Dr. Eric Schweiger - MD

Pregnancy Acne

Acne is one of the most common skin issues during pregnancy. This should be a time of joyfulness, but often times we hear of the negative side effects all of those pregnancy hormones have on the skin. When an overproduction of hormones happens inside the body, the result is oftentimes acne breakouts. Many women, even those who have never had acne in the past, experience pregnancy acne breakouts. This can be frustrating for many women, as most treatment options are considered unsafe for use during pregnancy. Even some over-the-counter medications should not be used during pregnancy. Fluctuating hormone levels make the skin’s hair follicles secrete more oil (sebum), which leads to acne breakouts. In fact, acne is the number one problem most pregnant women complain about.


Acne Medications to Avoid During Pregnancy

 

Many of the ingredients proven effective to treat acne, including benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are contraindicated during pregnancy. The US FDA (United States Food & Drug Administration) has a risk assessment classification for pregnant women called The US FDA Pregnancy Risk System. Benzoyl peroxide is assigned class C, which means animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse affect on the fetus and there are no adequate, well-controlled studies in humans. But potential benefits may warrant use of the drug in pregnant women, despite potential risks.

 

Safe Acne Medications During Pregnancy

 

Rather than deal with nine months of acne breakouts during pregnancy, thankfully there are smarter and safer ways to clean the pores and clear up acne. Lactic acid is effective and safe during pregnancy as is tea tree oil and sulfur-based products. Lactic acid, which is an alpha hydroxy acid, is a normal part of cellular metabolism. So it makes sense that since every one has it in our bodies, it’s safe to use during pregnancy. Lactic acid is very effective at getting rid of the bacteria that leads to acne and increasing cellular turnover, which salicylic acid and glycolic acid do. It’s also less irritating to the skin, which is crucial during pregnancy when all the hormones surging through your body make your skin super-sensitive. Tea tree oil is a great pore cleanser and has similar efficacy to benzoyl peroxide. Green tea is another pregnancy-safe acne-clearing ingredient. A recent study showed that use of a 2% green tea lotion reduced the number of acne lesions on the participant.

 

In-office acne procedures during pregnancy

 

Clear Clinic specializes in the treatment of acne in pregnant women and in women who are trying to conceive. Some topical medications are safe for using during pregnancy and many in-office procedures may be performed during pregnancy and while trying to conceive. Red and Blue LED Light Therapy, the Isolaz Laser Therapy and medical facials are safe during pregnancy. The acne specialists at the Clear Clinic can determine the best acne treatment regimen for your type of acne flare during pregnancy. We often use a combination of pregnancy category B topical medications and in-office treatments such as Light Therapy and the Isolaz. It’s always recommended to consult with your OB before receiving any in-office procedures. We can work directly with your OB to determine the best plan of action for your skin type.