You’re older now, settled down with your partner, maybe even bought a house.
And it’s time to start a family.
Just in time to hear back from an old friend.
You thought you left those annoying red bumps back in high school, but here they are, back with a vengeance.
Due to changes in your body, acne during pregnancy is a common issue many women have to deal with.
So what causes acne during pregnancy?
And what is the best way to treat it?
Let’s have a closer look.
What Causes Acne During Pregnancy?
Are you dealing with acne during your pregnancy?
Over 50% of pregnant women develop acne, so it may be a little comforting at least to know you’re not alone.
The reason for this has to do with increased hormone levels, especially in the first trimester.
This can cause an increase in the production of natural oils in your skin, which in turn often leads to acne.
If you have a history of acne, or flare-ups during menstruation, then you’re also more susceptible to pregnancy acne.
Try to look on the bright side – the formation of pregnancy acne means your hormones are preparing your body to support a healthy pregnancy.
Let’s have a look at what else can be done.
Why Many Medical Treatments for Acne Don’t Work during Pregnancy
There is no shortage of medical acne treatments available.
Pills, creams, even shots.
Unfortunately, many common medical treatments for acne can be harmful to the fetus.
Common oral treatments include retinoids, anti-androgen medications and oral tetracycline, but side effects of these drugs include miscarriage, birth defects, and premature birth.
Most topical creams are unlikely to be prescribed to you by your doctor as well for similar reasons.
So, without many of the conventional options, what can you do?
Keep reading for some natural solutions.
Natural Solutions for Acne during Pregnancy
What are the best ways to combat pregnancy acne with safe and natural methods?
There are a number of treatments, however it is important to remember these will only treat the symptoms, not the underlying cause (which are hormones that are good for you in pregnancy – remember?).
Let’s look at a few options:
The recommended daily allowance of Zinc during pregnancy according to the Mayo Clinic is 15mg.
Zinc can help to regulate hormone balance, and as we discussed hormone imbalance is a key cause of acne during pregnancy.
It can also help with carrying vitamin A to the skin and with the renewal of skin cells.
Zinc can usually be obtained through a proper diet – foods such as beef, pork and chicken are high in zinc.
Don’t eat meat? You can also find it in spinach, kidney and lima beans and many seeds, including flax, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
If you’re worried about deficiency you can talk to us at Annex Naturopathic about supervised supplementation.
You’ve probably heard about Omega-3 fatty acids.
But what do they actually DO?
Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and can also help control sebum production.
These can be found in wild salmon, avocado and chia seeds.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C can help with collagen formation, controlling inflammation and strengthening capillaries.
The best way to get vitamin C is through a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, including papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, oranges, strawberries, kiwi and cantaloupe.
There are also vitamin C creams, however these can sometimes have side effects including dryness and redness.
Because your skin during pregnancy will likely be more sensitive than usual, it’s a good idea to test a small amount of cream on your neck or another discreet area and wait a couple of days to ensure there’s no adverse reaction.
4. Vitamin A
Vitamin A can help stimulate skin cell grown, as well as the shedding of dead cells which can clog the pores.
Try a prenatal vitamin if you want to supplement, most will contain vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene which is safer for pregnancy.
Of course, the best source of any vitamin is always to get it naturally, through your diet.
Look for yellow, orange and leafy-green fruits and vegetables.
However, higher doses of vitamin A may lead to birth defects or other pregnancy complications, so consult with a naturopathic doctor or other qualified healthcare practitioner before you start supplementing heavily.
5. Lifestyle changes
Are you drinking enough water?
Getting enough sleep?
What about exercise?
What I’m about to say probably won’t come as a surprise, but all of these can be factors in acne (pregnancy related or not).
Aim for a minimum of eight cups of water per day.
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep (figure out what “enough” looks like for you).
If you’re experiencing high levels of stress, exercise and meditation can help.
And yes you can exercise while pregnant, you just may need to modify your routine.
Be sure to wash and replace pillow-cases and face clothes and towels a couple of times per week as well, to minimize your exposure to acne-causing bacteria.
And whatever you do – resist the urge to pop those pimples, as this can spread infection and cause scarring.
Contact Annex Naturopathic
Are you struggling with pregnancy acne?
Tried the tricks and tips given here but still putting up with unsightly spots?
Want to try a supplement but worried about doing it on your own?
Contact us at Annex Naturopathic today.
We can set up a consultation and discuss your concerns, and outline a supervised treatment plan with the goal of keeping your baby healthy and happy, and keeping you looking great.
Yours in Health,
Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND