Pregnancy Acne: What Are The Best Treatment Options?


What is Pregnancy Acne?

Acne during pregnancy is a common problem. Often, skin breakouts occur as a result of hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy.

Acne sores can usually be prevented, and emotional distress can be kept at bay by knowing how to treat them. One of the most widespread skin changes that occur during pregnancy is acne.

There are home remedies and prescription acne medications available. Still, one can be concerned about the risks of using them while pregnant.

In this article, we will discuss how to deal with acne when pregnant. We will also discuss why the acne takes place, skincare dos and don’ts, and whether it is a sign of pregnancy.

Why Does Pregnancy Acne Take Place?

According to a study, women who are prone to breakouts during their menstrual cycles have a higher chance of having pregnancy acne.

Testosterone and androstenedione, both of which are androgens, are the hormones responsible for acne. Androgen levels rise dramatically during the first trimester of pregnancy and continue to grow throughout the pregnancy.

An increase in androgens often causes skin’s glands to expand and create more sebum, an oily, waxy material. This oil has the potential to block pores, resulting in germs, skin irritation, and acne outbreaks.

Pregnancy and postpartum acne, fortunately, are mainly temporary. When the hormones return to normal, they should clear up.

Treatments For Pregnancy Acne

Acne treatments initially aim to reduce sebum production and unclog clogged pores. They get treated with prescribed acne medicines or natural and homemade remedies.

Let’s first take a look at some natural and homemade treatments for pregnancy acne:

Natural And Homemade Remedies

The following are some natural and homemade treatment options to combat pregnancy acne:

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a general name for a group of compounds known as retinoids. Retinoids are essential for various biological processes, which includes:

  • Immune function
  • Eyesight
  • Reproduction
  • Cell communication

Acne symptoms can get reduced, and new acne sores can get avoided using local retinoids. Above all, they are still the most used acne therapy.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some retinoid medicines can cause congenital disabilities. Therefore, it is advised that women should see a doctor before using these during pregnancy.

Vitamin A is found in several food sources, including:

  • Cow (beef) liver
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Fish such as tuna, herring, and salmon
  • Vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, sweet potato, and carrot
  • Fruits like cantaloupe and apricot
  • Fortified dairy products


Honey has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial components that may aid in the treatment of acne. It may be used as a spot therapy for acne lesions by applying it directly to the sores. Even better, it also soothes the skin.

For applying, one should clean their face with warm water. After that, directly apply honey to the afflicted region. Allow the honey to sit on your skin for 20 to 30 minutes. Use lukewarm water to rinse.

One can also prepare a face mask by combining honey with a few lavender oils or lemon juice drops.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a popular natural home cure and food condiment. It is high in probiotic microorganisms and has several health benefits. Some of these may be appealing to pregnancy acne.

To use ACV as a treatment for pregnancy acne, add one part raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to three parts distilled water. It will result in a toner high in naturally occurring enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids.

For the oil to absorb, soak a cotton ball in the diluted apple cider vinegar mixture and apply it to your skin.

It is critical to dilute the apple cider vinegar with distilled water, and this method should be terminated if severe dryness occurs.

Keep in mind, undiluted vinegar is highly corrosive and can cause burns on the skin. Additionally, pasteurized apple cider vinegar is the safest to use. Even better, it is also safe and inexpensive, making it a reliable option for the treatment of pregnancy acne.


Zinc is a mineral that is required for protein synthesis and cell division. According to a study, pregnant or breastfeeding women are at a higher risk of having zinc insufficiency.

The NIH (National Institutes of Health) recommends a regular zinc consumption of 11–13 milligrams (mg) for pregnant or lactating women.

Zinc deficiency has the following health risks:

  • Reduced immunological function
  • Lack of appetite
  • Delayed sexual maturation
  • Hair loss
  • Diarrhoea
  • Skin lesions

Bonus Tip: A topical acne therapy that combines erythromycin and zinc acetate is more effective than an erythromycin-only gel.

Acne sufferers can utilize zinc-containing acne remedies or consume zinc-rich foods such as:

  • Oysters
  • Meat (including beef, pork, and chicken)
  • Shellfish
  • Beans, nuts, and seeds
  • Yoghurt

Now, let us take a dive into medicines that are often prescribed for pregnancy acne:


Many acne treatments contain salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that aids in acne treatment by dissolving dead skin that clogs pores. Whereas benzoyl peroxide kills acne-causing bacteria while also cleaning pores of excess oil and dead skin cells.

Pregnant women can use treatments containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide without risk. These chemicals, however, can cause skin issues.

According to a study, the following two prescribed acne medicines can raise the risk of congenital disabilities and pregnancy complications:

  • Isotretinoin
  • Oral tetracyclines

It is better to take the doctor’s advice and follow the medicines they will prescribe.

Dos and Don’ts for Skincare Routine During Pregnancy:

The following pointers should give you a clear understanding of what to do and what to not do while treating your skin during pregnancy.


Avoid Scrubbing:

It is advised not to scrub the face since it dries the skin out and leaves it behind with no natural oils. Instead, aim for gentle exfoliation.

Mildly cleanse skin in a circular motion with your hands or a soft washcloth. Thoroughly wash and rinse. Pat dry the skin rather than rubbing it, then apply a light, oil-free moisturizer.

Avoid Over-washing your Face:

Excessive washing of your skin loses its natural moisture. The same can lead to an increase in oil production and make you more susceptible to breakouts. Bubbling water can also cause the skin to dry out.

In the morning, at night, and after excessive sweating, it is advised to use a gentle, soap-free cleanser with cold or lukewarm water.


  • Change your pillowcases and towels regularly.
  • Touching your face, which might introduce bacteria, should be avoided.
  • Wash your hair regularly, especially if it is oily, and keep it away from your face.
  • Use oil-free makeup that states “non-comedogenic” or “non-acnegenic.” Moreover, before going to bed, make sure to remove all of your makeup.
  • Drink filtered water to keep your skin moisturized. Avoid carbonated beverages and excessive caffeine consumption.

Bonus Read: Click here to know about the foods that need to be avoided during pregnancy.

Is Acne An Indication Of Pregnancy?

Acne is a highly prevalent and recurring skin disease. It develops in the majority of people throughout puberty and improves following adolescence. Adult acne affects many others, and the prevalence of this form of acne is increasing.

The increased amounts of such hormones during pregnancy explain the emergence of fresh breakouts. The following are acne types that may occur during pregnancy:

  • Blackheads
  • Whiteheads
  • Pimples
  • Blemishes

Only a blood/urine test or an ultrasound can confirm pregnancy. However, the hormones that cause acne begin to surge soon after implantation. As a result, acne is one of the first indications of pregnancy.

Remember, hormonal acne is prevalent in many women who are not pregnant. Thus, it has limited diagnostic utility.

Is Acne Common During Pregnancy?

For many people, the “pregnancy glow” quickly fades into tiny irritating pimples. Others, on the other hand, can attain terms without ever having to deal with it. Some deal with skin conditions that even improve during pregnancy.

If you have a history of acne and outbreaks that coincide with your monthly cycle, then you might suffer from acne during pregnancy. It’s just how the bodies react to these chemicals.


Pregnancy is a period of intense emotions. A woman is going through a difficult time in her life. It’s difficult to watch your body change so quickly, and acne makes matters worse. Even before missing menstruation, acne can be one of the earliest indications of pregnancy.

Although the emergence of acne is typical and has no bearing on the baby’s health, it impacts the mother’s mental health. As a result, it is critical to understand what is and is not typical during this period. You can better care for your health this way.


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