How to Safely Treat Acne during Pregnancy

How to Safely Treat Acne during Pregnancy

Your Drug-Free Acne Skincare Routine & Treatment

Along with the excitement of being pregnant means many changes in your body. One of them is a dramatic increase in hormone production, especially sex hormones such as androgens (testosterone), estrogen and progesterone. These are among the most potent stimulators of sebaceous glands. The overproduction of sebum (skin oil) by sebaceous glands is the first step in acne forming. The accumulated sebum together with bacteria, dead skin cells and dirt will lead to inflammation and infection manifesting itself as pimples, cysts, and in milder cases whiteheads and blackheads.  

The fact is that more than 1 in 2 women will develop acne during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. The problem is how to manage acne during the pregnancy while ensuring the safety of baby and mother, and to help the woman to feel the best she can during this very important period of her life. After all, a happy mommy is the best mommy.

Below is some important information on what to avoid, and what you can actually do to safely manage your acne during pregnancy.

Unsafe Acne Treatments during Pregnancy

Isotretinoin. Isotretinoin is known under the brand name Accutane (presently a subject of Class Action Suit) and a number of generic names. It is an oral product used mostly for treating severe acne. However, it's especially dangerous before and during pregnancy as the drug is known to affect a fetus and cause serious birth defects.

Hormone therapy. This includes the "female" hormone estrogen and the anti-androgens flutamide and spironolactone.

Oral tetracyclines. These include antibiotics such as tetracycline, doxycycline and minocycline, which can inhibit bone growth and discolor new firming permanent teeth.

Topical retinoids such as adapalene (Differin), tazarotene (Tazorac) and tretinoin (Retin-A). Topical retinoids are actually similar to isotretinoin, and since they can get into your blood stream through small capillaries in your skin they should be avoided during pregnancy. Although studies show that the amount of these medications absorbed through the skin is low, they still may increase risk of birth defects. Please note that all retinoids or cosmetic products that contain them are required to carry a warning that states it is unknown whether they can harm a developing baby or a child that is being breastfed.

Salicylic acid. For the same reasons, many experts also recommend against using topical treatments containing salicylic acid while pregnant. This is an ingredient found in almost all over-the-counter acne products with Proactive®, NatureCure®, Clearsil® and other known brands.



Drug-Free Acne Skincare Routine & Treatment

If your pregnancy acne is mild and you did not suffer from acne before becoming pregnant, you may actually try to deal with your pregnancy breakouts without any specific acne products. This is the safest route, and here are some tips on how to do it:

  • Avoid squeezing or popping the pimples. This may result in permanent acne scars.
  • Limit washing your face (and body if you have body acne) to two times per day and after heavy sweating. Over-washing and drying your skin will actually stimulate sebaceous glands to produce more oil.
  • When you do wash, use a gentle, oil-free, alcohol-free, and non-abrasive cleanser. Try DIY chamomile astringent twice a day to keep your skin moist and bacteria free.
  • Use a soft washcloth (but change it every time you wash your face) or cotton pads but do not rub or scratch your skin as doing so opens a door, so to speak, to bacteria.
  • Use lukewarm rather than hot water. Hot water will over-dry the skin and therefore stimulate the glands.
  • Avoid over-cleansing and over-drying. Pat gently.
  • Use noncomedogenic moisturizer regularly twice a day.
  • Use natural DIY acne-prone skin masks.
  • Shampoo regularly. If you have oily skin, it's best to shampoo daily. Avoid oily hair conditioners and mousses.
  • Keep a healthy-skin diet that also supports pregnancy.


  • If your pregnancy acne is moderate or severe and you want to safely get rid of it and PREVENT new pimples from coming, try AcnEase®.

AcnEase® is an all-botanical-ingredients, proprietary formula that is focused on rebalancing the body without directly impacting hormone levels. Rather, it prevents hormone fluctuations from adversely impacting sebaceous gland secretions and this way mitigates acne. It is completely safe to take, however, you and your obstetrician may review the list of AcnEase ingredients so you can make sure none of them may adversely affect you and your baby.

With a Promise of Clear Skin,
Dr. A 

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