Pregnancy rashes are common – here’s how to treat them

When I was pregnant, I swear my face looked worse than it did when I was puberty. I busted all over my forehead and my chin, and I would get the absolute worse acne on my chest. As if the morning sickness and tummy itchiness weren’t bad enough, I had to look like I had fought a swarm of bees on top of that. (RIP, Thomas J.)

I never figured out how to control it because I was too preoccupied with the ingredients in acne treatments. But now, if it happened again, I would be ready. And so can you, because I spoke to a dermatologist and found out what causes acne, what’s safe, what pregnant women should look for, and what they should avoid.

Safe acne treatments for pregnancy

Why are you having fun

Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr. Robin Schaffran told Best Products, “Pregnancy acne is induced by hormonal changes during pregnancy.” Pregnancy is a hormonal soup, and unlike PMS-related flare-ups, hormones continue to function throughout your pregnancy. This is especially frustrating because options are limited when it comes to pregnancy-safe acne treatments.

what you can do

There are a few medications and ingredients you should avoid during your pregnancy, notes Schaffran. Oral medications such as Accutane or tetracycline-type medications, including doxycycline and minocycline, and topical medications such as tretinoin (Retin-A) or other retinoids are definitely off limits. Since retinoids and other vitamin A derivatives are often the first line of defense against acne breakouts, treating acne without them can feel like tying your arms behind your back.

However, whatever treatment you ultimately choose, Schaffran points out that you really should talk to your provider before using anything. Every pregnancy is different, which means therapy that might be safe for one person may not be right for someone else.

The most common ingredients

The American Academy of Dermatologists (AAD) says that some treatments are considered safer than others. However, they warn that you should be in contact with a dermatologist and your doctor at all times. The treatments I include are topical and can be purchased over-the-counter, but if you have stubborn, treatment-resistant acne during your pregnancy, you may want to consider a prescription option.

  • Azelaic acid is a compound found in certain cereals that works to soothe inflammation. The acid’s anti-inflammatory properties are particularly effective against rosacea and red, inflamed acne. It is believed to be considered safe for pregnancy.
  • Benzoyl peroxide is considered safe in limited quantities, but it’s one of the treatments you really need to discuss with your provider. It’s an antiseptic that’s used in tons of acne products, and it’s very popular. However, it is quite a powerful chemical.
  • Salicylic acid is the main ingredient in aspirin, and although you can’t take aspirin while you’re pregnant, topical use of its anti-inflammatory chemical sibling is generally considered safe in small amounts.
  • Highly diluted lavender, citric acid and mint in facial cleansers or moisturizers can reduce oiliness and redness in the skin.
  • Sulfur works the same way as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, but it’s milder and safer.
  • Chamomile cools and soothes the skin, working to reduce redness and puffiness.

You can also try non-medicated hydrocolloid patchesthat suck out fluids and bacteria from superficial pimples.

Additionally, more and more acne treatments — like the hugely popular ClearBalm and Truly — contain CBD. This is a very gray area when it comes to safety, as CBD is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and studies on its use during pregnancy are limited. There just isn’t enough data to determine whether it’s safe or not.

That being said, below are our most reliable pregnancy-safe acne treatments.

Comments are closed.