Not surprisingly, acne is the number one skin concern during pregnancy. Acne is caused by multiple factors, one of them being excess sebum production. When hormones in the body surge, as they do during pregnancy, this gives a green light for oil production. The frustrating thing is that many acne skincare products and treatments are contraindicated during pregnancy. This means they are thought to present potential harm to the fetus and should be avoided. Many prescription medications, including topical retinoids and oral tetracyclines are off the list during pregnancy, as are over the counter ingredients salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. So what can you feel safe using and doing during pregnancy to prevent breakouts? Here’s a look:
OTC Acne Ingredients You Can Use During Pregnancy
All medications, even OTC medications, should be reviewed by your OB/GYN prior to using while pregnant or breastfeeding. One of the most common acne OTC medications, salicylic acid, is not recommended for use in pregnancy. However, lactic acid, green tea, sulfur and tea tree oil are considered safer to use during pregnancy. Benzoyl peroxide, the most commonly used OTC medicine for acne is “category C” which means its safety has not been tested in pregnancy, so we usually recommend avoiding it.
Prescription Medications You Can Use During Pregnancy
Some prescription medications, labeled “category B” for pregnancy, are considered safe to use while you are pregnant. Topical azelaic acid and topical clindamycin are both in this category and are used safely and successfully in our pregnant patient population for the treatment of acne. However, it is best to check with your obstetrician prior to using any medications while you are pregnant.
An In-Office Acne Treatment You Can Feel Safe About During Pregnancy
Isolaz is an in-office treatment that deeply cleans the pores with a gentle suction combined with a light that kills the acne bacteria. Isolaz is a quick and pain-free procedure. Most patients have no downtime, though some patients may be mildly “rosy” after the treatment. This can easily be covered with makeup Bruising is side effect that can occur but is quite rare. Isolaz treatments do not make your skin more sensitive to the sun and you may continue your normal skin care routine, even on the day of the treatment. It is our opinion that the Isolaz is safe for pregnant patients, as the light only penetrates a few millimeters below the skin. LED light is also safe for use during pregnancy; we often recommend a combination of these treatments for our pregnant patients. Always check with you OB/GYN to make sure that they approve of all light-based therapies