Acne & Pregnancy: Ingredients to Avoid

pregnant woman with acne

Acne breakouts during pregnancy are quite common. This can happen due to elevated levels of certain hormones related to pregnancy. These hormones cause an overproduction of sebum or oil, which can clog your pores and lead to breakouts. The number one question I get from new moms is which products are “safe for use while pregnant”? When your skin is breaking out in blemishes, it’s easy to feel less than confident.

Pregnancy can be a trying time for a woman, especially when it comes to deciding which products are safe to use or not. After all, anything you eat, apply to your skin, or inhale can affect both you and your unborn child. This applies to everything from food to skincare products. Ironically, pregnant women may need targeted skincare even more than they did before conceiving a child.

Is it OK to use acne products when you’re pregnant?

While non-pregnant women are free to use a wide variety of prescription drugs to treat their acne breakouts, women who are expecting a child soon have to be more cautious. Many acne-fighting ingredients are teratogens, meaning, they can interfere with embryonic development, cause birth defects and heighten the chances of miscarriage in the women who take them.

What acne products should women avoid while pregnant?

  • Isotretinoin: This commonly used acne-treatment agent is a known teratogen and probably the most destructive of them all. Marketed under the brand name Accutane, isotretinoin is classified as FDA Pregnancy Category X, and women who take isotretinoin for acne are warned that they must not get pregnant during therapy and for 1 month after. It’s so sure to cause birth defects that women who become pregnant while on isotretinoin are actually advised to consider terminating the pregnancy. Between 1982 to 2003, over 2,000 women in the United States have become pregnant while taking isotretinoin. Most of those pregnancies ended in abortion or miscarriage, and the pregnancies that continued until term produced infants with hearing defects, visual disturbances and mental retardation. If this sounds alarming, don’t worry. Most physicians are very aware of the effect of this chemical and will not prescribe it without a thorough assessment and counseling.
  • Topical retinoids. Since the teratogenic effect of isotretinoin is so potent, it’s better to avoid using variant of it at all. This topical version of isotretinoin can still be absorbed via the skin and be passed from the bloodstream to the fetus.
  • Adapalene another topical treatment chemically similar to isotretinoin. There aren’t many studies on adapalene, but due to the similarity to tretinoin it’s best to avoid this ingredient altogether.
  • Flutamide and spironolactone. These compounds fight androgen and testosterone, hormones which are naturally found in the body but can cause acne in increased amounts, such as what occurs during pregnancy. Unfortunately, these hormone-based acne treatments lead to birth defects and are classified as unsafe for expectant mothers.
  • Oral tetracyclines. Antibiotic treatments for acne include doxycycline (Vibramycin), minocycline, and tetracycline (Achromycin). Tetracyclines cross the placenta, interfering with fetal bone development and leading to infants born with tooth discoloration varying from grayish brown to dark yellow and even green. This discoloration is difficult to treat because it stains the teeth internally, affecting the dentin layer underneath the tooth’s enamel.

Natural Alternative for Controlling Acne while Pregnant:

Organic Acne Products

Citrus Clear is a holistic, eco-friendly skincare company based in New York City. Their products provide natural skin care for acne and sensitive skin. Each one of their unique formulas contain potent citrus juices that effectively fight acne.

The Citrus Clear Acne Control products includes acne control facial wash, moisturizer and spot treatment that penetrates your pores to get to the root of the problem. Citrus extracts rich in Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s) and Vitamin C get rid of dullness caused by dead skin cells and go deep down to stimulate new growth for a more youthful, revitalized appearance. Citrus Clear only uses fair trade, natural and organic ingredients. These include flowers, citrus extracts, herbs and sea minerals. All these ingredients are scientifically proven to treat acne without hidden side effects.

You don’t have to worry about what you’re putting on your skin. Be confident that you’re getting the effective acne treatment you need without harming the new life growing inside you.