Acne is a difficult problem for women to deal with during pregnancy because options for treatment are very limited. Many doctors would rather avoid prescribing any type of medication, because the risk to the baby may be unknown. Certain acne medications can even cause serious birth defects, so preventative measures are usually the best option.
Many mothers develop acne during or after pregnancy, as a result of increased hormones called androgens. Androgens cause the sebaceous glands in the skin to increase production of sebum, our skin’s natural lubrication. Sebum, combined with dead skin cells can clog pores and lead to the formation of acne. One of the ways to prevent breakouts is to keep the skin clean and make sure dead skin cells are exfoliated. Here is a list of Do’s and Don’ts – provided by Acne Treatment One
Preventative Measures to Reduce Acne
During pregnancy or while breast feeding, most acne medications are completely off limits. So, the best way to lessen acne blemishes is to adopt changes in diet, hygiene, and the use of acne contributing cosmetics.
As of late, diet has been show to cause a major role in the formation of acne. Multiple studies have shown that sugary foods can directly lead to the formation of acne. High glycemic index foods were shown to cause insulin spikes that led to the secretion of androgens. Androgens have been linked to the increase in acne during adolescence. Another type of food that has been shown to contribute to acne is cow’s milk. Even organic milk was shown to contain over 60 types of hormones, some of which are testosterone and insulin-like growth factor. These two hormones have been directly shown to cause the formation of inflammatory acne and blackheads.
Another way to control acne without taking any medication is to keep the face clean and reduce oily build up. Removing excess oil can help reduce the blockage of the pores. It is also important to get rid of excess dead skin cells that contribute to blocked pores. You can also try mechanically exfoliating the skin with a pumice stone or loofah sponge. Chemical exfoliation should be avoided. It is unsure whether chemical exfoliants like salicylic or glycolic acid are absorbed into the blood steam.
Avoid Acne Causing Cosmetics
Certain types of sunscreens, make-up, or lotions are made with substances that clog pores. Most of the chemicals that are known to do this are oil based. Petroleum based products have a particularly bad reputation as acne contributors. Another substance that is known to settle into the pores is mica. Mica is usually found in shimmery makeups, like eyeshadows. It can settle into pores and cause irritation to the skin.
Avoid Dangerous Acne Medications
There are a few medications for acne that are known to cause birth defects and should be avoided at all costs. The acne drugs Accutane, Tetracycline, Doxycycline, and Minocycline are known to directly cause serious problems. Other drugs like retinoids and beta-hydroxy acids should also be avoided during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. There are a couple medications that some doctors belive are ok to use during pregnancy such as Erythromycin or Azelaic acid. But, it may still be wise to avoid them at this time. If you have any questions about these products consult with your dermatologist and your obstetrician.