Pregnant woman sitting at sofa and keeping hand on belly

How to treat acne during pregnancy

Your body goes through huge changes when you’re pregnant, some good and some not so good.

Many women find they suffer from acne even if they’ve never been prone to spots before. This can be more than a little frustrating as we’d all like the famous pregnancy glow and not unsightly pimples.

Where will the spots appear?

The most common place for an acne breakout during pregnancy is the face, which is unfortunate if you’re self-conscious. Acne can also appear on your neck, bottom and/or breasts. Every pregnancy is different so the good news is that even if you suffer from spots and pimples this time around, you might not suffer in future pregnancies.

What causes pregnancy acne?

Most mums-to-be suffer from acne from around week six in the first trimester. This is because the hormone progesterone is being produced in your placenta and can make the sebaceous glands in your skin secrete more sebum (oil) than usual. This may cause your pores to become blocked, resulting in an acne breakout.

Progesterone isn’t all bad though as it helps your body prepare for being pregnant by suppressing ovulation whilst you’re carrying your baby and encouraging your milk glands to get to work as your pregnancy progresses.

During pregnancy, it’s harder for our bodies to naturally remove toxins so this too can cause us to have breakouts. If you’re lucky, you might only suffer for a few weeks but some mums-to-be suffer with acne for the whole of their pregnancies. Luckily, once your baby arrives the acne should disappear of its own accord.

How to treat acne during pregnancy

However much your spots and pimples irritate you, you should never try to get rid of them by scrubbing your face as this will just irritate your skin. If you suffered with acne in your youth, then you might feel that you can treat this new acne yourself by buying products that you’ve used in the past.

However, lots of acne treatments simply aren’t safe to use when pregnant or breastfeeding as they contain chemicals that can be absorbed by your skin and harm your baby.

Get advice from the experts

Some mums-to-be decide to just let nature run its course and don’t actively do anything to treat their spots and pimples. However, if you have a particular bad breakout or you feel very self-conscious about your acne then you might want to speak to an expert about which treatments they recommend. You could visit your doctor, speak to your midwife or pop into a Holland & Barrett store and ask an associate for their recommendations. Some treatments you’ll be able to get over the counter and others will need to be prescribed.

How to prevent acne during pregnancy

We really wish we could wave a magic wand and make your pregnancy is pimple free but sadly that’s impossible. We can, however, suggest three ways you can reduce your chances of a full-blown breakout:

  1. Look after your skin

Ultimately, you want to try and prevent your pores from getting blocked up as this causes acne. Take extra care washing your face every morning and night, making sure you use a soap-free cleanser that’s kind to your skin. Try not to miss any areas, especially those that are prone to spots like your nose and forehead. Don’t be tempted to scrub your face as this can cause your skin to become irritated.

When it comes to buying moisturiser, makeup and other products for your skin it’s vital that you don’t just reach from the products you usually buy week in, week out. Instead, you need to choose oil-free products if you can.

  1. Care for your hair

During your pregnancy you might need to wash your hair more and replace your pillowcases and towels more regularly. Mums-to-be often find that their hair changes during their pregnancy, becoming thicker and shinier. This is because your body is producing more oestrogen than before.

You don’t want oil from your hair to block the pores on your face whilst you’re sleeping so you might want to tie your hair up.

  1. Eat and drink well

Your midwife will have already recommended you take multi-vitamins during your pregnancy but you should also try to eat foods that are rich in vitamins. Fresh fruit and vegetables are good for both you and your baby, and a small amount of dark chocolate can help give your skin a boost. Make sure you’re hydrated by drinking lots of water, and avoiding coffee and tea as caffeine isn’t recommended during pregnancy.

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