Acne is influenced by hormones, so it’s no surprise that pregnancy or postpartum may come with pimples as hormones fluctuate. However, contrary to popular belief, many of the tools you normally use to manage acne can still be used while pregnant and breastfeeding. Whether you have experience dealing with breakouts or are combatting blemishes for the very first time, here are some tips and routine suggestions to keep in mind.
Keep it simple
In general, the more basic the better. Use your favorite gentle cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen. Pregnant or not, consistency in your routine is always crucial, so pick a routine you can realistically stick to. Once you have your basics, add in one or two acne-fighting products best suited for your skin. Talk to your doctor to determine the best frequency of use.
In terms of your routine, the actual order of application won’t change when you’re pregnant (ex: cleanser first, moisturizer/spf last). The biggest difference will probably be during your treatment step, especially if you’ve previously been using retinoids.
Outside of products, remember your other acne-fighting tools: using clean washcloths, regularly changing pillowcases, icing to ease discomfort and swelling, washing your face with lukewarm water and no picking. Make sure you have a good supply of pimple patches!
What to stop using
You should always talk to your doctor about the products you have or are considering using, but the following are generally agreed upon to avoid:
- All retinoids (oral, prescription topical and over the counter)
- Alpha arbutin (precursor to hydroquinone)
- Salicylic acid over 2%
- High concentrations of benzoyl peroxide
What you can keep using
Azelaic Acid is one of the most commonly used and effective products for managing acne while pregnant. Ask your doctor or esthetician for a recommendation.
In addition, the following are generally permitted:
- AHAs (lactic, glycolic, mandelic etc.)
- Salicylic acid under 2% if cleared by your doctor
- Low concentrations of benzoyl peroxide
- Antioxidants, like vitamin C
- Tranexamic acid
- LED device if cleared by your doctor
Again, always consult with your doctor and make decisions based on your comfort level.