Acne breakout is most likely to be experienced during pregnancy. Basically, acne breakout happens during the first trimester of pregnancy when the body produces a substantial amount of hormones that trigger acne breakout.
During this period, the natural oil production level significantly elevates. The overproduction of androgenic hormone such as progesterone stimulates the sebaceous gland to produce more oil which leads to acne breakout. Acne and pregnancy often comes together in a certain stage of a woman’s life and acne during pregnancy is definitely hard to deal with.
During pregnancy, acne does not just appear on the face. Many pregnant women suffer from acne breakout all over their body. There are now lots of ways to treat acne however, some of the medication formulas are not designed for pregnant women to use.
Many commercial anti-acne products today contain chemicals and substances that are can create significant effect to the health quality of the fetus in a woman’s womb.
Though pregnancy begins during the first trimester, it becomes worst during the second trimester. The condition improves after the second trimester and more often than not, acne breakout tends to cease after delivery. However, there are cases where acne breakout continues even after the delivery especially when the mother is breastfeeding.
As a mom, you never want to be held responsible for any birth defect that can transpire due to usage of highly potent anti-acne products. Therefore sticking with natural ways to deal acne breakout is an excellent choice for you for the meantime.
Use of oil free mild cleanser
Acne during pregnancy can be eliminated by washing the face with an oil free, mild cleanser for 2-3 times in a day. However, you should be careful enough in over cleansing the face because it can just trigger the sebaceous gland to produce substantial amount of sebum which is responsible for acne breakout during pregnancy.
Keeping the skin clean all the time is considered to be one of the most effective natural methods in treating acne during pregnancy. After cleansing the face, it must be rinsed with lukewarm water and dried through patting using a clean towel.
Soaps and facial cleansers that contain active substances and oil should never be used because they can just worsen the condition. Make sure that only mild anti-acne products are used because the skin during pregnancy is quite delicate and sensitive.
Drinking plenty of water which amounts to 6-8 glasses a day can be of help in getting rid of acne during pregnancy. Adequate amount of water in the body keeps the skin moisturized all the time and it stabilizes the hormone level in the body.
Pimple touching or poking
Touching of pimple is never tolerated because it can just worsen the acne condition. Touching the pimple can irritate it and cause the spread of pimple on the skin which can later lead to acne breakout in the future. And more importantly, popping and squeezing of pimple should never be done to avoid scarring.
Using anti-acne products
When using beauty and anti-acne products, make sure that they do not contain active and potent ingredients such as accutane, tetracycline, salicylic acid, tretinoin and isotretinoin because they bring about some adverse effects to the baby. In fact, accutane is considered to be a dangerous drug to use during pregnancy.
Clinical studies reveal that usage of accutane during the first trimester of the pregnancy can cause birth defects, miscarriage and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Meanwhile, tetracycline is responsible for hindering bone growth development and tooth growth problems among the newly born babies.
Clinical studies conducted reveal that women who have used accutane during their pregnancy delivered babies with 25-30% the same pattern of birth defects. In fact, babies have developed heart defects, craniofacial defects and abnormalities in the central nervous system. Read more about adult acne treatments pregnant women should avoid.
Meanwhile, benzoyl peroxide can still be used by pregnant women in getting rid of acne. As an alternative to tetracycline, oral erythromycin is safe to use by pregnant women in their quest to achieve a healthier looking, finer and acne-free skin.
Stress also plays an important role in acne breakouts during pregnancy. Therefore, proper management and control of problems should be observed to prevent stress that triggers acne breakout.
Stress can be managed by maintaining a healthy and balanced diet and engaging in regular exercise. Some foods contain powerful substances that are responsible for regulating the production of hormones that cause stress. Exercise is also a good way to deal with stress. Exercise stimulates increased blood flow to the skin thereby promoting a healthier and more toned skin.
Can I continue topical or oral treatments while I am pregnant? How long should I wait before I get pregnant?
Acne breakouts often seem to be at its worst when women are at the height of their child-bearing potential. It’s very important to let your doctor know all of the medications that you are using to treat your acne, even the OTC medications, if you become pregnant. In most cases, the doctor will advise against therapy for the time being.
There are always questions being raised about the usage of topical retinoids during pregnancy. There are natural levels of isotretinoin and retinoic acid in the blood even in people who have never been exposed to topical retinoids. If you put Retin-A on the skin, the blood level of retinoic acid does not change.
Your body eliminates more retinoic acid, but the blood level stays the same. The smartest course is not to use retinoids during pregnancy because even the theoretical risk of a problem is not worth it; however, generally, most dermatologists agree that it is okay to stop using the retinoid once you think you may be pregnant.
One real and serious concern is about the timing of the consumption of oral isotretinoin (Accutane, Sotret, others) while a woman is pregnant or if she becomes one within 1 month of taking this drug. This drug must non under any circumstances be taken during pregnancy, and women taking oral isotretinoin must discontinue the drug at least 4 weeks before even trying to get pregnant.
It is also important women who plan to take isotretinoin must have adequate contraception to ensure that they will not get pregnant either during the treatment for 4 weeks after. The matter is so important that the various makers of oral isotretinoin instituted programs called System to Monitor Accutane-related Teratogenicity (S.M.A.R.T), or variations of it, to help ensure that women do not get pregnant while taking this medication of for at least 1 month after.
These programs offer in-depth booklets and videos to help explain the risks of getting pregnant during this time and the methods available to avoid pregnancy. Some of the birth defects that are associated with oral isotretinoin are as follows:
- Skull abnormalities/deformities
- Ear abnormalities/deformities
- Cleft palate
- Brain abnormalities/deformities
- Heart abnormalities/deformities
- Hormonal abnormalities
In many countries, topical BP and topical erythromycin can be used during pregnancy although BP is in the pregnancy category C. Azelaic acid is also approved for use by pregnant women in some countries, and is rated pregnancy category B. Topical retinoids are not recommended for use in pregnant women.
For pregnant women who have severe acne or acne that leaves significant scars, oral tetracyclines, including doxycycline and minocycline, are not only not recommended, they are contraindicated. That is, the prescribing doctor should not offer them at all because they are harmful to the developing fetus. This puts them in the pregnancy category D. Oral trimethoprim is also not recommended.
Erythromycin is considered the safest choice, followed by topical azelaic acid. It is important to review with the obstetrician before any medication for acne is used. The obstetrician may tell you to hold off on certain treatments until after the first trimester of pregnancy.
The FDA’s system divide drugs into five categories, ranging from completely safe to absolutely forbidden in pregnancy. To qualify for a particular category, a drug must pass (or fail) certain scientific tests in animals, humans, or both. The exact standards for each category are shown in the table below.
Except for “A” and “X”, you can see that these ratings do require a judgement call. Harm to the baby is never a certainty, and some drugs, such as epilepsy medications, may be so crucial to the mother’s safety as to make taking them the least risky choice.
If a drug is rated “X”, there’s no question: Avoid it at all costs if you even think you’re pregnant. But generally if it falls into the “B” or “C” categories, check with your doctor before discontinuing it. Its risks may be low enough, and its benefits sufficiently high, to make its continued use the wisest course.
Can I use topical antibiotics or BP while I am pregnant?
Some of these agents are acceptable for use in pregnancy. It is very important to consult your obstetrician regarding all medications that you might be using, including both prescription and OTC medications. Different drugs are rated and categorized into pregnancy categories. The most important pregnancy category to be aware of is category X, which means that the medication is absolutely against in usage while in pregnancy. Accutane is one of the medication that falls in to this category.
Tetracycline is rated pregnancy category D, which means that it is known to be unsafe for use in pregnancy. Erythromycin is considered to be pregnancy category B, which is generally considered safe in pregnancy. My advice is if you really care about your baby and to be on the safe side, you should not take or use any medications during pregnancy.
|Category A - Generally considered safe|
|Controlled studies show no risk in first trimester.
No evidence of second or third trimester risk.
Risk of fetal harm remote
|Category B - Caution advised|
|Animal studies show no risk or adverse fetal effects but controlled human first-trimester studies are not available.
No evidence of second or third trimester fetal risk.
Fetal harm possible but not likely.
|Category C - Weigh risk/benefit|
|Animal studies show adverse fetal effect, but no controlled human studies or no animal or human studies are available.|
|Category D - Weigh risk/benefit|
|Positive evidence of human fetal risk.
Maternal benefit may outweigh fetal risk in serious or life-threatening situations.
|Category X - Contraindicated|
|Positive evidence of serious fetal abnormalities in animals, humans, or both.
Fetal risk clearly outweighs any maternal benefit.