How to Combat Pregnancy Acne
- August 27, 2019
- by Melissa Lawrence
Hi there, mamas-to-be! Melissa here, addressing one of the lesser-discussed but still prevalent side effects of pregnancy: acne. During pregnancy, your hormones run rampant, resembling those of a pubescent teen. Pregnant women produce higher levels of hormones called androgens, which essentially prompt glands in your skin to get bigger and produce more of an oily substance called “sebum.” This sebum, combined with shedding skin cells, clogs up and blocks the skin’s pores, causing pregnancy acne.
Pregnancy pimples are most common during the first trimester, so if they don’t show up then, they likely never will. While most experts condemn the use of prescription and even over-the-counter acne medications during pregnancy, don’t be discouraged. The remedies discussed below can help battle acne and keep your skin hydrated, healthy and clear.
Wash Your Face Gently and Regularly
When I was pregnant, taking care of my skin fell through the cracks. Overwhelmed with all I needed to do, I didn’t take the time to care for my skin, often collapsing into bed at the end of the day with all the build-up of the day stuck on my face — yuck! Don’t be like me — take the time to care for yourself.
The best way to keep pregnancy acne at bay is to follow classic skin care tips and to keep your skin super clean. Wash your skin with a gentle, oil-free cleanser at least twice a day. Use your hands, soap up your face, and rinse with cool water to close your pores. Never employ brushes or wash-clothes, which are too harsh and can cause inflammation or chaffing.
For a gentle safe cleaner that is recommended by dermatologists, consider Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser. So safe you can use it on babies, this cleanser is free of irritants, thoroughly cleans the skin, and doesn’t leave any oily residue. I use and love this product daily!
If you want a more intense cleansing, try a product with a safe level of glycolic acid such as Mederma AG Hydrating Facial Cleanser. Derived from sugar cane, glycolic acid exfoliates dead skin cells, increases the cell turnover that helps reduce fine lines and prevents signs of premature aging, and serves as a healthier alternative to other medical washes deemed unsafe for pregnant women. Make sure to check the concentration of glycol acid in your product to ensure safety. Gentle, hypoallergenic, and a great tool for fighting pregnancy pimples, this Madera wash can be found here.
Avoid Oils in Sunscreen, Moisturizer and Makeup
Many popular and common skincare products are oil-based, which is no good for future mamas trying to clear up their skin. You should look for products that are water-based, which many mainstream brands offer. Products may also be marked “noncomedogenic” or “non-acnegenic,” which are fancy ways of saying that these products are free of oils, fragrances, or harsh ingredients that clog pores and cause acne.
The Classic Apple Cider Vinegar Trick
Included in many natural remedies, apple cider vinegar offers many benefits for your skin and digestive system. One of its lesser known and best uses is to clear up acne! Use unfiltered apple cider vinegar, mixing one part vinegar with three parts water to create a natural toner for your skin. This mixture will be high in naturally occurring enzymes that help unclog your pores and clear your skin. Dip a cotton ball in the toner, apply it to the problem areas of your skin, and wait ten minutes for it to dry. Once the vinegar has dried on your skin, wash it off gently with warm water. Little spa treatments like this also can be a great way to treat yourself to a little “me” time and combat pregnancy stress.
The Healing Properties of Citrus Fruits
Just as apple cider vinegar contains enzymes and natural acid, so do citrus fruits! Lemons and limes are packed with high amounts of enzymes and natural acid, and their juices unclog pores, helping your skin shed dead skin cells. You can squeeze the juice right onto a cotton ball and apply to your skin, waiting ten minutes before washing it off.
Wash Your Linens….Often
Every night for hours upon hours (hopefully!), your skin remains in constant contact with your sheets and pillow. Excess oil and skin cells gather on your pillow over time, and can worsen acne. Imagine sleeping on an oily cloth! Washing your bed linens every other day, however tedious, can help your skin by not exposing it to so much bacteria and oil. Note that studies also show that when you go to bed on clean, fresh sheets, you will get a better night’s sleep, feeling fresh and relaxed.
Sunlight has been a natural remedy for acne since the dawn of time, and it is most certainly the cheapest and easiest way to help clear your skin! The rays from the sun naturally kill acne bacteria on your skin, and fade marks from previous breakouts. In addition, the sun suppresses your immune system, which includes the cells present in acne. This suppression reduces the appearance of redness in your skin and the overall appearance of acne. Sunlight doesn’t cure all, and you should still apply an oil-free sunscreen before stepping outside, but it’s worth the effort to feel and look better.
There you have it, ladies! Pregnancy acne is extremely common and nothing to fret over. As with most things when it comes to babies and kids, you just need a good system for taking care of your skin. Shine clean and fresh, mamas-to-be, and please comment with any skin rituals that have helped your skin.