1. Why does acne occur during pregnancy?
Acne affects nearly 50% of pregnant women and it occurs due to the increased hormone levels in the first trimester, which in turn, cause increased production of natural oils in the skin.
2. What one can do about pregnancy acne?
Eat healthy food like fruits, vegetables and drink 8-10 glasses of water every day. Avoid junk food, oily food, chocolates, excessive coffee and tea. Keep your face clean with gentle face wash, no need for excessive scrubbing.
3. How can one treat acne during pregnancy?
Do NOT use acne creams with retinoic acid (see below). Other acne therapies that CANNOT be used in pregnancy are oral tetracyclines, (which can cause discoloration of the teeth of the child) and hormonal therapies like anti-androgens
(spironolactone, flutamide) as these can cause damage to the developing fetus and result in birth defects.
4. When does one know that it’s a more serious skin condition and not acne?
Some skin conditions can flare up and mimic acne – in general, it is best to consult a skin specialist/ dermatologist to clear these doubts.
5. What are the common skin troubles during pregnancy?
First trimester – usually acne is the problem, which can be managed as given above. Second and third trimesters – Stretch marks are the commonest concern: Use a good moisturizer, Vit E oils, anti-stretch mark creams regularly on the abdomen, thighs and breasts. Other problems such as pregnancy rash – consult your doctor, try not to selfmedicate.
There are some pregnancy-specific rashes, which need attention. Hygiene, avoid sweating, keeping areas dry and clean will help. Use anti-fungal powders and creams if you get a fungal infection, which may occur under the breast area or groin, especially if you are overweight or have gestational diabetes.
6. Can one use acne creams during pregnancy?
NO, acne creams especially ones containing retinoic acid are strictly contra-indicated in pregnancy and also if the woman is trying to conceive. Isoretinoin containing oral medications are also strictly contra-indicated. In fact, it is mandatory to ensure that the patient is not pregnant at the time of starting the treatment, to ensure that she uses effective contraception throughout the treatment phase and for at least 1 month after the treatment has ended. Isoretinoin / Retenoic acid can cause damage to the unborn fetus and result in birth defects of a serious nature in the child.