with unwashed fingers. If you are not careful, you will perpetuate your acne by constantly reintroducing acne to your face even after you have washed it.

It’s also critical that you don’t pop your pimples. As you get closer to delivery, your skin gets looser. This makes it easier to miss your zits. You wind up bruising or scratching your skin and making it look worse. Also, popping a pimple opens a path for much more serious bacterial infections to enter the skin and, because the skin and the tissues beneath it are “floppy,” the rest of the body.

Often, the best treatment for pregnancy acne is to live healthily and try not to ‘interfere’ with the acne too much. One should not give up hope though because pregnancy acne does goes away. However, the same hormones may act up and once again trigger the acne problem later on. There are women who suffer from acne during their menstrual periods. Some women would experience acne breakouts during pregnancy or while going through menopause.

Knowing what causes pregnancy acne, and making informed treatment decisions is the key to success. One of the best ways to reduce the symptoms of acne is to not get stressed, this increase hormonal imbalance, and get plenty of sleep, this will help your body rest and tackle the hormonal imbalance.

Over the Counter Treatments

The key to using over the counter treatments for pregnancy acne is buy treatments that go on you, not in you. The skin is a tough barrier. Chemicals you put on your skin usually don’t get in. Even treatments that could be deadly for your baby if you took them by mouth, such as tretinoin topical form of Retin-A, are probably safe if you use formulations of the drugs for your skin. But your doctor probably will not prescribe them!

Benzoyl peroxide is a safe pregnancy acne treatment, but you should check with your doctor first, as are blackhead treatments that contain salicylic acid, such as Stridex or Propa pH. However, even with topical treatments (treatments that are applied directly to affected skin), you are strongly advised to see your doctor. It’s almost unheard of for any topical treatment to enter the skin, but your doctor will be aware of special circumstances that may affect you. It is just better to be safe than sorry and obtain your doctor’s approval for any acne treatment you may be contemplating.

Home Treatments that Aren’t a Good Idea

Natural is usually considered to be safe, but sometimes natural treatment is not a good idea. Lavender smells good and it relieves pain. Unfortunately, many women break out when they put lavender oil on their skin. Negative reactions to lavender are typically more intense during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Rose oil smells great, too. Roses are astringent. But tightening your skin is counterproductive when you are trying to open our pores. That’s also the problem with witch hazel.

And homeopathy seems helpful. But the kind of acne that is treated with homeopathic preparations like Belladonna and Hepar Sulphur really isn’t the kind of acne that occurs during pregnancy. some completely natural herbs which can induce contractions, so you can’t assume “all natural” means it is a safe acne treatment during pregnancy.

One Last Word of Encouragement

It is easy to become frustrated when the glow of early pregnancy is replaced by the mask of acne about the beginning of your trimester. There’s one thing, however, that is sure about pregnancy acne. It ends when you give birth. Most cases of pregnancy acne resolve with six weeks of the birth of the child, and because of the contraction of the skin after labor, scarring almost never occurs.