Benzoyl Peroxide in Pregnancy
When you become pregnant, more than just your body changes. Your skin-care routine also should change, particularly if you are using treatments for acne. Products that may otherwise be safe for use can penetrate into the bloodstream, causing harmful effects to a fetus. In the instance of benzoyl peroxide treatments, which are a popular spot treatment, use requires careful supervision.
Benzoyl peroxide is found in several forms of acne treatments, including lotions, gels, creams or spot treatments. Benzoyl peroxide has antiseptic properties, meaning it is able to kill acne-causing bacteria on the skin. It also has oxidizing properties, meaning when applied to the skin, benzoyl peroxide is able to drain acne-related bumps of oil, dirt or other skin-irritating materials.
Benzoyl peroxide is packaged under a number of names and products. Women who are pregnant should carefully check a label for all ingredients to ensure they are pregnancy-safe. Names associated with benzoyl peroxide include Benza W, Benzagel, Clearasil, Desquam, Neutrogena Acne Mask, Oxy 10, Stri-Dex Maximum Strength and Theroxide, according to BabyPartner.com. Benzoyl peroxide can be purchased over the counter.
When applied to the face, benzoyl peroxide is absorbed in small amounts by the skin, according to BabyPartner.com. What this means for pregnant women is that very little of the treatment likely enters into the bloodstream. For this reason, most benzoyl peroxide treatments are considered safe for use when pregnant, according to BabyPartner.com and the American Pregnancy Association. Some acne products contain labeling as "safe for expectant mothers."
While most physicians find benzoyl peroxide use during pregnancy to be safe, manufacturers of benzoyl peroxide products recommend these items for use only when considered absolutely necessary. While fluctuating hormones may cause acne problems to become more prevalent, manufacturers recommend avoiding this treatment.
While certain acne treatment medications such as retin-A, tetracycline and accutane should not be used during pregnancy, according to the American Pregnancy Association, the use of benzoyl peroxide walks a fine line between safe and not indicated for use during pregnancy. For this reason, it's best to carefully review any acne products with your physician to determine the best course of action.
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