Effective Ways To Minimize The Appearance Of Pregnancy Acne

Pregnancy is filled with small and sometimes major discomforts — consider that even early pregnancy symptoms run the gamut. Physical symptoms can include everything from tender breasts to nausea, increased urination, cramping, spotting, food aversions, and nasal congestion (via Cleveland Clinic). You may also experience moodiness, irritability, and extreme fatigue. 

These early symptoms are typically caused by the rapidly changing hormones generated by the new pregnancy. At the same time, you are also experiencing an increased blood flow and volume. During the initial weeks of pregnancy, blood volume steadily increases. By the end, your blood volume may have increased anywhere from 20% to 100% above your regular amount before getting pregnant. 

However, the average increase is approximately 45%, per Circulation. Between the added blood volume and the increase in hormones, you may also be prone to bouts of acne. But don't fret because there are several ways to help curb breakouts caused by pregnancy.

Lifestyle changes can help ease pregnancy acne

According to What To Expect, as hormones, including androgens and progesterone, increase during early pregnancy, they cause your sebaceous glands to enlarge. Since these glands are located in the skin, when they get bigger they release more sebum, a waxy and oily substance that can block pores. This combination can bring on breakouts as a result.

Though there isn't much you can do to prevent hormones from surging, there are daily practices you can follow to keep your skin as clean as possible. Mayo Clinic suggests aiming to prevent any more oil build-up on the skin by cleaning anything that comes into contact with your skin, which will help prevent oil from building up excessively. 

So, clean your glasses regularly and be careful about wearing hats, especially when it's hot and you get sweaty. Put your pillowcases and sheets in the laundry once a week, too. Remember that your hair touches your face nearly all the time, so shampoo it often as well. In fact, if it's very oily, you can shampoo your tresses daily.

Keep your face clean but not too clean

The goal when trying to effectively treat adult acne is cleaning your skin so there is no oil build-up without overdoing it and drying it out. The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends washing your face with a gentle cleanser. Less is more, though. You might think that cleaning your face as much as possible will help, but just twice a day in the morning and night is ideal, as well as after you've been sweating, such as following a workout. 

The problem with drying out your face is that it leaves your skin in a more vulnerable state, which can make it more prone to breaking out. Along the same lines, scrubbing your face isn't the best way to build a skincare routine for acne-prone skin. It can be too abrasive and irritate delicate skin. Adore Beauty notes the best way to properly cleanse your face is to use a gentle cleanser and gingerly rub it on in a circular motion using just your (clean) fingertips.

It's important to eat clean during pregnancy too

Dietary adjustments may also help keep pregnancy acne at bay, so make sure you're getting enough fruits, vegetables, protein in the form of lean meats, and healthy fats (via Healthline). Steer clear of caffeine, carbonated drinks, processed sugar, and junk food. If you find that you're taking all the right steps, cleansing your face, cleaning everything that comes into contact with your skin, eating and drinking well, and still having breakouts, you may want to turn to topical treatments.

However, there are certain topical treatments that should never be used during pregnancy including adapalene (Differin), tazarotene (Tazorac), and tretinoin (Retin-A) and salicylic acid, per WebMD. These medications can result in birth defects in the baby. Topical treatments for acne that are believed to be the least harmful during pregnancy include benzoyl peroxide or glycolic acid. Still, before taking any medication during pregnancy, you should always check with your doctor first.