Let’s get real for a minute: if you have acne-prone skin, one of the biggest downsides to being pregnant is that your skin might go from manageable (depending on how you treat it when you’re not pregnant) to your worst nightmare. You know what’s even worse? Even if you have clear skin all the time you still may suffer from a dreaded pregnancy breakout — for the whole time you’re baking your baby. At least, that’s what happened to me… but luckily, most of the time acne clears up after the first trimester. Allegedly.
You can go ahead and say it: acne sucks. It especially sucks as an adult, when you’re all “Shouldn’t I already be past this shit?!” My skin has never been the most stellar on its own, but after being prescribed Tazorac when I was twenty, I had it under control. Fast-forward a few years to twenty-three, when I was pregnant with Jasper. It turns out using Tazorac while pregnant is a BIG no-no, so I was suddenly stranded without my favorite skincare treatment.
Why you break out in the first place
Practices to avoid
A lot of the same rules apply to pregnancy acne that apply to regular acne: don’t scrub it. Don’t exfoliate, because your skin will most likely be too delicate to handle it. Pregnancy-specific rules also include ceasing the use of all prescription acne medication until you clear it with your doctor, and avoiding most, if not all, over-the-counter stuff you can buy. Surprisingly (at least to me), this also includes “natural” creams, which still aren’t particularly “safe.”
Bottom line: if you have a doctor, midwife, or health official involved in your pregnancy and you’re concerned, ask him or her if what you’re planning to use is ok.
Stuff that might help
First and foremost, let me say this: talk to your healthcare provider or someone you trust about what will and won’t work for you. I am by no means an expert — these are just the things that yielded the most positive results for me.
After many a late-night internet search for solutions, I discovered Moroccan Red Clay Powder. I was able to score a 6 oz. container at a local grocery store, but you can get it on Amazon as well. I won’t say that this completely rid my skin of acne, but it definitely made everything a lot better; if anything, I felt like my face was much cleaner after using it.
Another potential anti-acne aid is an oatmeal scrub. They’re way gentler than most chemical-based stuff you’ll find, and you can make your own pretty easily — you just need oatmeal and water. Another route would be to mix a tablespoon of honey and enough warm water to make a paste. You can use it as an exfoliant or lay gauze over your face and put the mixture on top of the gauze. Leave it on for fifteen minutes, and lift the gauze to remove. The oatmeal mixture will leave behind a milky liquid on your skin, and you simply rub that into your skin for hydration.
Also, consider your diet. Caffeine, dairy, cooked fats, and meat are all linked to acne. This doesn’t mean too much, since many a water-drinking vegetarian also contends with this facial curse. Foods that have been shown to help include avocado, mango, olives, garlic, and berries.
If none of this does it for you, fear not: pregnancy acne subsides soon after delivery. I don’t mean right away, but in the first few weeks that follow. Of course, if you’re breastfeeding you may still want to try to find a more baby-friendly alternative to coping with your skin if you have any flare-ups, as 80% of adults do.
Did your skin break out while you were pregnant? How did you deal with it?