Beating acne during pregnancy

  • By Team TDO

We know how annoying it is to get pimples, those annoying red bumps, on our face. Unfortunately, pimples are part and parcel of pregnancy. We'll tell you what causes acne during pregnancy, what are medical solutions and home remedies to deal with them.

What is acne?

Acne is a side effect of early pregnancy in the form of itchy, pimply bumps that tend to flare up on your face, hairline, neck, breasts, and, yes, your butt. Even if you haven't had a single pimple since your school days, it is likely to occur while you carry the proverbial bun in your oven.

What causes acne during pregnancy?

It's all the conspiracy of notorious hormones, whose production mischievously goes up in the first trimester of the pregnancy.These hormones cause glands in your skin to enlarge and boost the production of sebum. Together with dead skin cells, your pores get blocked and invite bacteria to the party, which causes acne.

Acne can vary in severity and may just occur in the early stages of pregnancy. However, in some cases it may persist throughout your pregnancy. Fortunately, the acne subsides once hormone levels return to normal. You just need to be patient.

Is it possible to treat acne medically?

Acne during pregnancy is natural and temporary. It usually subsides when hormone levels return to normal. So the safest thing to do is to avoid any prescription acne medications or over-the-counter chemical spot treatments. Instead, you can rely on drug-free home remedies. But before starting any acne treatment when you're pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor about what topical acne treatments can be used. Don't use any medication, topical or oral, unless it's been prescribed or cleared by a practitioner who knows you're pregnant (or trying to conceive). Medication is a second line of treatment for pregnancy acne. Any medication that's applied to your skin or swallowed can enter your bloodstream, so it's important to exercise caution during pregnancy even with over-the-counter products.

So if I opt out of medication, what can I do to handle acne?

  1. Health friendly diet: Increase your dietary intake of vitamin A, through foods such as milk, fish, eggs, and carrots, which helps keep the skin healthy. Cutting back on sugar and refined grains can do wonders for your skin as well (opt for whole grains instead). Also, unhealthy fats (aka the saturated fats found in fried foods and many baked goods) can aggravate acne. So replace these with skin-boosting healthy fats like the ones found in avocado, salmon, walnuts, and almonds. Other skin friendly foods include colourful fresh fruits and vegetables and, believe it or not, small amounts of dark chocolate (the darker the better). But remember, eat chocolate in moderation as it also contains caffeine.
  2. Be tan conscious: Too much sun not only increases your risk of skin cancer and causes early ageing of the skin, it can also bring on other blotches during pregnancy. Whenever you are going to be outside, use an oil-free sunscreen of at least SPF 15. Stick to the shade as much as possible (a parasol can be quite a fashion statement).
  3. Be rationally fashionable: Read before you buy. Look for skin care, makeup, and even hair care products that are oil-free and are labelled non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic (formulated not to cause acne). Oil-free moisturisers and makeup are a good idea as well.
  4. Do's and don'ts: Wash your face twice a day. Be gentle and use a mild cleanser with lukewarm water. If you have oily hair, shampoo daily, and keep the hair off your face. Avoid resting your face in your hands. This can trap skin oils and sweat, which can irritate acne.
  5. Use coconut oil: Coconut oil is amazing for the skin and has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties - do not confuse it with other oils. It's great for your heart, boosting your immune system and so much more. Switch your moisturiser with coconut oil or apply a thin layer at least once a day. Replacing your cooking oils and/or butter with coconut oil is a great idea too. Use it to make delicious stir fries, omelets, coconut chicken or in smoothies.
  6. Avoid teasing your pimples: As your mother wisely warned, do not play with your pimples by picking, scratching, popping or squeezing acne sores. This will only make pimples last longer and can cause scars.

So, just stay relaxed and keep the acne tension miles away, as tension will only contribute to worsen your pimples. Try these simple solutions, which will surely help in the treatment of acne.