Skincare is always a delicate balance of trial, error, and experimentation, and that only becomes more true when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Make sure that your skincare needs are met, while also making sure your products are safe for your little one.
When you become pregnant, your body undergoes intense changes. And things are still changing after you give birth. When you’re breastfeeding, it can be years after your pregnancy, and your needs will still be different from when you started. While this may sound daunting, don’t stress it! There are some things that pregnancy makes worse, like acne. That pregnancy glow may not be all it’s cracked up to be either, and many pregnant women struggle to keep up with their changing skin. It’s the products that you use and how you use them that may need to change along with it. The main source of skin changes during pregnancy is the intense hormonal changes that pregnant women experience. The hormone progesterone specifically is responsible for breakouts during pregnancy. Progesterone is necessary in your body, but as a byproduct it causes the sebaceous glands to produce more oil. Overactive sebum production causes pores to become clogged and form acne.
Thankfully there is a lot of help for identifying what products are best for pregnancy and breastfeeding, and your dermatologist is the best resource.
For fighting pregnancy related acne, you still have a lot of tools at your disposal while nursing or pregnant. Unfortunately, the most powerful acne medication isotretinoin is not safe to take during pregnancy. Acne treatments that use salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide are also not pregnancy safe. One difficult thing with pregnancy, as you may know, is that pregnant women are not usually part of studies. This is largely an ethical concern, and it means that many medications are merely cautioned against based on anecdotal evidence. While one person’s experience may be negative with salicylic acid, the American Academy of Dermatology holds that it is probably safe in small quantities during pregnancy. There aren’t major studies on how these medications interact with your baby’s development, so it’s usually best to err on the side of caution. So for acne, what can you use while pregnant? Fortunately, most other products for treating acne are pregnancy safe. Most topical products that aim to reduce oil are perfectly fine. The big thing to note is that pregnancy does often make skin more sensitive. Use products designed for sensitive skin and acne, and always consult your OB-GYN before using new products.
Wrinkles and fine lines are a concern for many women, and pregnancy can only exacerbate them. Between the stress and the fact that many pregnant women report drier skin, it’s no doubt that wrinkles are commonly more noticeable during pregnancy. Retinoids, or products that contain vitamin A, are major over-the-counter anti-aging products that are not safe for pregnancy. Instead, other vitamins and products can help treat aging skin while pregnant or breastfeeding. Use products containing vitamin C, K, or B3 instead of retinoids. These products can stimulate collagen production and reduce wrinkles without posing a risk to you or your child’s health.
Melasma, sometimes called “pregnancy mask,” refers to the darkening of the skin on a woman’s face when she’s pregnant. While melasma can happen for other reasons, this form of hyperpigmentation is most common among pregnant women. Much like acne, progesterone is believed to be a trigger for melasma. Treating melasma while pregnant can be tricky because many melasma drugs are highly potent and can be absorbed by the body and therefore your developing child. While the drugs themselves aren’t necessarily dangerous to babies, there isn’t much known about what they can do. While melasma fades after pregnancy for most women, you can treat it with products containing vitamin C or azelaic acid. These are less potent than the retinoids used to treat melasma in people who aren’t pregnant or breastfeeding, but they can help to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
Your body changes a lot during pregnancy, and your skin is no exception. If you have more questions on what skincare options you have while pregnant or breastfeeding, don’t hesitate to call the experts at Northeast Dermatology Associates today.
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