Acne During Pregnancy

More than half of pregnant women have trouble with acne during pregnancy. You are at higher risk of acne during pregnancy if you’ve had acne in the past. In some cases, the acne may be severe.

What causes acne during pregnancy?

Similar to an adolescent going through puberty, there are higher levels of hormones in the body when you are pregnant. These hormones cause an increase of oil production in the skin and can lead to break outs. Typically, the surge of hormones occurs during the first trimester, so if you don’t develop acne in those first three months, it’s unlikely you’ll have breakout problems during the second and third trimesters. Fortunately, the acne subsides once hormone levels return to normal.

Acne or Pregnancy Rash

There are a few rashes that only occur during pregnancy.  One rash, pruritic uticarial pupules and placques of pregnancy (or PUPPP) causes tiny bumps on the belly.  This rash occurs in one percent of women who are pregnant and during the third trimester. Although this rash may be itchy or uncomfortable, there is no harm to you or your baby.

What can you do about acne during pregnancy?

What you put on your skin moves into your body, by way of the bloodstream; therefore, even topical medications have the potential to harm your baby. In general, you should avoid all medications you don’t absolutely need during pregnancy, including seemingly harmless over-the-counter acne medications and chemical spot treatments. Topical acne medications, however, are still safer than oral acne medications, since only about five percent of the topical medication is absorbed into the body.

Two topical prescription medications commonly used for acne during pregnancy are Erythromycin (Erygel) and Azelaic acid (Azelex, Finacea).

Over-the-counter medications containing benzoyl peroxide and glycolic acid may also be an option, but many topical medications have not been adequately studied in pregnancy, so be sure to consult your doctor before starting any acne treatment.

What acne treatments should you avoid?

Some acne medications, in particular, come with a high risk of birth defects to the developing fetus or a child that is being breastfed. Here are medications experts say to avoid:

Oral medications:

  1. Isotretinoin. The birth defect risks are so high, women of childbearing age must be on two forms of birth control while on the treatment
  2. Hormone therapy, such as estrogen and the anti-androgens flutamide and spironolactone
  3. Oral tetracyclines, such as antibiotics tetracycline, doxycycline and minocycline

Topical medications:

  1. Tretinoin (Retin-A)
  2. Adapalene (Differin)
  3. Tazarotene (Tazorac)
  4. Salcylic acid, which is found in many over-the-counter products

How can I prevent breakouts during pregnancy?

The best way to keep your baby safe is to manage your breakouts without medication, altogether. Dedicate yourself to a strict cleaning regime and follow these tips:

  • Wash your face twice a day with warm water and a mild cleanser
  • Avoid over-cleansing, which can over stimulate the skin's oil glands
  • Use fingertips to wash your face rather than washcloths, which can irritate sensitive skin and lead to breakouts
  • Shampoo daily and keep hair off your face
  • Avoid picking or squeezing acne sores, which can spread infection and cause scarring
  • Use oil-free cosmetics, such as water-based, noncomedogenic or nonacnegenic facial products
  • Avoid resting your face in your hands, which can trap oil and sweat

Average: 3.5 (31 votes)


By RebekahTanaka on 06/16/13 at 10:53 pm

I also recommend the PREGNANCY MIRACLE GUIDE as the ULTIMATE pregnancy/women's health resource!

By Dominicanamomi on 04/15/12 at 9:59 am

Hey feel my pain I have bad acne I ever seen I went so far to use apple cider vinegar and proactive acne medication at the same time when I go do my cle  ...

Sign in to leave a comment!

Today on JustMommies

The 7 Best Code-Talking Methods Parents Use

Children are little sponges—after a while, they pick up on everything. From your actions to your words, at some point they begin to apply meaning to them.

3-Ingredient Packed Lunch Recipes

Do your kids bring home sandwiches that have only been nibbled on, fruit that has been half-eaten, or carrots that are still fully-formed?

Why Shaming Children is a Bad Idea

If you remember being a kid at all, chances are your memories are a mixture of awesome moments of triumph and glee, sprinkled with some incidents you'd rather forget.

4 Apps that Could Pose a Danger to Your Child

While apps add so much value and simplicity to our modern lives, there is no doubt that parents need to be meticulous about the apps they allow their children to use.

From The Message Boards

Pregnancy Loss

Waiting for a miscarry

Hi everyone! So I just found out yesterday that I have lost the baby,They found no heartbeat, said...

Pregnancy and Motherhood After Loss

Our 4th sweet boy is here (pictures)

Baby Jack arrived and completed our family on April 28th at 35 weeks. He is healthy and adorable and...

Pregnancy Over 35

43 turning 44 in June having #6

I am 43 turning 44 next month. I am a mother of 5 and I found out last month I am pregnant again. My...

Pregnancy Questions

Help!!! wireless radiation

Hello, A few of our friends warned us about harms of cell phone and wifi radiations on the baby. I...

Baby Name Games

New Generation Caf 2

Roll the 8 sided dice for each child. Flip a coin for genders. To name spouses and children, go ....