Q&A: Is there anything I can do about acne during pregnancy?
Since I became pregnant I have been struggling with acne. Is there anything I can do about this?
Lots of moms-to-be notice that their skin is worse during pregnancy. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t have to do with whether the baby is a boy or girl, but may be related to an increase in skin oils due to hormonal changes. So, what can you do?
Prevention of acne centers around keeping the skin clean and dry. Gently wash your face twice a day with a mild cleanser. If you wear makeup, be sure it is water based (not oil based) or that the label says “non-comedogenic.” If your hair tends to be oily, wash it daily and keep it off of your face.
If these simple measures don’t help:
Because the skin absorbs medications, you have to be careful about how you treat acne during pregnancy, even just with topical treatment. Erythromycin- and clindamycin-based gels are considered safe as long as you aren’t allergic. Benzoyl peroxide is probably safe. Be sure to check all the ingredients and ask your doctor or midwife before using. Tretinoin (Retin A) is not recommended for use in pregnancy because it is similar to the oral medicine Accutane, which clearly causes birth defects.
Tetracycline and Doxycycline are mainstays of acne treatment outside of pregnancy, but are not safe for a developing baby. Accutane is so dangerous to the fetus that doctors are required to assure that the all their patients are on two forms of birth control before they can prescribe it. Obviously Accutane is totally off limits. If you are at the point of considering medications, talk to your OB or dermatologist about options. Some antibiotics used for acne are considered safe in pregnancy.
And remember that pregnancy doesn’t last forever!