Pregnancy Safe Acne Treatment Explained

You knew you'd have to make some dietary changes during your pregnancy, eliminating unsafe items such as alcohol, deli meats and soft cheeses. But did you know that some ingredients in common skin care and acne products should also be avoided when you're having a baby? Many womxn find that hormonal changes lead to breakouts as soon as they become pregnant and persist throughout the pregnancy.

These tried and true recommendations of pregnancy-safe acne products will help keep your skin clear and preserve that glowing complexion for nine months and beyond!

First up: Pregnancy-safe face wash for acne-prone skin

Many ingredients in common over-the-counter acne medications haven’t been cleared by the FDA for use during pregnancy. Most dermatologists agree that the best face wash while pregnant is a gentle cleanser that won't irritate sensitive skin or clog pores. Glycolic acid, a type of alpha hydroxy acid, is a safe way to even skin tone and combat the uneven complexion that may arise during pregnancy (a condition known as melasma).

Many pregnant women appreciate the soothing sensation and effective cleansing of an all natural face wash. Plant extracts like lavender, chamomile and grapefruit extract soothe redness and fight back against blemishes without irritating the skin or affecting your baby's development! Lotions and creams containing azelaic acid are deemed safe to use by the FDA and remove keratin buildup that can exacerbate acne, providing another option for a pregnancy safe facial cleanser.

Next up: Pregnancy-safe acne spot treatment

Because the Food and Drug Administration has performed only limited testing of how topical skin care ingredients affect pregnancy, it can be challenging to find safe acne products labeled as pregnancy safe.

Look for an all-natural spot treatment that works while you sleep, such as this highly rated clean acne oil with nourishing and hydrating ingredients like blue tansy, rosehip and other gentle botanicals. Hydrocolloid bandages, which draw out bacteria, can be placed on top as long as they don't contain salicylic acid.

Products to avoid

Before trying to conceive, cross these dangerous acne-fighting items off your list:

  • Accutane and other oral medications used to treat cystic blemishes. The high vitamin A content in these formulas can affect your baby's development in the womb.
  • Tetracycline, an antibiotic sometimes prescribed by dermatologists to fight acne-causing bacteria. This substance can cross the placenta and impact healthy bone development.
  • Topical acne medications rich in vitamin A. Ingredients to avoid include retinol, prescription retinoids and hydroquinone.
  • Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, commonly found in over-the-counter spot treatments. Some dermatologists say it’s safe to use this type of acne treatment during pregnancy, while others say only small amounts of these ingredients are recommended.
  • Parabens, synthetic chemicals used in cosmetics, are of unknown safety during pregnancy. For this reason, you should avoid products that contain these sometimes-harsh ingredients. 

The bottom line? While you're expecting, stick to pregnancy safe acne treatments! Talk to your doctor if you're not sure whether a specific skin care product is OK to use. As with all skin care products, do a spot test for allergies before adding a formula to your everyday regimen.