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How to Deal With Hormonal Acne During Pregnancy

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Having a baby can be one of life’s great joys. Pregnancy has many upsides, but unfortunately for some people, there can also be some downsides. This can include hormonal acne, where your skin starts to break out like it did when you were a teenager.

The good news is that hormonal acne during pregnancy doesn’t happen to everyone. If it happens to you, there are some pregnancy safety measures to prevent those breakouts. Keep reading to see what dermatologists recommend if you start to get breakouts during pregnancy.

What is hormonal acne and why does it appear?

Hormonal acne usually appears at a certain time of the menstrual cycle, usually a week before the period. These pimples usually appear on the jawline or chin.

Although a person who is not pregnant can develop hormonal acne, it is very common when a person is pregnant. “During your first trimester, there is an increase in the hormone progesterone, a hormone that makes the uterus a suitable environment for pregnancy,” says Mona Gohara, MD, board-certified dermatologist. baby,” says dermatologist Mona Gohara. “Progesterone can increase oil (called sebum) production, and an increase in hormones plus sebum can start to cause acne.”

Some hormones decline during pregnancy, which can cause acne. However, this is not always the case. “Often these breakouts subside as pregnancy continues into the third trimester,” says Rachel Nazarian, MD, FAAD, an instructor in the Mount Sinai Department of Dermatology who practices at the Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City. third trimester, but its response is unpredictable. “Many people don’t experience acne at all, or get acne during pregnancy.”

Rachel Nazarian, MD, FAAD

Usually, these pimples subside as pregnancy continues into the third trimester.

– Rachel Nazarian, MD, FAAD

If you feel better skin in your third trimester, remember that the hormone fluctuations aren’t over yet. This could mean your acne will reappear.

“The hormones continue to fluctuate in the fourth trimester after the baby is born,” says Natalie Aguilar, a registered nurse dermatologist and esthetician. “Breastfeeding also stimulates hormones so our bodies can continue to make milk. Even if people decide that breastfeeding isn’t for them, it takes a while for the pregnancy hormones to come into play. Our one-time high will return to normal.” This can delay your return to cleaner skin.

In addition, lifestyle factors during pregnancy or when caring for a newborn can also lead to acne. “Tiredness can cause our skin to become sluggish and prone to breakouts,” says Aguilar.

How to prevent hormonal acne during pregnancy

While a surge in hormones during pregnancy can also lead to “pregnancy radiant skin,” it’s also a cause of acne. “It’s a double-edged sword,” explains Dr. Gohara. “Some light-skinned women and some women are more prone to acne. Some women don’t have acne before and then get acne during pregnancy. Some people have acne before. then no acne during pregnancy.” In other words, there is no rhyme or reason for pregnancy acne. “You can’t predict if it’s going to happen to you,” she said. Which means it’s almost impossible to prevent.

You also can’t predict what type of acne you will get, or where it will appear. “I’ve seen it happen on the chin, everywhere and in different forms,” ​​says Dr. Gohara. She’s seen pregnant women experience everything from whiteheads and blackheads, to deep cystic acne and inflammatory acne. “It’s all about acne at the end of the day,” says Dr. Gohara.

The good news is that lifestyle changes many people make naturally when they’re pregnant, like eliminating alcohol and highly processed foods and drinking more water, also reduce the likelihood of acne and inflammation. infection during pregnancy, says Dr. Gohara.

How to treat hormonal acne during pregnancy

Like any acne, there are ways to treat hormonal acne during pregnancy. However, it is important that you carefully consider the products and ingredients that you use. Some traditional acne treatments are not safe during pregnancy.

Discover the treatment

Non-pregnant people with acne can often use products containing retinoids, salicylic acid, or benzoyl peroxide to treat their acne. Studies have shown that small concentrations of salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide (for example, in a non-stick cleanser) are safe during pregnancy. Be wary of over-the-counter medications, however, and be aware that retinoids are never recommended during pregnancy.

Always ask your healthcare provider about topical medications that are safe for pregnancy. If your case is severe, prescriptions are also available. “Clindamycin and topical erythromycin are safe medications for pregnancy,” says Dr. Gohara.

You can also find non-drug treatment options. Aguilar recommends using fat-free, unflavored Greek yogurt as a face mask. “Yoghurt has a cooling effect, probiotics contain good bacteria, and it contains the most gentle exfoliant, lactic acid,” she says. “This mask can be done twice a week. Apply it to a clean face for 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse and follow with moisturizer and sun care.”

“Blue LED therapy is also an effective treatment” Aguilera said. “Without any ingredients involved, it can be made at home safely and quickly.”

However, before starting any treatment, talk to your healthcare provider (like an obstetrician-gynecologist or dermatologist) to see which is right for you. friend.

The good news is that pregnancy acne is very common and there is a treatment for everyone.

Find the right skin care

A great place to start (whether you have acne or not) is gentle skin care. Dr. Gohara suggests: “I love Avène’s Tolerance line. “It’s a really great line because it has only seven ingredients in it and there are no preservatives. It really gives pregnant women a lot of peace of mind because there are only minimal ingredients — plus they’re soothing and gentle — and preservative-free. A really gentle cleanser is important.”

Dr. Nazarian agrees that it’s important to use the right skin care products from the start. Some of my favorites include gentle acne cleansers like Proactiv Renewing Cleanser, which includes benzoyl peroxide, and Differin Pore Minimizing Toner with Witch Hazel, which is a safe and gentle choice even for sensitive skin. sensitive skin,” says Dr. Nazarian. “It’s alcohol-free and has an effective combination of aloe, witch hazel, and glycolic acid.”

Avoid the temptation to choose

Irresistibly, breakouts or over-exfoliating is not the right idea. “I always say, [pregnant patients] Gohara says, try to avoid that. Do not overdo any treatment to cure acne. Dr. Gohara said.

Picking up just causes bacteria to live in acne, says Sylvia Brownlee, an esthetician, holistic acne specialist and founder of Skin by Brownlee Co., a spa based in Cincinnati, Ohio. more contagious. “This can only lead to more breakouts!” she shared.

How to cover acne during pregnancy

Makeup can be the first line of defense. Concealers and foundations can hide acne and hormonal discoloration. “I recommend non-comedogenic, oil-free products, and I encourage diligent makeup removal every night before bed,” says Dr. Nazarian.

Make sure to choose products that do not contain irritating ingredients. “I recommend avoiding parabens, fragrance, oils, and alcohol, as these ingredients can further irritate the skin,” says Aguilar. “Mineral-based foundation provides lightweight yet breathable coverage.”

If you don’t want to go all out with makeup, you can try other at-home tricks. “Cold the affected area in the morning and evening for 1-2 minutes to reduce inflammation and relieve pain,” says Brownlee. She also recommends changing your pillowcases daily or every other day and washing them with a detergent made for sensitive skin.

A very good word

Hormonal acne during pregnancy doesn’t happen to everyone. If that happens to you, rest assured knowing that you are not alone and there are safe pregnancy treatments available. Talk to your healthcare provider to find out what treatment options may be best for you.

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