Everything About Pregnancy Acne: Best Guide

When a woman gets pregnant, her hormones change, which can cause pregnancy acne. Pregnancy acne can usually be treated, but pregnant women should be careful because many commonly used acne treatments contain chemicals that can be bad for the health of their unborn child.
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Example of pregnancy acne
Pregnancy acne isn’t a special form of acne and can be treated with self-care and medication.

Pregnancy Acne: What Is It?

During the first and second trimesters, a lot of pregnant women get acne. Nearly half of all pregnant women are thought to get acne while they are pregnant.

Most pregnancy acne is caused by the rise in hormones that comes with being pregnant. Androgens are the hormones that are to blame for acne during pregnancy. These hormones are important for the development of a fetus’s organs, certain nerve functions, and sexual development, among other things. Androgens can make skin glands grow and make a substance called sebum, which is an oily substance. When sebum gets stuck in the pores of the skin, bacteria and inflammation can grow.

Acne can happen to anyone, but women who get breakouts during their menstrual cycle are more likely to get it. Most of the time, pregnancy acne will go away once the hormones have settled down.

Types of Pregnancy Acne

Even though “pregnancy acne” isn’t a real type of acne, it’s how people talk about the pimples that show up when someone is, you guessed it, pregnant. Depending on the person, any kind of acne symptoms can show up on the face or body before, during, or after pregnancy. However, there are a few that are more common than others during this time. Greenfield says that two types of pregnancy acne that often happen during pregnancy are cystic/hormonal acne and comedonal acne.


This type of acne is usually called blackheads (open comedones) or whiteheads (closed comedones). It is made up of small bumps that make the skin feel a bit rough, according to the University of Florida Health. These acne symptoms show up at the opening of the pore. They are called non-inflammatory acne because they don’t make the skin swell or hurt very much.

Cystic acne

Cystic acne is a severe form of inflammatory acne that causes large, red, swollen bumps that are often painful to touch. This is because inflammation happens when too much oil and dead skin cells mix together to make bacteria. According to Medical News Today, the main cause of cystic acne is changes in the body’s hormones, which happen during pregnancy, especially in the first and second trimesters. When do zits during pregnancy start?

Let’s answer the question that brought you here: when does acne during pregnancy start? Most women start to get acne about six weeks into their pregnancy.

But research has shown that more than 40% of pregnant women will have “severe” acne at some point during their pregnancy. The good news is that most pregnancy acne is manageable, especially if you know what products are safe to use while pregnant.

Pregnancy acne is often one of the first signs of pregnancy that women notice, since it happens around the same time that they start to feel sick in the morning and their breasts start to hurt.

If you are trying to get pregnant and already have breakouts, you need to figure out how to treat them safely before you get a positive pregnancy test. When trying to get pregnant, it’s often a good idea to change your routine so that you won’t be caught off guard.

Why do breakouts happen during pregnancy?

People ask why they break out during pregnancy almost as often as they ask when it starts. The answer to many questions about pregnancy is the same: changes in hormones.

During the first few months of pregnancy, especially the first trimester, the body is full of hormones, especially progesterone and estrogen. Both hormones are important for keeping a pregnancy strong and healthy, but they also have their downsides.

For example, progesterone also naturally makes the body make more sebum, which is a natural oil.

The more oil your skin makes, the more likely it is that your pores will get clogged. Pregnancy acne is caused by the same things for both pregnant and non-pregnant people: debris (dead skin cells, the environment) + bacteria + clogged pores (from oil or skin care products that don’t work) = breakouts.

If any of these things get worse, acne flare-ups are more likely to happen.

What can help acne during pregnancy?

  • Use a facial cleanser that is gentle, mild, and doesn’t have any scent.
  • Use warm, not hot, water.
  • If your pores are clogged, try using an oatmeal scrub. But be careful not to do too much. During pregnancy, the skin can become very sensitive and react to rough treatment. Rinse the skin well and pat it dry with a soft towel. Several times a week, you should get a new towel and washer. You might want to use soft cotton or fabric pads that you throw away to clean your skin. Don’t use these more than once, and instead look for disposable ones at the grocery store or pharmacy.
  • Ensure your towel is dry and does not stay wet in between uses.If you wash your face more than twice a day, your skin could get dry. But after you work out, you might feel like you need to wash your face again. Use a moisturizer or serum that doesn’t have oil in it. Don’t use too much, because too much can block the pores. Avoid any sun exposure. At least twice a week, you should change your pillow case. If you have long hair or a fringe, pull your hair back so it’s not in your face.
  • Wash your hair often to get rid of the oil that builds up.
  • Don’t drink too much tea or coffee and drink a lot of water instead. Talk to the person who is taking care of you if you are worried about pregnancy acne.
  • Wash your hands carefully, especially if you like to touch your face a lot.
  • Make sure you eat well and stay healthy. Try to eat less saturated fat, at least five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit each day, and whole grains.

What doesn’t help Pregnancy Acne?

  • picking at pimples, squeezing them, or scratching them. Trying not to eat any sweets can cause the wound to get worse and scar. Acne is not caused by chocolate and other sweets. Still, it makes sense to try to eat healthy most of the time. A few treats every now and then are fine and will help you stick to a healthy eating plan.
  • Putting on makeup, foundation, or heavy concealers to cover the skin. Look for makeup that is oil-free, low or non-allergenic, and doesn’t clog pores (blackhead forming).

What can I do to make sure I don’t get Pregnancy Acne?

You can’t do much besides be clean and take care of your skin. When cleaning your skin, you don’t have to be rough or do too much. This will only make things worse and could make it more likely that you’ll get more bacteria on your skin.

If you usually get more pimples or have acne, you may find that this gets worse while you’re pregnant.

What are the best ways to treat acne?

If you are thinking about using a treatment for pregnancy acne, you should talk to your maternity care provider and/or your doctor. Some of the most common acne medicines shouldn’t be used while pregnant because they can cause birth defects and other problems. Even ointments that are put on the skin instead of swallowed can be dangerous because they can still get into the mother’s bloodstream and cross the placental barrier.

Some doctors will give you creams and other skin-applied products that may have a small amount of antibiotics or a drying agent. But there is still a lot of research and evaluating to be done on what is known and proven to be safe to use during pregnancy. If you can, it is best to avoid using any medicines or lotions.

Most doctors don’t want to give any kind of acne medicine to a woman who is pregnant or nursing. This is only considered if all the facts have been looked at and the mother’s pregnancy acne is causing her so much stress that it seems like a good idea.

Is my pregnancy acne permanent?

No, is the short answer. Most of the time, pregnancy acne goes away after the baby is born. This can take a few months, but once the hormones are back to how they were before the pregnancy, most women feel better slowly but steadily.

But some women who are breastfeeding still get more acne than usual because of the hormone prolactin, which is made by the body to help with lactation. But once this level evens out, the skin usually goes back to normal.

Over the Counter Treatments

There are many over-the-counter treatments for acne. Many of them contain benzoyl peroxide, which is a chemical found in creams, gels, and cleansers that treat acne. Glycolic acid, which comes from sugar cane and is used in many skin care products, is another chemical that is often found in over-the-counter treatments.

Only 5% of the medicine you put on your skin gets absorbed into your body. Most of these chemicals are safe to use during pregnancy, but there aren’t any large studies that prove this 100%. Before you use any over-the-counter treatments for acne, you should talk to your doctor.

Prescription Treatments

Pregnancy acne can also be treated with many over-the-counter and prescription medicines, such as oral medicines and topical (applied to the skin) retinoids. Some doctors will even give you estrogen and anti-androgens as part of hormone therapy.

As with acne medicine you can buy over the counter, only about 5% of the medicine you put on your skin will get into your body.

You can only take these medicines if your dermatologist tells you to, and you must tell your doctor that you are pregnant when you talk to them about your skin problems.

Natural Treatments

If you don’t want to use medicine made from chemicals, you can also try natural remedies. For example, you can use toners made from unfiltered apple cider vinegar, baking soda as a spot treatment, lemon or lime juice to exfoliate the skin, or honey as an antiseptic and antibacterial treatment. Coconut oil can be used as an antifungal moisturizer, and cucumbers and oats can be used to make masks. Note that there is no scientific evidence that most of these treatments work.

Seek professional guidance

Pregnancy acne is common, and anyone can get it. There are many ways to treat acne, but if you’re pregnant, you should be careful with any of them. The safest way to treat pregnancy acne is to see a doctor and talk to them about the safest, most effective treatments for you.


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