Acne and Pregnancy: The Connection

5 acne causing foods
5 acne causing foods

Pregnancy, that blissful stage of having a baby! While there are pregnant women who look more beautiful and fresh compared to when they weren’t, there are others who are not. Acne is very common during pregnancy, usually starting in the first trimester. However, if acne did not occur during the first trimester, chances are, it will come around right after and at that time, it might be worse.


According to Dr. Andrea Cambio, a dermatologist from Cape Coral, Florida, “Acne during pregnancy can be mild, moderate, or even severe, and it can occur at any time during the pregnancy. It may come and go, or it may last the entire pregnancy,”


Another dilemma, pregnant women cannot just take any over-the-counter drugs for acne because it can cause some sort of birth defects to their unborn child. If you are pregnant and experiencing major outbreaks on your skin, always remember to first consult your OB-GYN before taking matters into your own hands.


Causes of Acne Breakouts In Pregnant Women


Apparently, when women get pregnant, a hormone called androgen increases which provokes acne growth. The reason why this hormone prompts acne growth is because androgen stimulates production of oil in the sebaceous glands. When this happens, dead skin and dirt easily accumulates and clog pores.


It might seem that the cause of acne are those that were mentioned; its not. With piled up debris and oil in the pores, it attracts bacteria to breed in and thus, the outcome is irritated and infected pores which comes out as pimples or certain forms of acne. So it is not just the sebum (oil), dead skin and dirt, it also is due bacterial growth in the pores.


Another probable cause is fluid retention that also happens when pregnant. Fluid retention may cause build up of toxins in a pregnant woman’s body which may prompt acne development.


Practically, even if you’re not pregnant, acne growth is the same process for every person. Nevertheless, other than those mentioned, there might be other factors to consider why acne development occurs and this is where we can focus on.


Onset of the first trimester, there are changes occuring in a woman’s pregnant body. Hormones that is produced is making the body react not just physically but it also affect moods and behavior. This is where we can base what brings out acne growth.



  • Cravings


It can be unpredictable. Pregnancy can make you crave for weird things. If monthly periods can do this, pregnancy hormones can definitely triple this feeling. Pregnancy can make you crave for savory to sour to sweet things that you do not even eat when you weren’t pregnant yet.


Consuming sweet and starchy food can definitely perk up sebaceous glands and increase sebum production which will apparently prompt acne growth.



  • Laziness


You wouldn’t think that this is a cause for acne production but it is. Pregnancy makes some, if not most, women feel dragged and too lazy to take care of one’s hygiene (i.e. bathing and showering). Together with the cravings caused by hormonal changes, this is another fact that women experience.


A pregnant woman’s body temperature rises. It may cause women to sweat a bit. When this happens and laziness is at its peak, there is a big probability that acne growth on the chest, back and other areas of the body might occur.


  • Skin Sensitivity

Hormones are really to be blamed. That is a fact. Hormone change does all crazy things to women and their bodies during period and pregnancy. Skin sensitivity may change during this time and being more cautious from food to skin products and even laundry detergent should be taken into consideration.


Anything that your skin can come into contact with should be checked if you think you develop hypersensitivity during this time. YOu may not have acne on your face but you might notice acne growth on certain areas of your body that is hidden in plain sight.


How To Treat Acne During Pregnancy


Unfortunately, acne treatment is not as easy as to when you are not pregnant. Since a woman is carrying another human being inside her belly, whatever she consumes and applies on her body can be ingested by the baby as well. Medication, especially, can have adverse effects on the baby whether neurologically or physically.


But there are oral and topical treatments available for pregnant women that can be used for acne but these are very limited. Home remedies are more advisable to use and is also a better option when it comes to treatment of skin problems not just for pregnant women.


Here are some safe treatments that pregnant women can use to heal acne:


Glycolic Acid – according to Google, glycolic acid is “a colorless, translucent, crystalline compound, C2H4O3, that occurs in cane sugar, unripe grapes, and sugar beets.” Practically, this acid originates from nature and not chemical based which can be safe both for the mother and baby.


Just buy this otc cream and follow the instruction on the box to heal acne.


Coconut oil – this oil is one amazing substance that can do wonderful and amazing things to the skin. It not only evens out skin tone, it can eliminate blemishes and premature wrinkles. Since this oil is plant-based, you can just slather it all over your body anytime of the day.


Coconut oil may have a distinct aroma, which smells like cookies for some, but the smell will disappear in an hour or two. It is also easily absorbed by the skin which leaves no sticky residue.


Witch Hazel Oil – another oil which is really good for the skin. Witch hazel oil is a natural astringent which helps balance the skin’s natural ph levels. It can also control sebum production in the skin which is really ideal for acne treatment.


Just take a cotton pad or ball and put some witch hazel oil and wipe it over the affected area, Its that easy.


Turmeric – this herb is similar to ginger but they say that its properties are more potent. It is a  natural antiseptic which also enhances the skin’s complexion. Considering the properties, it surely can eliminate not just the acne but also its cause.


To use this, prepare a turmeric paste with water, Apply it directly on the target area and let it sit for an hour. Wash it of with water or gentle cleanser. It is safe for daily use. Just be aware though that it can stain clothes, so be wary of that.


Lemon – yes, that lemon fruit that is refreshing to drink on a warm summer day. That fresh citrus scent that you love to smell on food and even in perfume. Lemon contains citric acid, or in dermatological term, AHA (alpha hydroxy acid).


This substance has antimicrobial elements which is good for drying up acne and at the same time evening up the skin’s complexion. Squeeze a small amount of lemon juice in a container. Dip a cotton swab and directly apply on the acne.


If you are not satisfied, you can use the whole fruit even and just gently scrub it on you face or any part of your body that has acne. It may sting for a few minutes but it will go away. Leave it on for 10-20 minutes and wash it off right after. Lemon also has oils which leaves your skin soft and moisturized.


How to Avoid Acne During Pregnancy


While we are on the subject, here are some ways that you can do to prevent acne growth. Simple and easy ways to follow.


Wash your face but do not overdo it – if your face is infested with acne during this time, you may want to consider washing your face with gentle facial cleansers which do not contain harmful ingredients for pregnant women. However, since your skin may be sensitive during this time, do not overwash your face because it may dry up your skin.


Know your products – like in the food you eat, know what is in the products you use before buying. Remember there is a little person who is living inside you which is at the receiving end of what you do with yourself. Stay away form skincare products that have harmful effects.


These are some of the things that you should be wary of in your products while pregnant:


  • Phthalates
  • Retinoids
  • Formaldehyde
  • Tetracycline
  • Toluene
  • Hydroquinone
  • Thioglycolic acid
  • Dihydroxyacetone
  • Botulinim toxin
  • Ammonia


Drink Your Vitamins from A – Zinc – it is easy for a pregnant woman to be deficient with many nutrients due to the fact that her body shares this with her baby. Vitamins are crucial to the mother and baby at this point. All these nutrients go straight to the baby which makes the mother prone to deficiencies.


The mother needs to replenish what she lost to sustain her body and provide supply to her unborn baby. In this way, it will also help provide good skin, hair and nails to both mother and child.


Double Down Your H2O Intake – you are not just eating for two but also drinking for two as well. Your baby is safe in the sac which it lives in as of the moment and all the nutrients and water you put into your body supplies the embryonic fluid.


If you notice that your skin is drying up, it might be a sign that you do not give yourself enough water to last you for a day. Keeping your skin well hydrated will keep it from breaking out and prevent acne growth,


Quality Food Produces Quality Skin – “you are what you eat” is a factual statement. There might be people whose skin doesn’t get affected with the kind of food they consume, perhaps they are blessed with superhuman DNA, we will never know. But for those who do not have this kind of skin, opt for healthy, nutritious and real food.


For pregnant moms, this is more important for you. Keeping your pantry and fridge with healthier options will make all the difference not just for your skin, but for the overall condition of your body, which includes the little one in your belly.


Pregnancy Glow


As simple as a lifestyle change will bring about that healthy pregnancy glow that you want to see in yourself. It is attainable and obtainable if you only do your part in keeping these tips in mind.


Before thinking that it is hard, think of the many benefits it will do to you and your unborn baby. Pregnancy gives you various feelings. One of the most affected emotion you may encounter being pregnant is self confidence. You do not want to lose this while your baby bump is growing.


In order to avoid unnecessary emotions while pregnant, you yourself must do yourself some good. Remembering all these and incorporating it in your daily routine will do you more good in life.



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