Can acne be treated during pregnancy?

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While acne treatments are limited during pregnancy, they do exist! Options are available to improve the skin’s complexion without compromising the health and well-being of a developing baby. Any acne treatment during pregnancy should be approved by OB before starting. The following acne ingredients are approved by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

ACOG approved active ingredients:

Azelaic acid can be found in OTC and prescription strengths. Azelaic acid contains anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and lightening benefits. This ingredient is used in both pregnant and non-pregnant patients due to its benefits in reducing those pink acne marks left from previous breakouts (AKA post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation).

Topical clindamycin can be used safely during pregnancy to treat acne. Skin can build resistance to clindamycin when used alone; therefore, combine with benzoyl peroxide to prevent this. The ACOG approves the use of OTC benzoyl peroxide. Look for low percentage benzoyl peroxide concentrations in wash-off formulations. 

Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid found in many over the counter products. Improvement in skin texture and tone can be seen when using glycolic acid. Irritation may occur during use and can lead to dryness, redness, and sun sensitivity. 


Lifestyle changes alone can reduce acne breakouts:

- Limit dairy, added sugar and processed carbohydrates in diet. Generally, foods with a high "glycemic index" can spark inflammation and flare acne.

- Keep residue from hair products off face.

- Avoid touching face or picking at acne lesions.

- Gentle skincare: Wash face once or twice daily with a gentle cleanser. If wearing makeup, remove with micellar water before washing face. 

- "Maskne" prevention: Wash reusable masks with gentle, non-fragranced laundry detergent daily and/or change disposable masks daily after each use. Avoid wearing heavy makeup under mask.

- Wear facial moisturizer with SPF 30 or higher daily to prevent worsening of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Patients can purchase Elta MD UV Clear SPF46 at both office locations in Fort Washington and Lansdale.

Schedule a visit with Megan Quinn, PA-C at Dermatology and Skin Cancer Institute in Fort Washington or Lansdale, PA, to establish an effective acne treatment plan.