Do you ever see all those Clearasil or Oxy 10 commercials with the completely blemish free teenagers smiling broadly and telling you about how their perfect complexions were a result of the use of that product? It doesn’t seem like these over-the-counter and massively available acne solutions could be of any threat to anybody, but if you’re a pregnant woman, you should be aware of a few things. There are many acne treatments that are available and safe to use during pregnancy, many of them natural and available right in the home. On the other hand, many manufactured products should be avoided during pregnancy.
It should be noted first that some acne during pregnancy is fairly common among women. During the first trimester, as the body prepares itself to provide for two, hormone levels increase and cause a rise in the body’s oil production. The result is acne flare-ups. The good news is that this usually clears up by the second trimester as the body begins to plateau in hormone levels.
The two most common ingredients found in the majority of most acne treatments are Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. It has been tested and determined that benzoyl peroxide is safe for women to use during pregnancy. However, it has also been determined that salicylic acid that is taken orally, such as a pill, has been known to cause some birth defects and may complicate pregnancy. Women must be careful when selecting a product to use, as a product that contains benzoyl peroxide will often contain salicylic acid as well.
So what about a topical application of salicylic acid? It has not been proven that it will cause birth defects or pregnancy complications, but as a pregnant woman that knows now that salicylic acid taken orally is potentially harmful, do you really want to run that risk? Some acne treatment products that doctors have recommended pregnant women should avoid are retinoid, oral retinoid, and Accutane. Retinoid is a form of Vitamin A that can cause birth defects in unborn children. There is no evidence that retinoid taken topically is harmful, but again, why run that risk?
For the desperate new mother that is trying to treat her skin, there are a variety of safe and natural ways to fight off acne. Of course, before women begin any new treatment they should consult their physician or obstetrician. Some products that mothers can safely use topically are Echinacea, lavender essential oil, and tea tree oil. But there are also even easier things one can do to control their outbreaks. Keeping your skin clean by washing with soap and rinsing with warm water to rinse off any remaining soap that may stay and cause block-ups or break-outs is one of the easiest things to do for extra care. After your face is washed and rinsed, avoid picking or popping blemishes to prevent scarring. It should also be mentioned that diet plays an important part in controlling acne. A high fruit and vegetable ratio in a woman’s diet should be maintained throughout pregnancy to not only help keep acne more clear, but also for the baby’s proper growth and development. Apples and blueberries are both rich in antioxidants, making them very good fruits to consume for the prevention of future outbreaks.
There are also a number of “household” treatments available. A mask of warm oatmeal cooked without additional ingredients in it and applied to the face for about 15-20 minutes may begin to clear up blemishes in as little as a few days. A lemon that has been cut in half and put on acne is another possibility. Uncooked natural oatmeal, garlic, olive oil, mashed potatoes, and even warm sugar water are ways to fight blemishes and prevent new ones from forming again.
So mothers, if you find yourself going through those frustrating outbreaks during your pregnancy period, have a little patience, try to go natural, eat a healthy diet of low-fat and preservative-free foods, and stay away from all those manufactured products that claim to clear your face up in five days or less.