Pregnancy, a wonderful time in your life. You wait with anticipation for the birth of your baby. You have that ‘glow’. Your skin looks radiant. Ummm…… how come my skin did not get that memo? Pregnancy can definitely give you that glow, but unfortunately for many expectant mothers, pregnancy can sometimes trigger acne for the first time or see it return after a long absence. For those of us who experience hormonal acne with each menstrual cycle, pregnancy can really exacerbate our acne.
Before we look at how we can treat pregnancy acne, let’s first look at why it happens. The first and second trimesters (week 6 through to week 27) are when pregnancy related acne is at its worst. The main reason for this is the increase in hormones present in the body. Androgens are one such hormone that increases, it causes the glands in our skin to grow, producing more sebum. Problems occur when the sebum or oil blocks our pores, making it an ideal climate for bacteria and acne. Another reason why our acne increases during pregnancy is that we have stopped taking the pill. Many estrogen-progestin birth control pills not only provide birth control, but reduce the severity or even eliminate acne. Now that we are no longer regulating these hormones, they are wreaking havoc on our skin.
The good news is that ‘this too shall pass’, although you are forgiven for thinking it is taking way too long. So, what can we do while we are going through this phase?
- Don’t squeeze! I know. It is just begging for you to pop it. But resist! You will end up with a scar and your skin will take longer to heal.
- Drink plenty of water and reduce your caffeine and sugary drinks.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Reduce sugar and highly processed foods such as refined grains and saturated fats. I know this is really, really hard, especially when you are battling cravings with pregnancy. I craved Napoleon cake, pizza and eggnog so much during my first pregnancy. My poor husband was sent on food trips at all hours of the night.
- Cleanse your skin morning and night with mild cleanser that is soap free.
- Exfoliate your skin, but do not over it. You do not want to damage your skin barrier and create inflammation and a whole new set of problems.
- Moisturise your skin. If it is dry, it will produce more oil and more acne!
- Wash your hair more regularly, especially if it is oily and keep it off your face if you can.
- Consider washing linen, pillowcases, face clothes and towels more regularly. This will reduce bacterial spread.
- Likewise, avoid touching your face.
- Become a label reader. Look for non-comedogenic and non-acnegenic product labels for your face and hair.
- Make sure you remove any makeup and sunscreen before going to bed.
- Make sure you inform all specialists involved in the treatment of your skin that you are pregnant or trying to fall pregnant.
- Manage stress and fatigue. Research is uncovering more evidence connecting stress and acne.
- Make informed decisions. There is so much misinformation out there.
You do not need to suffer in silence with pregnancy acne. With your commitment and the skin herbalist’s therapists knowledge of skin and ingredients, together you can relieve your symptoms and achieve healthy skin. Book an appointment with The Skin Herbalists. They will leave no stone unturned and your skin will thank you for it.