Hopefully, it comes as no surprise that having a baby can take a lot out of the person carrying it. Growing a human being is a serious business!
Once you usher that little bundle of joy into the world, everything changes — including your hormones. With hormonal fluctuations come breakouts. Here’s how to safely treat acne while you're breastfeeding.
First, Here’s the Good News
Choosing whether or not to breastfeed your newborn is a highly personal decision based on a wide variety of factors. On the breakouts front, choosing to nurse may actually mean a decrease in acne after pregnancy, and here's why:
Most acne is caused by hormonal responses. In the simplest terms, something sets your hormones off — stress, your period, pregnancy, all that brie at Kelly's apartment — and your hormones tell your body to produce waaaay too much sebum, a.k.a. the oil that clogs up your pores and gives you zits.
When you're pregnant, your hormones rise and fall, a lot. During your first and third trimesters especially, your baby boosts your progesterone (the hormone that makes your uterus ultra-comfy for the growing baby). A surge in progesterone signals to your body that it needs to increase its sebum production ASAP. That, in turn, increase your pores' odds of getting clogged and producing pimples.
The good news is that, after you give birth, your progesterone level takes a sharp dip. What's more, it'll stay low until you start your period again, and most people don't begin menstruating again until they stop lactating. In other words, the act of breastfeeding itself may ward off post pregnancy acne.
Here's What To Do When You Get Acne After Baby Anyway
While some new mothers may experience a temporary reprieve from acne, others will get hit with breakouts head-on. This raises immediate questions: How can you zap zits when you're nursing? Can you use acne treatments when you're breastfeeding? What about antibiotics? Are they transferred to the baby through breast milk? Can I still use my favorite organic acne oil?
The short answer to most of these super relatable concerns is this: If you want to eliminate breastfeeding acne anxiety, go organic. Virtually all non-organic acne products feature components that are cause for at least a low level of concern according to research.
In other words, research hasn't determined to what degree popular pimple-preventers such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can impact your little one if you're hit with postpartum acne while nursing. The impact of these ingredients may very well be negligible, but science isn’t confident enough yet to make that call. Switching to an organic face wash, if you haven't already, makes things simple by eliminating that uncertainty!
Ultimately, if you're concerned about your acne-fighting regimen and whether or not you can use antibiotics or non-organic treatments, talk to your dermatologist. They can break down the pros and cons. If you want to skip all the fuss, hike up that super-cute nursing bra and go organic. Make it easy for yourself and baby by choosing all-natural products, checking off one less thing to worry about.