The World of Pregnancy

Acne While Pregnant: What Drugs Are Forbidden & What Is Allowed?

Acne during pregnancy produces confusion regarding proper treatment, because most drugs for this condition aren`t allowed while pregnant. Let`s find out more regarding what medications are forbidden in treating acne during pregnancy and how to proceed in treating it.

Acne During Pregnancy

What Is Acne?

Acne is characterized by reddish or purulent spots which might occur on the face, at hair`s base, neck, breasts and even buttocks, and is generally caused by the infection of the follicles and sebaceous glands. Even if you didn`t face this issue since adolescence, find that while expecting a baby this may occur first of all due to the explosion of hormones (especially progesterone which determine sebaceous glands to increase the secretion of sebum), and then due to the increase amount of liquids retained in the organism (some of these liquids may contain toxins that may lead to acne). Statistically speaking, 1 out of 2 pregnant women confronts with this issue. Moreover, among the excess of sebum (oily substance on the skin), the pores can block themselves (due to the destruction of the epidermis cells which support the follicles of the hair), becoming this way more prone to bacterial infections. Acne while pregnant can be mild, moderate or very serious and, surprisingly, sometimes may be less obvious than before pregnancy.

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It was noticed that a lot of pregnant women confront themselves with acne, especially during the first trimester, after which the signs diminish and, fortunately, the skin returns to normal (only if you didn`t experienced acne before pregnancy). Although it can be quite disturbing, acne isn`t dangerous in any way and, therefore it doesn`t require emergency treatment, as we can only talk about affecting facial aesthetics.

Diagnosis of Acne while Pregnant

Although most people first turn to a dermatologist, you should know that sometimes an endocrinologist`s examination is necessary, because hormonal imbalances may also cause this condition. Generally speaking, a microbiological examination is made (to exclude folliculitis with gram-positive or gram-negative germs), then the endocrine evaluation (if the doctor suspects a hyperandrogen) and even a pelvic ultrasound (polycystic ovaries are often associated) and hormonal dosing (to show any hormonal imbalances or ovarian malformations).

What Drugs Are Forbidden?

Unfortunately, a lot of the oral or topical drugs that are on the market aren`t allowed during pregnancy. Among these, we include:

  • Isotretinoin (known as Accutane) which was correlated with lots of birth defects as well as risk of miscarriage. – Read this!
  • Topical retinoids (Retin-A, Differin or Tazorac). Although it isn`t known their exact effects during pregnancy, they aren`t recommended during these 9 months (or during breastfeeding), because they are a vitamin A derivative (research show that high doses of vitamin A can be harmful for an unborn child. Due to this reason, experts suggest caution when using these creams.
  • Hormonal therapy, which consists of estrogen and anti-androgenic medications. Spironolactone, cirpoterone, flutamide, acetate, because it`s usually done when acne is caused by ovarian issues and consists of contraception (obviously contraindicated while pregnant).
  • Oral tetracyclines (such as doxycycline, tetracycline and minocycline), because they might interfere with the normal bone development of the fetus, as well as teeth discoloration. Actually, no other antibiotic should be used during pregnancy, if the doctor didn`t agree to it.
  • Salicylic acid appears in the composition of some products for treating acne, such as cleaning and tonic lotions that may penetrate the facial oils into the pores to eliminate dead cells. Its derived form, BHA or beta hydroxybutyric acid, used in exfoliation lotions isn`t also recommended, especially in the oral version, because it may cause complications during pregnancy and birth defects. If you opt for exfoliation, talk to a professional (or a dermatologist) because applying the exfoliation lotions with salicylic acid is similar to the administration of some Aspirin pills (which aren`t recommended while expecting a baby).

What Is Allowed?

Sometimes, doctors prescribe topical treatments which include azelaic acid, benzonyl peroxide or glycolic acid , because it seems that only 5% from the active substance is absorbed by the organism and they cannot lead to birth abnormalities.

Experts indicate especially in cleaning gently the areas with water issues and soap or non-abrasive cleaning lotion (not scrub or lotions containing alcohol) and drying by gently pressing with tampons, because the issue may worsen. However, don`t wash excessively (2 or 3 times per day maximum), because you may over-stimulate sebaceous glands. Also, the hair is best to clean it regularly, and if you have an oily texture, even on a daily basis, using a product for constant usage.

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You should avoid hair foam or gel, especially near the base of the hair fibers. If you choose to use a moisturizing lotion or cream, check not to be a oily one. When cosmetics are concerned, you should follow the existence of or non-acneic or non-comedogenic labels and ensure that you get rid of all your make-up before going to bed.

Don`t try to scrub, scrape or squeeze the acne lesions, because you may cause a bacterial supraproliferare, and you may get scars (you`ll only get rid of the upper layer and the glands will try to replace it). If you have blocked pores, talk to a professional.

Regarding the hygiene, you should be careful not to touch the areas where your acne is with dirty hands as you may contaminate them with bacteria, change the pillowcases and towels often and clean the smartphone every chance you get, because they all represent bacterial sources. Last but not least, get enough rest, because stress may lead to skin problems (by affecting the endocrine and nervous systems) and opt for a well balanced diet. Although in the present it wasn`t made a connection between acne and diet, if you give up refined products fats and junk foods, both your body and baby will benefit from the necessary nutrients required for a healthy life.

Image courtesy of behealthy24.com
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