Pregnancy can induce acne breakouts or make pre-existing adult acne even worse; however some women who have acne-prone skin claim a decrease in outbreaks of acne during pregnancy. Increased levels of androgens are at least partially responsible for breakouts because they cause the sebaceous glands (found in the inner layer of the epidermis) to become bigger; and this boosts production of oily substances, called sebum.
This added sebum, combined with shedding skin cells lining the hair follicles, block your pores, thus creating an environment where bacteria can rapidly proliferate. All this can potentially lead to the irritation, inflammation and eruptions of acne.
Usually, the spike in hormones occur during the very first trimester, so if you do not develop acne in these first three months, it is unlikely that you'll have breakout issues during the succeeding trimesters. Fortunately, thus subsides once hormone ranges come back to normal.
There is no way to avoid this problem, but there are some general interventions that may help:
• Do not pop, rub, or squeeze your pimples (this aggravates the problem and can lead to scarring).
• Gently wash with a mild cleanser or soap twice a day.
• Instead of rubbing your skin, it is more advisable to pat it dry.
• Do not use a washcloth to scrub your face, because that can cause further skin irritation. Use your hands instead to gently clean up your face.
• If you wear makeup or use moisturizers, use water-based products rather than oil-based ones. It should also be labeled "non-acnegenic" or "non-comedogenic" meaning, they will not clog up your pores and trigger breakouts. Make sure you wash your makeup off completely before going to sleep, too.
• Refrain from resting your face on your hands because this can trap sweat and oil.
• Eat colorful organic fruits and vegetables.
• Choose whole grains and cut back on refined grains and sugar. Small portions of dark chocolate is allowed (darker varieties are better).
• Do not consume saturated fats. Eat skin-boosting healthy fats such as almonds, walnuts, salmon, and avocado.
• Increase your dietary consumption of vitamin A (i.e. milk, carrots, eggs, and fish). But avoid vitamin A supplements because its excess has been proven to result in birth defects.
Consult with your health care provider before using medicated lotions or gels. What you apply on your skin is absorbed into your body's bloodstream. Hence, even topical medications are potentially harmful to your baby. Generally speaking, you should stay away from all medications that you do not absolutely need throughout the course of pregnancy. This includes seemingly harmless OTC (over-the-counter) medications as well as chemical spot therapies. Topical acne medications are still safer when compared to oral acne medications though, because only about 5% of the topical ointment or cream is absorbed into your body.
Two commonly prescribed topical medications are azelaic acid (Azelex, Finacea) and erythromycin (Erygel).
Over-the-counter drugs containing glycolic acid and benzoyl peroxide are often an alternative choice, but quite a few topical products have not been thoroughly studied when used by pregnant women, so make sure you consult your health care provider before initiating any acne treatment. A few medications, such as tretinoin, isotretinoin, oral tetracyclines, tazarotene, adapalene, salicylic acid specifically, have a potentially high risk of causing birth defects to both the developing fetus and a baby which is being breastfed.
Remember that being pregnant is not all bad for the skin. Even though you may need to endure some new blemishes of acne during pregnancy, once you retain more water and circulate more blood, you may discover that your complexion has become more radiant than in the past.