Acne in pregnancy

Pregnancy changes your body. Makes sense though — you’re providing a home for a growing human being. Your hormones are off their usual balance and this can change your skin!

Many women complain of acne during pregnancy. You might not have had acne before pregnancy and you may be noticing it for the first time. Or, you may note your acne getting worse during pregnancy.

The same basic rules for acne skin care apply:
– Clean your face if it become dirty and soiled.
– Make sure face products are “non-comedogenic.”
– No picking, popping, or squeezing — this leads to scars!

However, the medications that you can use during pregnancy are limited.
– No Accutane (isotretinoin) – a big nono during pregnancy as Accutane can lead to birth defects. On the same vein, no tetinoin, Retin-A, adapalene, or related meds if you’re trying to get pregnant or are pregnant.
– No doxycycline, minocycline, or tetracycline – Again, its use can lead to birth defects.

Medications we often recommend include:
– erythromycin gel, solution or lotion
– sometimes, erythromycin pills are prescribed
– azeleic acid (aka Azelex or Finacea)

Talk to your obstetrician and/or dermatologist about the use of medications in pregnancy. First, do no harm!

Avoid sunburn – it’s bad for you and it hurts!


Image courtesy of Wikipedia user Axelv.

I just got back from a week of vacation in Cancun. White sand beaches, clear water, warm weather, friendly hosts, good Mexican food, sunshine… what more could you ask for? Well, not a sunburn!

Not only do sunburns look and feel bad, but they also increase your risk for skin cancer. Not to mention, all that sun exposure will give you sunspots and wrinkles earlier!

So here are some tips to avoid sunburn:

1. Seek the shade — find a beach umbrella, covered patio, or other shade structure that blocks you from the sun’s harmful rays.

2. Wear a hat — This helps cover your face. While a ball cap will protect your forehead and parts of your face, your ears and neck are still exposed. Consider a hat that protects these areas as well.

3. Check out sun-protective clothing — these clothes are designed to be lightweight, breathable but also offer optimal protection from the sun. While sunscreens are rated by SPF, these clothes are rated by UPF (ultraviolet protection factor). Some brands to check out are CoolibarSolumbra, and Sunday Afternoons.

4. Wear sunscreen — Make sure to apply your sunscreen 30 minutes before your sun exposure. This will allow it to dry and absorb before you start sweating. If you go for a dip in the pool or ocean or sweat a lot, you need to reapply! If you’re outside for an extended period of time, you may need to reapply your sunscreen every hour. Sunscreens are rated by SPF — sunburn protection factor. Check out this prior post on sunscreen SPF ratings.

Is your acne treatment bleaching your towels or clothes?

Benzoyl peroxide molecule picture above. Benzoyl peroxide is a common ingredient in acne treatment.

In high school, I had friends who used hydrogen peroxide to bleach/highlight their hair. Well, your acne treatment may contain benzoyl peroxide — a common ingredient found in acne washes, gels, lotions and creams. While it can be quite effective for acne, it can also be a nuisance in that it can bleach your clothes.

You may notice towels, pillowcases and clothing getting bleached.

Here are some tips:

– Use white towels, pillowcases and clothing or ones that you don’t care about getting bleached.

– Wait for the medication to dry before exposing it to clothing you don’t want to get messed up.

– If you sweat after applying your benzoyl peroxide treatment, wipe the sweat away so it doesn’t drip onto your clothes.