Keep that glow! Do's & Don'ts for Acne in Pregnancy
I have had several people ask me, "What can I use during pregnancy? I am breaking out!!"
First off, congratulations!! Your body goes through innumerable changes during pregnancy to prepare for bringing a new life into the world. Your hormones change - and consequently pregnancy acne is all too common. Many of the traditional acne medications (most antibiotics & topicals, and some hormonal medications) are contraindicated and should be avoided. Often, patients are told - come back after you have your baby, and we can treat you!
I know that is frustrating to hear.
It's important to understand the FDA nomenclature: Category A & B are okay, C, D & X should be avoided.
Category A: Controlled studies show no risk or find no evidence of harm. Think of these as SAFE for pregnant women in studies.
Category B: Animal studies show no risks, but there are no studies in pregnant women. Still thought to be safe.
Category C: Animal studies showed a risk, but this has not been shown in humans! AKA --> use with caution during pregnancy if benefits outweigh risks
Category D: Avoid!!! Human studies show a potential risk (but medications can be used, if life threatening).
Category X: Studies show a DEFINITE RISK. MEDICATION IS CONTRAINDICATED.
There's also, Category N - These are drugs that have not been classified by the FDA.
Here's what to AVOID:
- Tetracycline antibiotics (doxycycline, minocycline)
- All retinoids (retinol, tretinoin) - these are pregnancy category X!
** Note: 1-2% Benzoyl peroxide to spot treat can be okay to use. I wouldn't use it all day, every day.**
Here's what is SAFE:
- Topical azelaic acid ** more to come on this!
- Certain antibiotics (if necessary): penicillins, cephalosporins, azithromycin
- Topical clindamycin & erythromycin can be used. Keep in mind we don't love using them alone, due to risk of resistance!
- Oral probiotics! Yes - it has been shown to help decrease inflammatory acne!
- Masks! Clay or Mud masks
- Spot treat with lemon (I personally love turmeric!).
Cold chamomile or green tea bags are amazing to decrease inflammation quickly!
- Vitamin C serum, niacinamide, antioxidants --> CE Ferulic acid by Skinceuticals or Phloretin CF
Unstudied products: Category N
- Charcoal washes
- Tea tree oil - use sparingly in the 3rd trimester! (Due to reports of decreasing contraction strength.)
Here's what can be used in limited areas / duration:
- Benzoyl peroxide containing topicals - pregnancy C
- Salicylic acid topicals
- Tea tree oil
- Glycolic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid)
**Note these should be used in small amounts!**
Other Key Reminders! - Dietary suggestions:
- Limiting sugar intake & processed foods should always be considered!
- For some: dairy is pro-inflammatory.
- Eat the rainbow -- blueberries, walnuts, green veggies, etc!
- Healthy fats are so crucial
- Make sure you're on your prenatal multivitamin!
- Stay hydrated as well!!
- Rest, sleep, meditate!
- Mindful exercise & movement!
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Let's get glowing!