Updated: Apr 24, 2019
Acne is common during pregnancy. In fact, more than one out of every two pregnant women can expect to develop acne. In some cases, the acne can be very severe.
It’s thought that pregnancy hormones might increase the skin’s production of oil. The oil builds up and clogs the pores, attracts bacteria and causes that dreaded acne. You might spot smallish, reddish bumps, or you might get the ones that are white and pus-filled. They’re not fun — but at least you're in good company. Breaking out is really common during pregnancy. Sure, some moms-to-be get that “pregnancy glow,” but plenty of others get pregnancy zits.
Bad acne can be treated with antibiotic lotions, for example, erythromycin or clindamycin lotions. Do not use tretinoin (Retin-A) cream during pregnancy, as it is known to cause multiple malformations in the baby.
Treatments for pregnancy acne
Wash your face with a gentle cleanser. Try using a mild soap and warm water morning and night. You may want to skip the facial scrubs, astringents and masks, since they tend to irritate the skin and can make your acne worse.
Shampoo regularly. If you're noticing acne pop up around your hairline, shampoo your hair every day.
Avoid irritants. Stay away from oily or greasy cosmetics, sunscreens, hair products and acne concealers. Products that are labeled water-based or non-comedogenic are generally less likely to cause acne.
Keep your hands off your face. A lot of women notice acne outbreaks where they lean their hands against their face.
Use tea tree oil. This natural essential oil can sometimes be helpful in clearing up acne.
6 All natural remedies for pregnancy acne
Apple cider vinegar: Soak a cotton ball with raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and apply to your skin to absorb oil. Mix one-part vinegar to three-parts distilled water. This will create a natural toner that is rich in naturally occurring enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs).
Baking soda: Baking soda dries the oil on your skin and promotes healing. Make a natural spot treatment by mixing 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of water. Apply to individual pimples and not the entire body or face. Allow it to dry before washing off.
Citrus fruit: Alpha hydroxy acid (AHAs) is found in citrus fruit like lemons and limes. When the juice of a lemon or lime is applied to your skin, it helps unclog pores and shed dead skin cells. These astringent and antibacterial properties make it effective as an exfoliant. Squeeze the juice from a lemon or lime and apply directly to spots with a cotton ball. Leave on for 10 minutes or until dry, and then rinse with cool water.
Honey: Honey has antibacterial and antiseptic properties. It’s also soothing to the skin. To apply, first rinse your face with warm water. Apply honey directly to the affected area. Leave it on your skin for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
Coconut oil: Coconut oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It’s also soothing to the skin and very easily absorbed. Apply virgin coconut oil instead of a moisturizer before going to sleep.
Oatmeal and cucumber: Cucumber and oatmeal offer soothing and cooling properties for the skin. For a homemade treatment, try this mask from Back to Her Roots. It uses all-natural ingredients commonly found in the kitchen. Simply blend, put in the freezer, and apply to your face for 10 to 15 minutes before washing off.