Being pregnant, you’ve probably gotten used to giving up some of your favorite things, such as wine, sushi and gooey brie cheese. However, one of the toughest things to put on hold for nine months might be your regular acne treatments. If you’re like most pregnant women, acne is your number-one skin complaint. Your skin probably hasn’t seen this kind of hormonal activity since high school. Fluctuating hormone levels make the skin’s hair follicles secrete more oil (sebum), which leads to acne breakouts. This effect is commonly seen during puberty, menstruation, and the first trimester of pregnancy. Many of the ingredients proven effective to treat acne, including benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, are not safe for use during pregnancy. So, what can you do about your temporary, but embarrassing, case of acne? Instead of grinning and bearing it through nine pimple-filled months, you can use smarter and safer ways to clean your pores and banish breakouts. Here, the top safe for pregnancy skincare ingredients you can use to treat your acne.
Pregnancy-Safe Acne Ingredient: Lactic Acid
Did you know that lactic acid is a substance already found in your body? As your cells burn energy, they create lactic acid as a normal byproduct. When you’re exercising and you feel your muscles getting tired, it’s because lactic acid is building up in your bloodstream. So it makes sense that since we already have lactic acid in our bodies, it’s safe to use on our skin. Because lactic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid, it is a very effective cleanser and exfoliator and does all the stuff that salicylic acid and glycolic acid do. Another advantage of lactic acid is that it’s less irritating to the skin, which is crucial during pregnancy, a time when all the hormones surging through your body make your skin super-sensitive. The Belli Anti-Blemish Acne Facial wash contains lactic acid, green tea and cucumber and can be used on both face and body—especially if you get breakouts on your chest and back.
Pregnancy Safe Acne Ingredient: Sulfur is another amazing pregnancy-safe acne ingredient. It works similarly to salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide and helps dry out oily skin and also breaks down dead skin cells, which would otherwise clog your pores and harbor the growth of bacteria. We love sulfur for use as a spot treatment to treat blackheads and whiteheads.
Pregnancy Safe Acne Ingredient: Tea Tree Oil is a great antibacterial ingredient and has benefits similar to those of benzoyl peroxide. Tea tree oil also has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce acne lesions. Plus, it’s a natural moisturizer and can help hydrate your skin, which is also an important factor when fighting acne.
Acne-Fighting Tips You Can Do Now
1. Don’t touch your face! Bacteria harbors on your fingertips.
2. Don’t pick your skin. Picking at your spots can lead to scarring and infections.
3. Make sure you’re using SPF. Contrary to popular belief, the sun does not heal acne.
4. Swap out your pillowcases for new ones a few times a week. Dirt, makeup and bacteria can collect on your pillowcase.
5. Wash your face twice daily with a gentle cleanser.
6. Get your sleep! Inadequate sleep can lead to a release of the stress hormone cortisol in your body, which can cause inflammation in the skin and, in turn, cause acne.
7. Cleanse your skin before and after working out so makeup doesn’t clog pores and worsen your acne.
8. Wipe your cell phone down daily with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol to kill any bacteria.
9. Use clean washcloths when cleansing your skin. Dirty washcloths can reintroduce bacteria into your skin.
10. De-stress! Practice prenatal yoga, make a lunch date with a friend, take 10 minutes a day to meditate. Whatever it is, find a way to bring down your stress levels and you’ll also be reducing inflammation in your body.