Pregnancy acne is pretty much the worst. You aren’t sleeping, your body is changing before your eyes (hello swollen cankles), and now you have to deal with this? The hits just keep on coming. As a grown, adult, twenty-something woman, I am so over dealing with pimples and breakouts. I could have sworn I left ‘em back in my teens with my worries about AP exams, nonsensical insecurities about my body, and my six-pack abs. (I danced four hours a day, people. And I won’t be seeing them again anytime soon.)
Oh, the joys of pregnancy.
But what causes pregnancy acne? And more importantly, what can we do about it? Around week six, hormonal surges (progesterone is the fancy term) can clog your pores and cause bacteria to build up, leading to the dreaded pregnancy breakouts. The fact that you are now retaining fluids like a row boat lost at sea doesn’t help. However, all hope is not lost. Call off the search party; we’ve got some tips and tricks to help you fight back against those pesky pregnancy pimples!
Say Buh-Bye to Those Pesky Pregnancy Pimples!
1. Keep it clean.
Looking for that “pregnancy glow?” Hashtag yes, please! Then you’ve got to be willing to take care of your skin. Failure to do so can result in pregnancy flare-ups and ugly acne scarring. And no one wants that! Clean your face twice a day with a mild cleanser (morning and night). Wash your hair regularly —oil build-up around the perimeter of your face can cause you to break out; keep towels and pillowcases clean as well.
2. This is not the time to be (over) aggressive.
- Over-washing or over-scrubbing your face doesn’t work. It can actually make things worse! It can send your oil glands into overdrive, making you more prone to breakouts.
- Don’t pick, scratch, or pop pimples. Did you know that this can actually spread infection?
- Avoid products like Accutane, Retin-A, and other topical retinoids while pregnant and breastfeeding. These medications can harm your baby!
- Pregnancy probably isn’t the best time to try a fancy, new (read expensive) skin care regimen. Stick with something simple and gentle. After three pregnancies, I have found that the Clean and Clear line — from the drugstore — seems to be the only thing that works for me. But everyone’s skin (and pregnancy hormones) are different. You have to find what works for you!
3. Don’t forget to moisturize!
Find an oil-free moisturizer that you like and use it. Overly dry skin can also lead to breakouts. SPF is your friend. Bonus points if you can find a moisturizer you love containing an SPF 15 or greater. Skin cancer is not sexy! Smart is sexy. Be smart. 😉
4. Eat smart.
Cut out (or at least cut back) on the refined sugars and the greasy fat food. While delicious — and exactly what the baby bump is begging for — these foods are death to your skin (pregnant or otherwise). Sticking with healthy fats like avocado, salmon, and nuts, and colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables can make a world of difference for your skin (and your health). Increasing your dietary intake of Vitamin A (found in foods like milk, fish, and eggs) can also help your skin.
5. Drink smart.
Drinking plenty of water is good for your body and your skin. And if you’re planning to breastfeed, you might as well create the healthy (read necessary) habit now. Don’t like the taste of plain water? Try a cute infuser water bottle.
6. Talk to your care provider.
He or she can recommend topical acne treatments that are safe for pregnancy. Most will tell you that OTC (over the counter) products containing benzyl peroxide are perfectly fine to use. (And in most cases, they work!) Never ever take any medication (topical or oral) without consulting your care provider first! When it comes to baby, better safe than sorry is the perfect mantra.
What remedies and solutions (natural or otherwise) have you found for managing your embarrassing pregnancy acne? We would love to hear! Feel free to share in the comments section below. Rock that pregnancy skin, mama! Be confident and know that you are beautiful. Occasional breakout and all. xoxo