Franna Health

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acne before after

Acne During Pregnancy: How to Deal with skin acne

Acne during pregnancy is a common problem for most women during the first and second trimesters.

The phenomenon in pregnancy is believed to be caused by an increased level of hormones. In fact, high levels of hormones (androgens) increases the production of sebum, an oily, waxy substance from the skin.

This natural substance (sebum) can clog pores and triggers inflammation and breakout.

It is difficult to know who will have acne during pregnancy but a history of acne before or during your menstrual cycle can be a predisposing factor.

Management of acne during pregnancy can be delicate. Many acne prescription and over-the-counter treatments may have a high risk of birth defects (1).

Try at all means to avoid any medication that can harm your baby.

Here is information about pregnancy acne that can help keep you and your unborn baby safe.


Acne during pregnancy is a natural, sometimes expected condition. It generally decreases when hormone levels return to normal.

The simple and safest behavior is to avoid any acne medications or over-the-counter spot treatments. As an alternative, you can use some drug-free home remedies.

It is always good practice to consult your doctor before starting any acne treatment while pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

This way you will have good understanding of your condition and will know from doctor’s advice what action is safe for you and your baby.



Isotretinoin is an oral medication used in severe acne that has failed to respond to other treatment such as topical benzoyl peroxide, clindamycin or oral tetracyclines.

This medication can represent a serious danger when you are pregnant. The drug can affect a fetus and has been reported in studies to cause serious birth defects (1).

Risks are so high that it’s essential for any women of childbearing age who is on isotretinoin to be on two forms of birth control at least one month before they begin therapy and stay on two forms of birth control for at least one month after the end of therapy. A pregnancy test is necessary before, during, and after treatment.

Hormone therapy

Hormone therapy can also cause birth defect. This comprises estrogen, the “female” hormone and the anti-androgens flutamide and spironolactone.

Oral tetracyclines

These comprise antibiotics such as tetracycline, doxycycline and minocycline. They can inhibit bone growth and discolor teeth permanently.

Topical retinoids

Topical retinoids are type of medication used in the treatment of acne. They are seen as good choice because they work by expelling mature comedones. They decrease formation of microcomedone, and exert anti-inflammatory effects.

This includes medications similar to isotretinoin such as adapalene (Differin), tretinoin (Retin-A) and tazarotene (Tazorac).

These products should be avoided during pregnancy even though studies have shown that the quantity absorbed through the skin is little, there is a fear that they could lead to an increased risk of birth defects.

Some experts are also against the use of topical treatments containing salicylic acid for the same reason. Salicylic acid is an ingredient found in many over-the-counter products.

Other Topical Treatments

Topical products containing erythromycin or azelaic acid is suggested by some experts in the treatment of acne during pregnancy.

More options include over-the-counter products containing benzoyl peroxide or glycolic acid.

The amount of topical product that passes through the is low. Only approximately 5% of the active ingredient applied to the skin is absorbed into the body. Therefore, it is believed that such medications would not pose a bigger risk of birth defects.


Acne during pregnancy usually resolves after childbirth. therefore, the safest way to manage it is a good skin care.

Here are some drug-free methods for managing acne during pregnancy:

  • Keep your skin clean

Wash your face twice daily with warm water and a mild facial cleanser to get rid of impurities, dead skin cells, and extra oil.

Washing your face more than twice does not have much benefits. Instead it might irritate more your skin. Therefor limit yourself to twice a day.

Gently wash using a very soft cloth or your hands. Rinse well, and then dry with a clean towel

  • Regularly use Shampoo.

It is good to use shampoo daily especially if you have oily skin. Try to avoid oily hair pomade or mousse near the hairline.

  • Change your pillowcases frequently

Pillowcase can keep sweat and become a source of skin infection. So, change it regularly to keep cleanliness of your skin

  • Keep your hands away from your face

Touching your face often can spread bacteria. In addition to that, do not pop pimples because it may lead to infection and scarring.

  • Use earphones

Avoid holding your cellphone against the face. This could also facilitate spreading of bacteria and stress your skin more.

Read also: 10 Best Tips For Preventing Acne


1.Apple cider vinegar

Mix one-part unfiltered apple cider vinegar to three-parts water (distilled water) then Imbue a cotton ball with the mixture and apply to your skin to absorb oil. This will form a natural toner rich in natural enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids.

2.Citrus fruit

lemon or lime juice extracted and applied to the skin helps unblock pores and shed dead skin cells. It has astringent and antibacterial properties which makes it effective as an exfoliant. Apply directly the juice to spots with a cotton ball. Leave it to dry for up to 10 minutes then rinse with cool water.


Honey contains antibacterial and antiseptic properties. It also helps in soothing to the skin.

Start by rinsing your face with warm water then apply it directly to the affected area. Leave it on the skin for 20 to 30 minutes before you rinse with warm water.

4.Coconut oil

Apply virgin coconut oil as a substitute of a moisturizer before you go to sleep. Coconut oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It’s also soothing to the skin and can be absorbed easily.

5.Baking soda

Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of water. Apply the mixture to pimples individually. Do not apply to the entire face. Allow it to dry then wash it off.

Baking soda has the capacity to dry the oil on your skin and helps healing

These are advice we give based on experience and research. In any case we encourage you to seek advice from your doctor for a better care and safety of your baby and yourself.

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