How to deal with pregnancy acne, according to experts
You don’t have to break up with all your favourite products
Being pregnant can sometimes make you feel like a teenager again. Thanks to an incredible hormonal upheaval, you feel like you have no control over your mood, you’re sprouting hair in strange and unexpected places, and to underline the point — pregnancy acne arrives in all its angry, red glory.
During pregnancy, your body is flooded with higher levels of hormones, including androgens like testosterone, which can make you oilier than a puri-laden thali. This means your pores get clogged easily because of the excess sebum production and pregnancy acne is the unfortunate side effect. Your bun in the oven can also increase inflammation in the body, which may worsen acne if you’re already acne-prone.
Pregnancy acne is also more challenging to treat. While your instinct would be to pick up your previous acne regimen and go-to acids to tackle the problem, it may not be possible.
Once you have given birth and completed breastfeeding, retinoids would be the best option. But there are other options on the market to treat pregnancy acne and leftover marks.
Dermatologist Dr Aradhana Dhawwan and Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta, cosmetologist and founder of ISAAC Luxe, recommend avoiding retinoids – topical and oral, such as isotretinoin – certain antibiotics and high doses of salicylic acid (especially chemical peels) during this time.
Instead, opt for benzoyl peroxide, a fantastic ingredient you can use to treat pregnancy acne, at a maximum dose of 5%. “This natural substance should be a go-to component for skin-plumping and moisturising, especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It works wonderfully and presents no danger to either mom or baby,” says Gupta.
Another smart addition to your skincare routine at this time can be niacinamide (We’re big fans, here’s why). It’s pregnancy safe and can help combat breakouts, regulate oil production, ease the redness caused by acne and keep your pores clear. Dhawwan advises sticking to a concentration of 5% and starting by using it twice a week if you’re a newbie.
Salicylic acid work too, adds Dhawwan, but in cosmetic formulations of no more than 2%. To-be moms may find their skin becoming unusually dry, and treatments for pregnancy acne can add to the problem. “Overly dry skin will react. And an irritated skin barrier increases the risk of getting pregnancy acne,” says Dhawwan.
Find pimple-busting products that are formulated with hydrating and moisturising ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, and always follow up with a good moisturiser and sunscreen.
The experts recommend that if pregnancy acne is a major source of distress, then consult a specialist who can formulate a treatment plan that blends topical skincare and diet while ensuring the health of you and your baby.
Dermatologist-approved ingredients to treat pregnancy acne
Benxop face wash, ₹225
Minimalist 5% Niacinamide Face Serum, ₹599
Deconstruct Pore Control Serum – 2% Salicylic Acid + 3% Niacinamide, ₹799
Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, ₹1,200 – ₹2,700
Cipla Excela Moisturiser, ₹497
Benzac AC 2.5% Gel, ₹137
Acne Squad Face Wash With Salicylic Acid & Thymol T Essence, ₹399
Plum 3% Niacinamide Toner with Rice Water, ₹420