Pregnancy Acne: Managing Changes to Your Skin While Nursing or Pregnant
Whether you’re a regular at the dermatologist’s office or seeking a first treatment, if you’re pregnant or nursing, you might want to hold off.
Many women experience changes to their skin during pregnancy and breastfeeding. These changes can include hyperpigmentation, acne, growths, and varicose veins. Frequently, these changes will send women to seek treatments from a skincare specialist.
We dermatologists take special precautions to consider the welfare of both the patient and the baby during pregnancy. While some procedures are perfectly safe, others should be put off until after delivery.
So what’s safe for expectant mothers and what should be avoided? Keep reading to learn more about some of the frequently asked skincare questions we receive from pregnant and nursing women.
How Should I Treat Pregnancy Acne?
As a result of the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, up to 45% of pregnant women experience increased levels of acne. Occasionally, it may be the first time you experience acne to such a degree. But if a breakout has you headed towards the pharmacy in search of an over-the-counter acne treatment, you might want to visit your dermatologist first.
Surprisingly, many over-the-counter acne products contain ingredients which are considered “Category C” in pregnancy, which means that research has not yet determined whether they are safe for pregnant women to use. These ingredients include salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, both of which are incredibly common in everyday acne treatments.
Thus, if you’re experiencing pregnancy acne, it’s best to see a dermatologist for recommendations on which acne products are safe for you to use. Your dermatologist may suggest one of the following treatments for pregnancy acne:
Topical antibiotics like clindamycin or erythomycin:
- Topical chemical exfoliants like glycolic or azelaic acids
- Regular facials and extractions performed by a dermatologist
As your hormones change throughout your pregnancy and after giving birth, your skin will continue to change. Your doctor can help you to design a skincare routine that’s effective yet safe.
What Skincare Ingredients Should I Avoid During Pregnancy?
There are several other product ingredients that should be completely avoided during pregnancy and nursing, and even while trying to conceive. Many people don’t realize this, but any ingredients you apply to your skin can seep into your bloodstream and interact with your baby’s development.
Vitamin A derivatives are a common cautioned-against ingredient, since they have been associated with defects. Propoular skin products formulated with vitamin A derivatives include Retin-A, Tazorac, Renova, and Accutane. We also recommend avoiding tetracycline, minocycline, and doxycycline, as these may cause permanent skin and teeth discoloration.
Can I Get Botox and Fillers While Pregnant or Breastfeeding?
One question that frequently comes up is whether fillers and Botox-like products such as Dysport and Xeomin are safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding. The safety of fillers and other injectables on pregnant or breastfeeding women has not been established. Thus, they are generally not recommended.
That said, hyaluronic filler products like Restylane, Juvederm, or Belotero are technically safe as they are simply sugar-based compounds. However, in general, we recommend that new and expectant mothers hold off on all cosmetic procedures until after delivery or breastfeeding has ceased. If you have your heart set on these procedures, we recommend that you consult with your obstetrician first. In our opinion, since we don’t know whether they are 100% safe, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
Can You Have Other Dermatology Treatments While Pregnant or Breastfeeding?
Similarly, microdermabrasion, chemical peels and laser, ultrasound, and radiofrequency type facial procedures should also be avoided while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
While there’s no strong evidence to suggest that these procedures are harmful to either mother or baby, these procedures can have adverse effects to the skin. During pregnancy, women are more likely to develop post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and keloid scarring. Thus, dermatologists cannot promise that these treatments will have the same positive results for pregnant women as they might before or after pregnancy.
Due to the lack of studies, we recommend scheduling any elective dermatological treatments until post-pregnancy. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry and you and the baby are more important than any cosmetic treatment. We also recommend consulting with your dermatologist to develop a safe skincare routine, especially if you’re experiencing pregnancy acne. When in doubt, ask your obstetrician for their advice.
At Sadick Dermatology, we know that many women want to look and feel their best, no matter what stage of life or experience. Since pregnancy can provide new challenges to skincare, it’s best not to guess or go it alone. Schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified dermatologists to develop a plan specific to your needs. We’re here to help. Sadick Dermatology has some of the best dermatologists in NYC. Call us at 212-772-7242 and one of our highly-experienced staff will be pleased to assist you.