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Acne Treatments & Pregnancy

Acne Treatments & Pregnancy Acne Treatments & Pregnancy


Most women realize that what is put in the body can affect the development of an unborn baby. But many do not understand that what's put on the body can affect a growing baby as well. "Everything you eat, apply or come into contact with may affect not only you but also your baby," explains dermatologist Sandra Marchese Johnson of the Johnson Dermatology in Arkansas. Because of this, women have to take extra precaution when treating acne during pregnancy.

Cause of Pregnancy Acne

According to Dr. Gerard DiLeo of the Babyzone website, acne during pregnancy occurs due to hormone fluctuations. In order to maintain a healthy pregnancy, the body produces more of the hormone progesterone. This hormone helps the egg to implant, relaxes muscle and helps to prevent premature labor--but it also causes the skin to secrete more oil. When oil is too excessive, it cannot escape from the pores and becomes blocked--forming acne.

Treatment Methods

The Babycenter website suggests using caution when treating acne during pregnancy. Use a gentle face wash two times a day. This rids the skin of the excess oil and dirt that causes acne. Look for a cleanser that has an acne fighting ingredient like salicylic acid. However, be sure it has no more than 2 percent--anything higher can be unsafe to an unborn baby. Although many prescription medications are dangerous, topical antibiotic creams that contain clindamycin or erythromycin are considered safe.


The American Pregnancy Association explains that certain acne medications can cause birth complications during pregnancy. Side effects range from heart defects, defects of the central nervous system, disruption of bone formation, to even miscarriage. Prescription oral and topical medications like Accutane, Retin-A and tetracycline are all dangerous to a fetus. Even some over-the-counter acne treatments can be unsafe. Avoid using products that have high amounts of benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.


Because hydration is altered during pregnancy, the Babyzone website recommends drinking around six to eight glasses of water per day. Keeping hydrated helps to dilute oil on the skin, making it more difficult to clog pores. In addition, the Babycenter website warns to only use washes, moisturizers and cosmetics that are oil free and noncomedogenic. This means they will not clog pores and lead to further breakouts.

Doctor's Care

Do not be afraid to consult a doctor about acne treatment. The Babycenter website recommends double-checking with a doctor or obstetrician before using any type of acne lotion, medication or cream---even if it is over-the-counter. A doctor may be able to suggest acne treatment methods that are both safe and effective during pregnancy. Or find a dermatologist who can provide safe treatment options. Check with your insurance company or search for a dermatologist via the American Academy of Dermatology.

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