Pregnancy Information Center

Information, Symptoms, Treatments and Resources


Acne During Pregnancy: Your Symptoms Manual


What Acne During Pregnancy Is

You may have thought you were rid of the annoyance of acne once you got through your teen years but, unfortunately, it's also a symptom you can expect when you're expecting, usually in the first trimester. Acne breakouts are red, inflamed, sometimes pus-filled bumps that pop up on your skin, especially on the face, back, chest and shoulders. 

Why Acne During Pregnancy Happens

Normal hormone levels in your body go haywire during pregnancy. You can mostly blame the increased levels of androgens your body produces, which cause the oil glands in your skin to go into overdrive. Along with dirt and dead skin cells, this excess oil can clog your pores and create an environment for acne-causing bacteria to grow, resulting in breakouts.

How to Relieve Acne During Pregnancy

  • Wash your face twice daily with a mild cleanser. Don't wash more frequently or use a drying cleanser. Washing too frequently, or with harsh products, can dry out your skin and make breakouts worse.

  • Use oil-free moisturizer, if you use any.

  • Don't squeeze or pick at your pimples, as this can worsen the problem and possibly cause scarring.

  • If you want to use over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications to help with your acne, check with your healthcare provider first. Some acne treatments — particularly isotretinoin (former brand name Accutane), which can cause serious birth defects — contain ingredients that shouldn't be used by pregnant women. If you consult a dermatologist, make sure they know you're pregnant.

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