What to do with pregnancy acne?
I am happy to say that I have had a very easy pregnancy so far, knock on wood. No nausea, no excessive tiredness or pain or anything really out of the ordinary, except my poor skin. Do I have that pregnancy glow? Well, if oily and very shiny skin plus glowing break-outs count as a glow, then yes, I have a glow. Before I got pregnant, I had dry, very sensitive skin with mild rosacea. Now, I have very oily skin with more break outs. The hot and humid August weather in New York doesn’t exactly help.
What to do with pregnancy acne?
I am happy to say that I have had a very easy pregnancy so far, knock on wood. No nausea, no excessive tiredness or pain or anything really out of the ordinary, except my poor skin. Do I have that pregnancy glow? Well, if oily and very shiny skin plus glowing break-outs count as a glow, then yes, I have a glow. Before I got pregnant, I had dry, very sensitive skin with mild rosacea. Now, I have very oily skin with more break outs. The hot and humid August weather in New York doesn’t exactly help. We probably all remember our anti-acne program from back when I was a teenager, but what is a woman to do with pregnancy-induced skin problems? A couple of guidelines and recommendations:
Is it safe to use medicated acne products?
The most common anti-acne ingredients you can get without prescription are Salicylic Acid, also known as Beta Hydroxy Acid, and Benzoyl Peroxide. Salicylic is actually a part of the aspirin family and therefore not recommended during pregnancy. The same applies to Benzoyl Peroxide, which kills acne bacteria. However, with both ingredients, it does depend on how much of it you use and how often. If you use a daily face wash, shower gel, toner, lotion, spot treatment and bi-weekly deep-peel all with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, yes, there is a real risk that your body absorbs enough of the ingredient through the skin and cause potential pregnancy complications.
There are a few other non-prescription ingredients to be aware of, especially because they are not considered medicated and could easily be overlooked.
In my research, I read that small amounts of topical salycilic acid or benzoly peroxide are considered safe. Therefore, I occasionally use a spot treatment with 1% Salicylic Acid to target a particularly nasty break-out. Other than steer clear of medicated product. Benzoly Peroxide also comes as a spot treatment at concentration of 2.5%, 5% or 10%. Picking the lowest strength on the market and using it sparingly would be advisable during pregnancy, such as Neutrogena’s On-the-Spot Acne Treatment, Vanishing Formula with 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide (0.75 oz/ 21 g for $7, available at www.drugstore.com) or Eau Thermale Avene’s Cleanance Acne Spot Treatment with 1.5% Salicylic Acid (0.5 oz for $16 available at www.skinstore.com)
There are a few other non-prescription ingredients to be aware of, especially because they are not considered medicated and could easily be overlooked. These include Retinol, Retinaldehyde or Retinyl Palmitate, all Vitamin A or Vitamin A derivatives except Beta Carotene. These ingredients are mostly found in potent anti-aging products, but there are also anti-acne products that contain these ingredients, especially since they help with help minimize the discoloration associate with acne-scarring.
It goes without saying that pregnant women should only use prescription strength acne products if your doctor gives you the green light. (except Acutance, which is a no-no)
Retin-A, Renova (tretinoin)
Tazorac and Avage (Tazarotene)
An important point to consider: You skin becomes more sensitive to the sun during pregnancy. Medicated ingredients carry a risk of causing a reaction together with UV light, so now you have to be even more careful to protect yourself from the sun when you use medicated products.
What are safe alternatives and products to control oily skin and acne?
Cleansers with glycolic acid, lactic acid or fruit acid
Not to be confused with salicylic acid, glycolic, lactic and fruit acid are considered safe during pregnancy/ Lactic acid, derived from milk, and fruit acid, derived from acidic fruits, gently exfoliates away dead skin cells and are more gentle than glycolic acid. Eau Thermale Avene’s Diacneal Gel Cleanser contains Lactic Acid and earns rave reviews for people with acne and sensitive skin. Diacneal Gel Cleanser by Avene (6.76 fl oz. for $24, available at www.dermstore.com)
Oil-free moisturizers with anti-aging benefits
I realize it’s hard to find a moisturizer that is suitable for oily skin AND also has real anti-aging benefits. JUARA’s oil-free Sweet Black Tea & Ginger Mattefying Moisturizer is it for me. It has just the right amount of hydration with Hyaluronic Acid, it feels light and really does give you a nice matte finish. The ingredients are natural and give anti-aging and oil-balancing benefits. Sweet Black Tea & Ginger Mattefying Moisturizer (2.0 Fl oz/ 59 ML for $48, available at www.juaraskincare.com)
Deep cleansing clay masks
Clay has the ability to draw oil and impurities from pores and free skin from dead surface skin cells that can clog pores. Astara’s Blue Flame Purification Mask is pricey, but earns great reviews in that it is so gentle it can be used by people with oily skin and drier skin types that need a deep-cleansing. Astara Blue Flame Purification Mask (2.0 oz for $41.00, available at www.skinstore.com)
Tea tree oil spot treatments
Tea tree oil has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties and helps keep acne bacteria at bay without disrupting the skin’s natural balance. There are several products with tea tree oil available in convenient spot applicators, such as Burt’s Bees Doctor Burt’s Herbal Blemish Stick with Tea Tree Oil (0.3 fl oz / 8.8 ml for $9.00, available at www.drugstore.com)