Unfortunately, pregnancy can bring with it some unwanted changes to our skin. Specifically, some experience acne whereas they may not have had any trouble with acne prior to pregnancy. Add to it that you can’t use some of the same products you would have used prior to pregnancy and it can definitely be more difficult to deal with. I am sharing everything you need to know about pregnancy acne and the best ways to improve your skin and get that pregnancy glow you hear so much about!
*As always I am not a doctor, please always consult with your physician before taking on any new regimen that you are unsure of.
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Does Pregnancy Cause Acne?
With pregnancy comes changes in a woman’s hormone levels and these hormones in turn can create all sorts of changes for the woman. And they can definitely play a role in acne during pregnancy.
Pregnancy acne can begin very early, as early as 6 weeks when hormones begin to increase dramatically. Unfortunately it can be a bit unpredictable how each person will respond to the hormone changes. Some will notice that as pregnancy progresses their skin will clear up and others may notice acne throughout pregnancy that will clear up once the baby is born and hormone levels return to normal.
Where is pregnancy acne most prominent?
There are a variety of locations that pregnancy acne will be most noticeable. Typically it will be noted along the jawline/chin, hair line, chest or back. But, this is not exclusive and of course can vary from person to person.
How Can You Treat Pregnancy Acne?
It can be tricky to treat acne when pregnant because there are so many varying factors to consider and the body is going through so many changes, however, there are some things that can really help acne overall.
- Don’t over wash your face- Often too much stimulation when your body is going through a change can actually do more harm than good. Since hormones have completely shifted during pregnancy and skin can literally feel drier or oilier depending on the person, it’s best to keep your cleansing routine simple. Too much cleansing can interrupt your skin’s natural oil production, causing more issues. It’s best to stick with at night and then in the morning do a light toner or gentle cleanser.
- Simplify your skincare routine- It can be tempting to want to try a ton of new products, but sticking to a basic, simple skincare routine is best. Avoid trying new products that might aggravate your skin or cause a flare up or reaction. Skin can be extra sensitive during pregnancy and trying new products can cause it to become even more sensitive.
- Skip the exfoliant- If you are experiencing pregnancy acne it’s best to skip the exfoliant for a while until your skin can even itself out. Too much scrubbing or harsh exfoliating can disrupt the skin even more. It’s best to be as gentle with your skin as possible when it comes to products and your skincare routine.
Product Recommendations- Here are some of my favorite products for acne during pregnancy. Not only are they great for helping combat acne but they’re also pregnancy safe.
- Indie Lee Squalane Oil- Helps with texture and appearance of skin tone. It nourishes the skin without feeling greasy. Has a comedogenic rating of 0-1. I love that the only ingredient in the oil is squalane!
- Marie Veronique’s Pure + E.O. Free Oil Cleanser- This cleanser is free from essential oils and many comedogenic ingredients. Some people may still have issues with it. Oils and ingredients affect everyone differently. However, I have seen this cleanser be successful with many people.
- Marie Veronique’s Soothing B3 Serum- This serum contains 10% Niacinamide which is a vitamin B that can really help to calm inflammation. I really love this serum! It is power packed and can help reduce redness and inflammatory breakouts.
- Rosehip Seed Oil- This oil has a rating of 1 on the comedogenic scale and it’s a steal on Amazon! I still love this oil for all over moisture- from face to body. And such a simple ingredient, which makes it even better for pregnancy.
- Argan Oil- Very hydrating oil that’s also non-comedogenic. Help reduce fine lines and scars. It has a rating of 0 on the comedogenic scale- which is great for acne.
- Zyderma HS Clarifying Cream- This cream has the skin clearing benefits of silver. It moisturizes the skin but doesn’t leave it oily. Specifically made for acne skin. On their website in their F.A.Q’s it says this, while we do not have test data specific to pregnant or lactating women, studies have shown micronized silver is safe and will not penetrate the skin or mucosal tissue. Obviously, check with your doctor if you’re unsure but I’ve felt ok using it when pregnant.
- Avoid sugar- It might seem like a no brainer but sugar is going to exacerbate acne even more. You want to regulate your blood sugar levels and keep them as consistent as possible. If you want something sweet, opt for natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup and have it right after a meal that has some good protein and fiber.
- Eat vitamin A rich foods- Vitamin A is so good for your skin, but also really good for growing a baby too. It has been shown to speed up healing in the skin and to prevent breakouts. Vitamin A rich foods include things like dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, carrots, fish, eggs, bell peppers, and tropical fruits.
- Supplement with an Omega-3- I have always taken an Omega-3 supplement when pregnant. The baby not only needs all the good Omega’s for development but taking an Omega-3 supplement can also help a ton with your skin too. It really helps to calm inflammation in the skin caused by acne. (This is not medical advice)
- Zinc Supplement- You may need to supplement with zinc. Many people who suffer from acne are deficient in zinc. Zinc has been proven to be effective at reducing inflammation in the body. Some common signs you are deficient in zinc are white spots on your nails, dry skin, hang nails, hair loss, frequent colds, acne and low sex drive. A lot of common foods pull zinc out of our bodies because they contain phytates. These bind up minerals and keep you from absorbing them. Zinc helps vitamin A to your skin and also helps by regulating hormone balance. It also helps to aid in omega-3 absorption which as I stated above is also huge for acne. Zinc is also naturally antibacterial which is great for the skin. It also helps with apoptosis, which is cell death. So essentially it helps your cells to turnover quicker. Here is a zinc supplement I would recommend. This is the zinc I take.
- Decrease Stress- While becoming pregnant is such an exciting time it can also come with stressors too. Stress plays a large role in how to heal acne naturally. When we are stressed our bodies release cortisol, when we have more cortisol the body produces more serum production. This whole domino effect can trigger acne. Managing stress is one of the biggest things you can do for your overall health, but also for your skin health as well. Figure out where your stress is coming from and address it. Also, allow for some margin in your life. So many people are SO busy. This is the world we live in today. Start accessing what is worth your time and what isn’t.
Should you visit with your doctor about this?
It’s up to you if you feel like you need to talk to a doctor or not about acne in pregnancy. If it’s so severe that it’s causing you anxiety or feeling like you want to be anti-social, then yes I think it’s a good idea to seek outside help and wisdom. I also think it’s important to know who you’re talking to. Conventional doctors might not give you advice that’s conducive to a natural lifestyle. I always say do what you can naturally first, whether that’s eat a more balanced diet, decrease your stress and then seek help if nothing seems to work.
Is pregnancy acne something you will just have to live with?
Not necessarily! There are so many simple things that can make a big difference when it comes to acne in pregnancy. Give your skin time and your body time to adjust to the new hormones and fluctuations that are taking place inside your body. Often acne in pregnancy does get better in the second or third trimester when things have leveled out somewhat in your body.
If you had acne during pregnancy, what helped you clear up your skin?
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