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Safest Acne Treatment for Pregnant Women

Safest Acne Treatment for Pregnant Women


Delivering a healthy baby depends on a number of prenatal factors--including exposure to medications such as treatments for acne. Unfortunately, mothers-to-be aren't exempt from this widespread skin condition, and hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause new breakouts or worsen existing ones. When striving for a clearer complexion, choosing a safe acne treatment is vital for the health of your unborn child.


According to the American Pregnancy Association, topical acne treatments containing benzoyl peroxide are considered safe for use during pregnancy and are recommended above any other type of medicated acne product for pregnant women. Treatments containing benzoyl peroxide come in a variety of forms, including gels, creams, lotions, ointments, solutions, soaps, liquids and wash pads. Some of these products are intended as daily cleansers or rinses, while others can safely remain on your skin throughout the day or overnight. Certain cosmetics--such as concealers and blemish removers--may also contain small doses of benzoyl peroxide as a way to hide lesions while simultaneously healing them.


Products containing benzoyl peroxide work by controlling the growth of P. acnes, the bacteria responsible for acne. Due to its antiseptic and oxidizing properties, benzoyl peroxide creates an environment where acne-causing bacteria can't flourish, thus ending the cycle of outbreaks and yielding a clearer complexion. Because benzoyl peroxide only controls--not cures--acne, it requires consistent and ongoing use in order to keep blemishes at bay. Women experiencing hormone-related acne may need to use benzoyl peroxide treatments throughout the duration of their pregnancy to maintain clear skin.


Unlike other topical acne medications like salicylic acid, retinoids and antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide does not pose a danger to developing fetuses; women may use it moderately throughout their pregnancy without risking harm to their child. Benzoyl peroxide is widely available in over-the-counter products, and its accessibility and affordability makes it more convenient than treatments requiring a prescription.


Acne that occurs as a result of pregnancy-specific hormones typically vanishes shortly after giving birth, according to the Acne Resource Center. Women experiencing hormonal acne may choose to forgo medicated treatment and wait for their complexion to clear on its own, thus removing the risk of any chemical exposure to the unborn child. In some cases, pregnant women can effectively control acne without the use of any medicated treatments, instead adhering to a diligent skin care regimen and avoiding oil-based cosmetics that contribute to breakouts.


Some benzoyl peroxide-based acne treatments contain other acne medications that are unsafe for use during pregnancy, such as salicylic acid and topical retinoids; pregnant women should consult with a physician before choosing an acne medication and carefully read ingredient labels on acne products before purchasing them. Systemic medications such as isotretinoin, oral tetracyclines and hormonal therapies can cause birth defects, and women should strictly avoid such treatments during pregnancy.

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