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Breaking Out While Pregnant

Breaking Out While Pregnant

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Breaking Out While Pregnant

It’s no secret that a woman’s body changes significantly during pregnancy. While a growing belly and the signature glow are all tell-tale signs that so many of us look forward to, there are certainly others that are less welcomed. Swollen feet and intense cravings aren’t the only symptoms many women experience. Acne is one of the most common pregnancy issues. One out of two pregnant women will be affected by it. Understanding why it happens and what you can do about it can certainly go a long way toward easing your mind and learning the best way to manage it. 


If you’re dealing with acne, know that you aren’t alone. If you’re looking for a remedy that’s safe and effective, then you’ll most definitely want to keep reading! We’ve got the insight into just what causes those blemishes and what you can do to protect your skin. Just as important as knowing what you shouldn’t use as a treatment as it could be dangerous for your baby. After all, every pregnant lady deserves that notorious glow while having the peace of mind that her baby is safe. 


What Causes Pimples During Pregnancy?

The primary cause for pimples during pregnancy is none other than the significant spike in hormones that women experience. While there’s no way of knowing for sure if you’ll have more breakouts during pregnancy, a good indicator is whether or not you’ve experienced it in the past during the onset of your menstrual cycle. 


Essentially, when there is a change in hormone levels, some women’s bodies create more natural oils. In turn, this can expose your skin to more dirt and oil, which can easily clog your pores. While a good skincare regime may help, sometimes it aggravates the issue further. 

Yes, not only do you have to deal with the mood swings and temperature issues that can come from hormone inflation, but you may also get a pimple or two as well. 


When Does Pregnancy Acne Start For Most Women?

Most women experience the majority of their pregnancy acne during the first trimester of their pregnancy as the body struggles to adjust to the higher level of hormones. Typically, if women don’t break out during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, the chances of it becoming a problem during the second or third trimester are greatly reduced. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, and some people may still develop acne later in their pregnancy. 


When Does Pregnancy Acne Calm Down?

Whether or not pregnancy acne calms down or goes away depends on a variety of factors. Sometimes treatment methods work, while at other times they don’t seem to offer much relief. The severity of pregnancy acne can range from mild to severe. Women who have more severe cases of pregnancy acne may struggle with it the entire duration of her pregnancy. However, many women see a decline in breakouts once they enter their second trimester. 


Safe Natural Remedies For Pregnancy Acne

Understandably, many women are incredibly hesitant to take any kind of medications while they are pregnant. However, there are many safe and natural remedies for pregnancy acne. Some options include:


Apple Cider Vinegar

One of the easiest and most effective all-natural acne treatments is none other than apple cider vinegar. Simply mix one-part raw apple cider vinegar with three parts distilled water. This mixture creates an excellent toner that will help keep your pores clear. You’ll want to be careful, though. Apple cider vinegar can dry out your skin, so it’s best to use this method sparingly and to make sure you mix in enough water. 



Honey has excellent antibacterial and antiseptic properties that can help clear up acne breakouts. You’ll want to start by thoroughly washing your face and then apply a thin layer of honey directly to the troubled area. Allow it to set on the skin for 20 minutes before rinsing clean. You’ll notice a reduction in inflammation and redness. 


Witch Hazel 

Witch hazel is known for its cleansing properties. Many people elect this as an all-natural toner. It also has soothing properties which help calm troubled skin. You can apply a small amount to the acne, and it will help reduce pain and swelling. 


Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera can work wonders on inflamed skin. Not only does it soothe, but it can promote a faster recovery. Apply the Aloe Vera to the acne, and allow it to sit for a few minutes before rinsing clean. Because Aloe Vera is pretty mild, most people can elect this treatment several times per week. 


Reduce Stress

Stress isn’t good for pregnant women for many, many reasons. Use this time to let your support system take over the work for you. Prop your feet up and give yourself much-needed rest! Reducing your stress is not only good for your body and growing baby, but it may help reduce the number of acne breakouts. 


Other Tips:

There are many other things you can do to reduce acne breakouts. Some additional tips include:

  • Change your pillowcase regularly
  • Avoid over-washing your face
  • Fight the urge to pop and pick acne
  • Avoid holding a cell phone to your face 
  • Limit how often you touch your face
  • Use non-abrasive cleanser 

 changing pillow case


Unsafe Treatments For Pregnancy Acne & Acne Products to Avoid While Pregnant

Of course, there is a laundry list of hazardous treatments that pregnant women simply can’t use because it may have an impact on the growing fetus. Here are some pregnancy acne treatments that you should absolutely avoid. 


Isotretinoin is an oral medication that has helped many people who suffer from severe acne. However, this medication is dangerous if you are pregnant because it can cause severe birth defects in a growing fetus. 

In fact, the concern is so serious that patients, doctors, pharmacists, and wholesalers are required to enroll in a special risk-management program when dealing with this product. Additionally, women who are capable of getting pregnant are asked to be on two forms of birth control for an entire month after their Isotretinoin treatment plan ends. 


Other forms of treatment that may cause birth defects include:


  • Hormone therapy 
  • Oral tetracyclines 
  • Topical retinoids 
  • Salicylic acid 


Products should have a warning label if they pose a risk to pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding. However, you should be diligent by discussing any acne treatment with your doctor prior to its use.  



Pregnancy acne can be a real drag! Especially when you just want to enjoy this moment in your life. However, many safe treatments may help curb (or even possibly cure!) those pesky bumps. Talk to your doctor to ensure that your treatment is safe for you and your growing baby! 


Office On Women's Health, Acne, December 2018.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Skin Conditions During Pregnancy, October 2018.

American Academy of Dermatology, Sunscreen FAQs, 2018.

Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, Treatment of Acne in Pregnancy, March 2016.

American Pregnancy Association, Skin Changes During Pregnancy

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  • Sheree Mcdonald
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