Acne during Pregnancy

acne during pregnancy

Pregnancy brings about a number of changes in the body, from a growing belly to increased incidence of acne breakouts.
Acne breakouts are a common occurrence during pregnancy. It occurs due to elevated hormonal levels in the body and cause emotional stress and scarring of the skin.

Causes of acne during pregnancy:

There are several causes of acne during pregnancy. The commonest of all is hormonal imbalance that results in increased acne causing secretions and increased fluid retention in the body, dietary modifications and hereditary factors.

Hormonal imbalances:

During pregnancy, the woman’s body undergo many hormonal fluctuations and one among them is the increased level of hormone called Androgens. Androgens stimulate the body to produce more sebum, which is an oily substance that combines with dead cells and clogs the skin pores. This results in the multiplication of skin bacteria causing inflammation and eruption of acne breakouts.

Fluid retention:

Fluid retention is another cause of acne breakouts in pregnant woman. The increased levels of hormone in the body makes it to hold more fluid than normal. Retention of body fluid contributes to acne breakouts as it may contain toxins in them.

Dietary modifications:

During pregnancy, it is very common among women to experience sudden hunger pangs. This causes them to consume foods that are oily and greasy, and tasty to their taste buds. This unhealthy diet pattern may affect the skin causing acne breakouts and other consequences like including things that may affect baby’s health and increased cholesterol levels.

Genetic characteristic:

Genetic predisposition is one important factor that causes acne in pregnant woman. Since the genes carry information from parents to children, a pregnant woman may get affected with acne if her parents had it. If a woman is affected with acne before pregnancy, then the condition may be worsened during pregnancy.


Pregnant women are often under stress, and this may affect the skin condition causing acne eruptions.


Pregnancy medications can sometimes cause negative effects on the skin, causing acne breakouts. These acne breakouts can be more painful and itchy.

How is acne during pregnancy treated:

Pregnant women suffering from acne desire to get it treated because in severe cases it can create disfigurement and lead to permanent scarring. But, treating acne during pregnancy has its challenges.

1.Basic skin care regimen:

  • A basic, good skin care regimen can keep the skin clean and healthy. The recommended skin care routine includes:
    gentle, water soluble cleanser should be used to cleanse the skin morning and evening.
  • Exfoliating the skin using a gentle scrub or by using a damp washcloth to gently massage the skin.
  • Topical disinfectant like benzoyl peroxide should be used to disinfect the skin and kill the bacteria’s.
  • Using only oil-free moisturizers to moisturize the skin
  • Remove blockages gently using comedone extractor tool, or by getting a facial done by a licensed esthetician.

2.Other treatments considered safe:

  • For worsening acne conditions that do not get controlled by routine skin care regimen, other acne treatment procedure can be followed. While some treatments are considered safe, some medications should not be used by pregnant woman.

Some recommended treatments for acne during pregnancy include the use of topical benzoyl peroxide, erythromycin, and low concentration of salicylic acid. While these topical acne treatments are considered safe, one should talk with their physician before using it.

Acne treatments to avoid during pregnancy:

Many acne medications cause harmful effects on the fetus thus making its use unsafe during pregnancy. Oral medications to avoid during pregnancy include:

  • Stretinoin, due to its high risk of birth defects.
  • Oral tetracyclines, such as minocycline, doxycycline, and tetracycline.
  • Hormone therapy like anti-androgens and estrogen therapy.
  • Topical acne medications to avoid during pregnancy include Tretinoin, high concentrations of salicylic acid, Tazarotene, and Adapalene.

Tips to prevent acne during pregnancy:

Follow a good skin care regimen by cleansing the face with a mild cleanser two times a day.
void over-cleansing, which can stimulate oil glands to secrete more oil resulting in more acne breakouts.

  • Avoid squeezing or pricking acne to prevent scarring and spreading of the infection.
  • Use oil free moisturizers and oil-free cosmetics.
  • Pat skin gently and avoid scrubbing with harsh chemicals.
  • Wash hair daily and keep it off the face.

Acne breakouts during pregnancy often occur during the first trimester of pregnancy. Although annoying, acne during pregnancy can be treated effectively through following a good skin care regimen and using safe acne medications. Most of these medications are safe to use during pregnancy. But, before using, it is best to check with the health care provider to avoid any potential harm to the fetus.


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