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Acne During Pregnancy

Most people think of acne as being a skin problem that affects teenagers and young adults, but more mature adults can also suffer from skin outbreaks too, even women who are pregnant. In fact, acne during pregnancy isn’t uncommon, and it’s a more challenging condition to treat since some acne medications are off limits to pregnant women. It’s best to use products that have been tested and found to be safe for use during pregnancy.

What Causes It?

Pregnancy causes fluctuations in hormones called androgens. Androgens stimulate sebaceous glands that lie inside hair follicles to produce more sebum. Sebum is a sticky substance that when overproduced causes skin cells that are normally sloughed off to stick together. This clogs the hair follicle allowing bacteria take up residence inside the clogged follicle. When the bacteria feed on the sebum and dead skin cells, it triggers an inflammatory reaction that leads to an acne outbreak.

Pregnancy with all of its hormonal changes has an unpredictable effect on acne. In some women who had acne before becoming pregnant, the symptoms improve, but other women have more frequent outbreaks during pregnancy. Pregnancy can even trigger outbreaks in women who had clear skin before. Instead of getting glowing skin during pregnancy, some women get a face full of pimples.


Treatment is more challenging during pregnancy because some prescription medications such as antibiotics and retinoids are off limits because they can harm a developing baby. Even topical products like creams and gels are absorbed to some degree, so it pays to know what you’re putting on your face. Fortunately, there are simple ways to reduce the risk of further outbreaks safely.

Start with the right cleansing regimen. Wash twice a day with warm water and a mild cleanser. Belli Acne Cleansing Facial Wash is a cleanser that gently purifies and exfoliates dead surface skin cells without over drying. Most importantly, it’s formulated for the special needs of pregnant women and has been carefully screened to ensure it contains no ingredients that could harm a developing baby. It’s a brand frequently recommended by obstetricians for their pregnant patients.

Even if you have acne, there are areas such as around your eyes that need moisture. Belli Healthy Glow Hydrator is a light hydrating moisturizer formulated with botanicals to nourish and protect skin. It’s also tested and deemed to be safe to use during pregnancy.

Some experts believe that ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acids commonly used to treat acne are safe, but they haven’t been thoroughly tested in humans. Why take the chance? Talk to your doctor before using any products on your skin with the exception of brands carrying products that have already been tested and approved for use during pregnancy.

Choose cosmetics that are oil-free and non-comedogenic, and always thoroughly remove any make-up or face products before going to bed at night. Avoid picking at acne bumps, and don’t try to pop existing pimples. This increases the risk of scarring and won’t cause them to heal any faster. Keep your hands away from your face as much as possible to avoid making an outbreak worse.

The good news? Once you’ve delivered and your hormones return to non-pregnant levels, those pesky bumps and pustules will probably disappear if you didn’t have acne before. Even if you did, you’ll probably have fewer outbreaks once your hormone levels stabilize. If you still have problems after delivery, there are other treatments that can help. Until then, keep it simple and safe.

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