The facts on acne and pregnancy
Acne and pregnancy sometimes come hand in hand, so much so that you may feel like a teenager all over again with the way you're prone to unexpected pimple breakouts. You never know when it comes to pregnancy acne; some women with pimple-prone skin say they get fewer rather than more pimples when they're pregnant. However, acne during pregnancy is fairly common, so much so that some people point to acne as a sign of pregnancy. So why does it happen, and how do you deal with it if it happens to you?
Causes of Acne During Pregnancy
The causes of acne during pregnancy aren't completely understood by dermatologists and researchers. It is thought that two main factors are at work with acne and pregnancy: sebum and trapped skin cells.
Sebum is the end result of an increased level of androgen hormones, which naturally occurs during pregnancy. The androgen enlarges the glands in your skin that produce oils, which in turn boosts sebum production. Sebum can get trapped in your pores by skin cells, and this creates an environment that helps bacteria grow and thrive. Pimples are the end result.
Acne Treatment During Pregnancy
Simply put, there is not much you can do to completely prevent acne during pregnancy. Exfoliating your skin daily can help, since this will remove the skin cells that can trap the sebum.
If you get acne during pregnancy, wash twice a day with soap or a gentle cleanser, and be sure to pat your skin dry. Never scrub it. Use oil-free moisturizing cream and makeup, and keep your makeup use to a minimum. Also, avoid popping, squeezing or rubbing your pimples. This will only make the problem worse and could even lead to scarring.
With acne medication and pregnancy, be very careful so you don't jeopardize your pregnancy health. Avoid isotretinoin, marketed under the brand name Accutane, as it has been linked to birth defects. You should also not take tetracycline-family antibiotics if you're pregnant or may be pregnant; these are sometimes prescribed as an acne treatment, so if pimple breakouts accompany other pregnancy symptoms, be sure to tell your doctor. Check with your primary prenatal caregiver before using any medicinal or topical acne treatment.