The body undergoes various notable changes during pregnancy. Acne is one of the changes. It can also worsen already existing acne pimples.
Acne during pregnancy occurs in the first trimester. This is the span from the last period to 12 weeks after inception of pregnancy. It is a very delicate period of pregnancy. In fact, many miscarriages are reported during that period.
If you escape acne during the first trimester, chances are that no acne will develop during pregnancy. Normally, women who are prone to acne and who usually experience flare-ups during menses are more likely to develop pregnancy acne.
Quite a number of prescription and over the counter drugs for acne are usually out of bounds for pregnancy acne. Their use can cause birth and pregnancy defects.
What causes acne during pregnancy?
As mentioned earlier, acne is not among the rare skin disorders in early pregnancy. It is primarily caused or encouraged by hormonal changes.
Androgenic hormones are known to cause major changes in the body such as maturity of sebaceous glands. These are glands that produce oil known as sebum. Sebum is produced to keep the skin hydrated. It is released through skin pores known as follicles.
When the sebum gets trapped inside the follicles, tiny bumps on the skin, otherwise known as acne are formed. Bacteria cause the acne to become inflamed and painful.
During pregnancy, major changes occur in the levels of available estrogen and progesterone. These hormonal changes stimulate sebaceous glands to release more sebum. With more sebum in follicles, chances of clogging are elevated.
Presence of other acne causes such as oil-based makeup, stress, genetic factors will encourage or worsen pregnancy acne.
You can always talk to your doctor to determine the actual cause of the acne. This is especially if you are not usually prone to acne. It can be a symptom of underlying issues with hormones that might ultimately affect your pregnancy or cause a miscarriage.
Best acne treatment during pregnancy
The best acne treatment during pregnancy is perhaps the use of natural products. In any case, the acne will subside once first trimester is over. Any of the following products can help:
Apple cider vinegar
This acidic remedy will keep bacteria which may work by infecting the acne at bay. To use it, dilute it with water in ration of 1:3. Then, apply directly to the acne with a cotton ball. Apple cider vinegar has very strong acidic properties. It rapidly decreases inflammation. It is for this reason that ACV is used for removing moles.
Coconut oil soothes the skin and fights microbial. Rather than applying lotions to moisturize the skin, try virgin coconut oil. It will achieve the same effect without clogging skin pores.
This natural product is very effective in relation to regulation of sebum production. It also keeps skin pH balanced and therefore unfit for bacterial growth. You can use it directly on the skin by applying with a cotton ball. Due to its mildness, application can be done daily without side effects.
If you are concerned with possible changes in the complexion of your skin during pregnancy, turmeric is the best natural product to address the issue. It also works by providing antiseptic benefits. To use it, apply its paste directly to the skin and wash it off after 4 hours.
Aloe has very many applications that can help with the skin and hair. It is known to hasten recovery from acne and also reduce the chances of acne scars formation. Fresh gel from the plant itself works best. The gel can be applied to the skin and left overnight. Aloe can also be used for burns, open wounds and for treating armpit boils.
Essential oils work by soothing the skin and keeping bacteria from infecting acne. They also reduce acne inflammation. The most common ones to use for acne include; lavender, clary sage, tea tree oil, juniper berry.
Other home remedies for acne you can try include honey, cucumber, lemon and baking soda.
Over the counter remedies for acne treatment during pregnancy
Some over the counter medications can be used to treat acne even during pregnancy. In this case, only go for topical creams and gels.
OTC creams and gels usually contain benzoyl peroxide, also used in psoriasis cream. Only about 5% of products applied on the skin get to actually seep into the body. This makes them relatively safe to use even when pregnant.
You can also try products that contain Azelaic acid, glycolic acid and lactic acid. These three aid in reducing acne inflammation and also discourage spread of acne bacteria. Erythromycin has also been found to be relatively safe for use during pregnancy.
Avoid OTC retinoid products. They are potentially harmful to the pregnancy.
How to treat acne during pregnancy without medications
Body acne during pregnancy doesn’t always call for treatment. The most important thing is to keep bacteria from infecting the pimples. Below are tips that can help:
- Make sure to wash your face and body twice in a day. Preferably, use mild soaps meant for acne. Don’t take too many baths, for they can stimulate production of more sebum.
- Avoid using abrasive and oil or alcohol-based cleansers. They work by irritating acne and worsening it.
- Keep up with moisturizers. They keep the skin hydrated and thus avoiding the need for too much sebum production.
- Observe simple hygiene practices. For example, ensure that your pillowcase is washed with a softening detergent. Keep your hands cleansed and so on.
- At whatever cost, ensure to not pop acne pimples or pick at them. In fact, avoid constantly touching your face. Stress and anxiety are two factors that encourage such behaviors and aggravate acne in the process.
Remedies to avoid for body acne during pregnancy
Various acne medications that work effectively are known to cause birth and pregnancy defects. They should be avoided or be used with directions from a doctor. Below are main examples:
This is perhaps the most effective prescription medication for severe acne. It can be very dangerous both to mother and unborn child. In fact, women who are still fertile are advised to use it in a combination with birth control pills.
Any antibiotic in this category should be avoided during pregnancy. It can lead to formation of weak bones in unborn children. Yeast infections are also encouraged.
Even when applied topically, retinoids are potentially harmful during pregnancy. It may have something to do with the fact that they are very effective in treating acne.
Such therapies can encourage miscarriage. Spironolactone for acne reviews for example indicate that the drug works by inhibiting the working of certain hormones that play important roles during pregnancy.
Things to know about pregnancy and acne
Pregnancy is usually a challenging period of any woman’s life. Changing hormone levels cause all sorts of issues such as mood swings, acne and skin changes.
Pregnancy and acne are related in several ways. Never freak out when you notice acne flare-ups. In fact, acne can be a sign of pregnancy.
The first trimester is the worst as long as acne is concerned. It is during this period that rapid and unexpected changes occur on sebaceous glands, prompting them to produce more sebum.
Once the first 12 weeks into pregnancy are over, acne will most likely show signs of subduing. With time, it will clear on its own.
Best treatment should revolve around keeping from bacterial infection. Non-inflammatory acne is very easy to treat. In fact, it rarely needs treatment at all. This is not to mention that it will heal without leaving scars.
Most prescription acne removal products are not recommended to use when pregnant. They can end up complicating the pregnancy or harming unborn baby. In fact, experts also advise against the use of salicylic acid even on topical creams.
Unless you are using natural products, check with your doctor for more strategic pregnancy acne removal. Since home remedies for acne scars do not succeed in getting rid of cystic acne, talk to you doctor on matters regarding cysts and nodules.
If the acne fails to clear within the first two trimesters, quit natural treatment products and see a doctor. You find that hormones play vital roles in maintaining pregnancy. Persistent acne is a good indication that something is not working right in relation to the involved hormones. Your doctor can always clear things out.