Acne in Pregnancy
Your feet are swollen, your belly is expanding and your skin is stretching so tight you feel like you'll pop. Pregnancy is known for the joy as well as the physical pains and annoyances it brings to expectant moms. It can even make you feel like a teenager again with all sorts of blemishes and acne popping up out of the blue. And though you can treat acne during pregnancy, you have to be cautious with what medications and topical creams you use for the safety of your baby.
Acne is a term used to describe many types of skin lesions that share one thing in common: a partially blocked or entirely blocked pore. When material like dead skin cells, oil and bacteria accumulate in a pore, it can clog it, resulting in a blackhead or a whitehead. When you suffer from severe acne, however, it can progress beyond these descriptions into large inflamed lesions like nodules and cysts. These larger blemishes require intervention from a dermatologist to prevent scarring.
Acne is almost always caused by a combination of oil, dead skin cells and bacteria. However, when you're pregnant, your hormones have a role to play as well. As your estrogen levels climb, so does your oil production. This is often dubbed the pregnancy "glow." For some women this means a youthful, shimmering appearance. For others, it means their skin turns into an oil slick and they break out like a teenager. If you already suffered from acne, it's likely pregnancy will make your blemishes worse.
If you suffer from acne during pregnancy, it is an indicator that you have high levels of androgens in your body, which is a normal part of being pregnant. The presence of this hormone causes your pores and oil glands to enlarge, meaning more oil is set free to roam on your skin, increasing the likelihood of it trapping bacteria and dead skin cells in your pores. The pregnant acne experience varies from woman to woman and is not any more pronounced during one trimester than another. When your hormones are raging, your skin can react accordingly.
If you have a mild case of acne, you can usually tackle the situation on your own. A mild cleanser used twice a day can remove impurities and dead skin cells, to keep your pores clear. Other basic skin care rules apply, like using an oil-free moisturizer, an oil-free sunscreen and avoiding touching your face or picking at your blemishes. Stick to water-based make up and see your doctor before using over-the-counter acne products. Most will be safe, but it's best to check with your doctor first to avoid potential harm to your baby.
Many prescription acne treatments are not suitable for pregnant women. Accutane, in particular, is known to cause serious birth defects and should be avoided. Tetracycline or any antibiotic similar to it like minocycline or doxycycline should also be avoided, since they can cause permanent tooth discoloration in fetuses.
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