When does pregnancy acne appear?
Yes pregnancy acne can appear at any time during pregnancy, the first trimester is a particularly risky period. “Especially in the middle of the first trimester when the high progesterone secretion is conducive to the explosion of this dermatosis,” says Dr. Nina Roos. Pregnancy acne is manifested by the appearance of: inflammatory pimples (papules) as well as open comedones (black points). According to a study by the University Hospital of Nantes (source 1), acne during pregnancy occurs in almost 42% of pregnant women.
Why can acne develop during pregnancy?
During the pregnancy, hormonal impregnation – that is, the high concentrations of progesterone and estrogen – cause the sebaceous glands that produce sebum to become overactive. In normal times, if this lipid film is used to protect the skin from dehydration, it will tend to clog pores and favor the appearance of pimples†
Some women may also develop acne after stopping their contraception, which has a protective effect on the skin, adds the dermatologist. There are also acne breakouts associated with ovarian stimulation in the context of assisted reproduction.
What are the causes?
In pregnant women, acne is mainly explained by the hormonal disruption of pregnancy. But in addition to hormonal factors, pregnancy acne can also be caused by:
- food: for example, the consumption of chocolate, sweets, etc.
- the use of certain occlusive products on the face as an oil or sunscreen.
What are the risk factors?
Although the onset of acne during pregnancy is unpredictable, some women have more risk factors to develop one. For example, those with a history of acne during puberty, adulthood, or a previous pregnancy. “Often pregnancy acne is adult acne that occurs,” says Dr. Rose. Do not hesitate to consult a dermatologist to confirm the diagnosis and start treatment”.
The acne disease can take different forms depending on the degree of sebum retention and inflammation or infection of the pilosebaceous follicle. We will talk like this:
- acne retention when it is characterized by oily and shiny skinby poresby black points (open comedones) and whitehead red pimples (microcysts or closed comedones). “This acne is often associated with cosmetic mistakes, says Dr. Roos. For example the use of occlusive products for the face”.
- inflammatory acne when this results in painful nodules and cysts that can leave red spots and scars.
Face, chest, back, neck: where are they located?
If the acne disease mainly affects the face, pimples may also be present at the back of the necksecure the cleavage (upper chest) or the back† “Inflammatory acne lesions are usually located on the lower faceadds Dr. Rose. These large red pimples often have a strong psychological impact on mothers-to-be and affect their quality of life. Hence the importance of consulting a dermatologist to find an appropriate treatment”.
Acne vs Rosacea
Unlike pregnancy acne, rosacea is a dermatosis characterized by redness (erythrosis) in the center of the face (cheeks, nose, center of forehead, chin) accompanied by worsened skin sensitivity† “Sometimes rosacea evolves by taking on a papulopustular form, specifies the site of the health insurance company. Red papules and pustules are then added to the vascular symptoms”.
Acne in pregnant women: what are the solutions?
Since some acne treatments during pregnancy are clearly contraindicated due to their impact on the future baby, it is important that patients do not self-medicate. “For pregnant women, our panel of acne treatments is quite limited,” cautions Dr. Nina Roos. On the other hand, the implementation of measures simple food habits linked to the use of dermatological creams is often effective in mild acne”.
Adopt simple lifestyle and dietary measures
Sometimes a few simple gestures – a diet changea good daily facial hygiene True the use of suitable cosmetic products; – can be enough to make things better. For pregnancy acne, it is therefore recommended:
- avoid sugary foods or foods with a high glycemic index : Pastries, pastries, white bread, industrial sandwich bread, etc. “We prefer their semi-full version — whole wheat bread, pasta, or semi-whole rice — which is more nutritionally interesting and less likely to cause glycemic spikes,” says Dr. Nina Rose;
- limit the consumption of milk and cheese;
- reduce your consumption of saturated fats : crackers, chips, etc. ;
- give preference to foods rich in zinc: meat, whole grains, eggs, wheat germ, etc. ;
- reduce their consumption of industrial food.
“The goal is to adopt a healthier and less sugary diet that will benefit both the mother-to-be and her baby,” adds Dr. Rose to it.
Change your beauty routine
Sometimes the misuse of cosmetic products can be the cause of a acne breakout during pregnancy† To regulate excess sebum, you need to do the following:
- remove your make-up with a soft foaming gel intended for acne-prone skin – if your skin tolerates this – instead of a micellar lotion;
- good moisturize your skin every day with an adapted and non-comedogenic cream;
- Apply a charcoal-based mask once or twice a week or green clay to reduce pimples and prevent their appearance;
- don’t touch the buttons, even if it’s tempting! Piercing the pimple will exacerbate the inflammation, promote the spread of bacteria and make healing more difficult,” the dermatologist confirms.
Consult your dermatologist
Yes acne persists or worsens, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist. This can confirm the diagnosis and prescribe treatment that is compatible with pregnancy. Indeed, various drugs or dermatological creams against acne are prohibited in pregnant women. “To reduce the risk of deformities, we recommend the use of: benzoyl peroxide – a local keratolytic and antibacterial – as well as zinc only from the 2nd trimester of pregnancy. Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, zinc helps fight hyperseborrhea. It is also possible to prescribe an antibiotic (erythromycin) orally”.
On the other hand, due to the risk of malformations in the fetusthe use of certain molecules against acne such as isotretinoin (Accutane®) – a synthetic derivative of vitamin A – is contraindicated during pregnancy. According to the Reference Center for Teratogens (CRAT): “Oral isotretinoin causes malformation syndrome in about 20% of cases”. Remember that essential oils should also be avoided during pregnancy.
Acne during pregnancy and sun: beware of the rebound effect!
Despite appearances, the sun is afalse friend of acne. Indeed, if at first it tends to make the buttons disappear by a anti-inflammatory effect on the sebaceous glands, responsible for the production of sebum, beware of the rebound effect after exposure! The sebaceous glands will indeed produce more sebum and a hyperseborrhea reaction will occur. That is why it is recommended apply sunscreen from April to SeptemberEven in the city, to protect her skin and prevent hyperpigmentation from the scars of pimples, Dr. Nina Roos insists. Instead, prefer smooth, light and non-comedogenic textures.” Remember that sun exposure also increases the risk of a pregnancy mask (chloasma). Better protect yourself!
When does pregnancy acne go away?
Like normal acneduring the pregnancy disappears after delivery, it happens that it persists and settles down. It is then necessary to consult a dermatologist to set up a treatment. “Often women anticipate and make an appointment at the time of delivery to take stock. This prevents the situation from getting worse, says Dr. Nina Roos. I see more and more patients in their thirties with a long-lasting acne† It is often an inflammatory form that is difficult to treat and has a strong social impact. Hence the importance of acting quickly. †
What treatment after childbirth?
Local antibacterial agents† oral medication : After pregnancy, the range of acne treatments is much wider. “In patients with severe acne and under contraception, isotretinoin (Roaccutane®) may be prescribed. Do not hesitate to consult a specialist,” concludes Dr Roos.