Hello pregnancy and hello teenage acne!
Within three weeks of finding out I was pregnant, I had a major pregnancy acne.
Before being pregnant myself, I definitely didn’t know that not only pregnancy can cause acne but also that it is very common (thank you hormones).
So, if you are like me and trying desperately to find a solution because traditional acne products are not safe while pregnant, then keep reading.
I will tell you everything I learned about pregnancy acne and how to get rid of it.
Can pregnancy cause acne?
According to everything I read, yes pregnancy can certainly cause acne. All of the added hormones can wreak havoc on your skin.
And from personal experience, I can tell you that my skin was an epic disaster during pregnancy. I had acne on my chin, on my back and on my forehead.
When does pregnancy acne start?
Most of my acne occurred in the first trimester, which I think is pretty typical. I was able to get it cleared before I entered the second trimester.
However, in the third trimester I broke out again. But this time, I think it was more since I was continuously sweating leading to clogged pores.
Treatment for pregnancy acne
The tricky part of finding products for pregnancy acne is that most of the traditional products you would use are not safe. Retinols, retinoids, benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are not safe, so do not use them.
Best Pregnancy Acne Products
Tea Tree Shampoo & Conditioner: I know this sounds so weird, but changing my shampoo and conditioner made the biggest difference for me. Tea tree is used a lot as a spot treatment. I got this tip from my hair stylist and honestly after a week, I noticed a huge difference.
Hydrating Facial Cleaner: The last thing you want to do is get stuck in the cycle where you wash your face more to try to clear it up. This will result in an over production of oil leading to more acne. Yep, I made my acne worse before I made it better. I really love the Burt’s Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream. I love how it smells and the way it makes my skin feel.
Moisturize: Since your skin changes so much while pregnant, I decided to get a moisturizer designed with pregnant women in mind: Belli Healthy Glow Facial Hydrator. I also continued to use my favorite hydrating serum: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5. It is so inexpensive, and I love how lightweight it is.
Glycolic acid: I learned about glycolic acid while pregnant and it is still one of my favorite products. I use the glycolic acid 7% toning solution by Ordinary once a week. The next day my skin looks brighter. It really helps to keep pores clean. The other glycolic acid product I am a big fan of is the Glycolic Peel Mask (Caudalie). This is a great facial for pregnancy acne.
Azelaci Acid: I used this. I got it from The Ordinary. I know erythromycin is also recommended a lot of the time so you could also try that. I didn’t try that one.
Tip: No matter what pregnancy acne products you use, make sure you first check that they are safe. I called my midwife before using anything. If I had an appointment coming up, I would bring the product or have it up on my phone to ask her about it.
Other Tips to Clear up Pregnancy Acne
Avoid all products with alcohol: It will dry your skin like crazy. Before I got pregnant a few years back, I switched my skincare regimen and broke out like crazy. After a quick visit to an esthetician I learned it was because the alcohol in my skincare products was drying my skin, causing my skin to over produce oil.
Hormone diet: To get pregnant, I cleaned up my diet to balance my hormones. This included increasing my antioxidant intake through food and decreasing refined carbs and sugar in my diet. I also ate more fiber and more protein. Focusing on this is a win-win because it not only can help your skin but also is great for baby.
Eat More Vitamin A: While a vitamin A supplement or skin product with vitamin A derivative such as retinol is not safe, eating vitamin A is. Vitamin A in your diet can really help your skin. Foods with high vitamin A are eggs, red pepper, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach and leafy vegetables.
A GOOD sunblock: Your skin is extra sensitive to the sun while pregnant. I would pick one with just zinc oxide because I have found that a lot of sunblocks make my skin break out. Because of this I was tempted to avoid sunblock altogether. However, the damage your skin could get while pregnant can be a lot. My all time favorite sunblock is the Trader Joe Sunblock that they sell in their stores.
More Water: I hate drinking water so this was a big challenge for me. What really helped was investing in a SodaStream machine. This way I can drink unlimited Seltzer (which I do love) without breaking the bank.
Pursue good skin during your pregnancy Today
Pregnancy is full of a lot of ups and downs and surprises. My first trimester I was hit hard with lots of morning sickness and acne. In the end it was all worth it!
So, if you are battling pregnancy acne, I hope some of my tips and products I recommended will help you get through it.
Try changing out your shampoo for Tea Tree, use a good cleanser and moisturizer, and always wear sunblock.
Other tips include using glycolic acid and azelaci acid, both of which are safe for pregnancy.
And it never hurts to clean up your diet and eat healthy because those benefits go far beyond glowing radiant skin.
If you have any tips that helped you through pregnancy acne, then please leave them in the comments!
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I am a wife, teacher, and mother to two awesome girls. I write about what I am passionate about, which includes being a mom, house projects, beauty and skincare. I love to share my experiences, failures, and successes with my readers. Let this space be a resource for you to pursue your very best day.