Safe Acne Treatment During Pregnancy?

Updated on November 04, 2008
M.A. asks from Circle Pines, MN
20 answers

I have suffered with horribly acne prone skin since I was 13 years old. I have had success with benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acne products but my OB/GYN informed me a couple years ago that they are not safe to use while you are pregnant. I didn't use them during my first pregnancy because of this and didn't seem to have much of a problem with breakouts (lucky, I guess). I stopped using them again as soon as I found out I was pregnant again with our second child and have been breaking out like crazy ever since! I wash my face twice a day with a mild soap and use a Mary Kay clay mask that helps draw oil out of your skin every few days. The health of my unborn child is more important to me than my looks, so I obviously won't use anything that is unsafe and I know I'm not the first pregnant woman to have this problem. What safe acne treatments have other moms used while they were pregnant? I can hardly even look at myself in the mirror anymore it's gotten so bad.

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S.N.

answers from Milwaukee on

The most important thing is to make sure that whatever you're putting on your skin is safe enough to eat, because our skin is our largest organ and everything that you put on it gets absorbed into your bloodstream and organs...and that of your unborn child. If you're looking for a natural acne remedy, L'Bri Pure 'n Natural's deep pore line is the way to go. Organically grown aloe vera is the very first ingredient, along with vitamins, minerals, herbs and botanicals. There are no artificial colors or scents, no pore-clogging oils or harsh chemicals. Check out my website and suenelson.lbri.com and let me know if you're interested in trying some complimentary samples.

1 mom found this helpful
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R.D.

answers from Des Moines on

I was using Retin A and cleansers with salicylic acid when I got pregnant and no one told me to stop; I just happened to read something on my own. Luckily, my son is better than fine. As soon as I read that though I stopped using everything and started using Cetaphil. I didn't have too many problems during pregnancy and still use Cetaphil as my daily cleanser (although I've added back in some other products). My understanding is that products containing alpha hydroxy acid or glycolic acid are safe. You could look for something with that in the ingredient list. Here's an article that outlines it pretty well: http://www.babycenter.com/0_safe-skin-care-during-pregnan...

Oh, and don't assume that the dermatologist will give you helpful information about how the medications relate to pregnancy. I saw a dermatologist while breastfeeding and asked about precautions regarding that and he said he didn't know and said I should call our pediatrician. I've never been back to him, btw.

1 mom found this helpful
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K.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi M.!
I have a solution and it is very healthy for you and baby (also has health benefits!) I personally had a acne problem and eliminated it using Young Living personal care products/ therapuetic essential oils. Also any skin issue traces to an internal issue so by taking a antioxidant whole food drink
daily will improve the health of your skin.
Remember anything you put on your skin should also be safe to eat because our skin is the largest absorbable organ we have and goes straight to the blood stream.
Always check the label!! Don't use anything with propolene gylcol, parabens and propyl at the end of words. These are very harmful cancer-causing agents.
Please call or email me and I will gladly share the details with you!
###-###-#### or [email protected]____.com

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C.

answers from Minneapolis on

I had really bad acne during my second pregnancy--deep cystic lesions way under the skin...really ugly and painful; I'm not quite sure where your OB is getting her info, but both my dermatologist and my OB said salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide from over the counter products were totally safe during pregnancy. They said you'd have to get them in massive doses for there to potentially be a problem. Anyway, I had really good results with the Murad acne skincare line. It was super...not too drying, but really effective. I know how you feel...I hated to look at myself in the mirror as well...it was so upsetting, and I didn't want to seem vain, but it was really bad. And to ease any concerns, my daughter was born totally healthy and normal, and today she is a thriving 18 month old. So the salicylic acid in the Murad products didn't impact her one bit! Good luck!

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K.S.

answers from Green Bay on

I used Proactive before and during my pregnancy...I loved it before but I had the same problem my face would get really oily and nothing really helped. I would just then use a mild soap and used the Proactive astringent, seemed to work the best for me. Good Luck
Congrats on the new baby.

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N.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

While I was pregnant, my OB/Gyn pretty much said even lotions and some soaps aren't safe either because they can be absorbed through the skin. I was down to using very basic soaps and cocoa butter if I had dry skin issues.

With that said, the product "Proactive" came to mind and things like it. I've never used them myself, but maybe an organic line of facial cleaners and products might help. I also used Withc Hazel (find it at all natural stores) which is a natural astringent that really did help cut down on oiliness and redness if things flared up.

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L.M.

answers from Minneapolis on

Have you used all of the Mary Kay skin care in your regimen? Scientifically they work best together. Sounds like you use the #3 basic skin care for oily skin mask. Add the moisturizer and the cleanser in the #3 to your daily regimen, and then after the baby is born you can use the toner for this formula with the 2% salicylic acid for acne along with it. When you use different products from different skin care lines you will not have the same results as if you were using all Mary Kay or all of another skin care line together. You could also try the Velocity from Mary kay. It is for younger acne pron skin. It has an oil absorbing cleanser and moisturizer that are super innexpensive and gentle. Give you MK rep a call or contact me if you no longer have one.

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M.K.

answers from Milwaukee on

Hello M.,
I had to respond beccause I was surprised that your doctor told you you couldn't use benzoyl peroxide. I used Proactiv with my first pregnancy, which my doctor said was fine. My doctor did not want me using salicylic acid (related to aspirin) products and there were others on the list but benzoyl peroxide was fine. My son is a happy and very healthy 2 year old, so no problems with the Proactiv and now I am 8 months pregnant and the ance hasn't been as bad this time around but I still need to use the Proactiv every once and a while and all tests show this baby is very healthy too. (I had 3 ultrasounds because of a low laying placenta but has moved up now)
I guess I would ask your doctor why you can't use benzoyl peroxide. then ask for recommendations or see a dermatollogist. They know what is safe to use on the skin while pregnant and will probably be able to help.
I am sorry if my response is not the most helpful but I know how precious the little baby is and I wouldn't want to use anything unsafe either.
M.

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L.E.

answers from Rapid City on

The Burts Bees Blemish stick is about $9 and works fantastic. You can get it at Target or online lots of places. For a total skincare option, MiEssence makes an organic facial cleanser, toner and moisturizer for oily, problem skin. It is called "Miessence Purifying"and you can get the pieces separately from organicselections.com

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M.H.

answers from Cedar Rapids on

I feel for you, breakouts suck! I didn't have a problem during pregnancy, at least not more then one or two occasionally so I didn't use this during pregnancy, but have used it and have many friends who do and like it better then proactive. Check out the info, if you're interested let me know and I can let you know more about how to order it. Its called clear.now
https://www.quixtar.com/Documents/IWOV/VIS/010-en/PDFs_Re...

Good luck!

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S.F.

answers from Lincoln on

My dermatologist and drs told me to not use some acne products due to the POTENTIAL side effects on the developing baby. In many cases medical tests haven't been done of the effects to babies because the effects on babies can be very different than the effects on the lab rats, etc. My thought was why take the risk. I use Cedaphil (or similar generic)for cleansing and it works great. Avoid any harsh masks or other treatments which will only make it worse. I quit using ANY Mary Kay products, masks, special soaps, etc because the treatments and masks were actually making it worse. If you are harsh to your skin it will respond by producing more oil therefore more breakouts. Perhaps the Mary Kay, etc products work for other people but they didn't work for me. Also, don't use a washcloth to wash the face because that is too harsh as well. As soon as I changed products and changed how I wash my face I saw results. Good luck!

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B.B.

answers from Minneapolis on

I used my Proactiv Solution stuff during both pregnancies. I asked if topical stuff like that would affect my baby and my doctor said no. But she did prescribe me a baby-safe topical cream I could use too. Can't remember what it was called, but actually it didn't work that well. So never mind. Guess I wasn't much help!

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J.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

It is weird each doctor says something different. Basically find out if the topical meds are a class A or B those are safe to use during pregnancy. I used clindamycin and Finacea through both of my pregnancies. They are both class B. And both my kids are great. You can use whatever soap you want. I use cetaphil because it is very mild. But there are a lot of different topical stuff you can be on while pregnant. You don't have to suffer with bad skin. And mary kay stuff always made me break out. I would just stick with the topical meds and not use masks or anything. My dermatologist always said less is best when it comes to that kind of stuff.

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A.D.

answers from Davenport on

I too, have always had oily, acne prone skin. My midwife and OBGYN both told me that products with Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid were safe to use-especially if it was just on your face and not your back or body- however, I used them sparingly. With my first pregnancy I used ProActive. I am pregnant again and currently using the Clinique line of cleansers and facial lotions. I still have a few breakouts at times but my skin feels great.

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N.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

I hear you, M.! My skin is AWFUL when I'm pregnant and nursing. I used Arbonne products (not their acne line). A lot of times it just takes a good skincare and then you don't need acne products. Let me know if you'd like to try them.

And congrats on another baby! It's worth it!!
N.

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E.T.

answers from Rochester on

Check with your pharmacist. A pharmacist can look up what class the drug is and tell you how safe it is to take during pregnancy and breast feeding. My husband is a pharmacist and he was constantly looking up things for me. There were a couple of things that my midwife told me I could take that my husband wouldn't let me take.

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M.E.

answers from Des Moines on

My doctor said it was ok for me to use benzoyl peroxide acne washes during pregnancy. Read up on the subject on the internet...I think you will find that it is ok to do.

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A.M.

answers from La Crosse on

I'm having the same problem as you, my acne is terrible lately. It's actually quite painful. I've always had really sensitive skin, but it's never been painful like this.
I just started clindamycin. It's a lotion that you use twice a day. It IS an anti-biotic, so some people might choose to avoid it during pregnancy. However, apparently because it's a lotion it's not really an issue. My doctor said she used it through both her pregnancies.
I haven't seen a big difference yet, but apparently it takes a few weeks to work. At this point I'm just hoping for ANY relief.
Good luck.

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A.F.

answers from St. Cloud on

There is a natural product called X-zit. It's a topical roll on that works so well for blemishes. Also, Grandma's Oatmeal soap is a wonderful soap for acne!

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J.L.

answers from Milwaukee on

I just wanted to reiterate what a few others have said, that my doctor and my pregnancy books said that Benzoyl Peroxide was just fine to use during pregnancy. Mary Kay's Acne Treatment Gel would then be fine to use. Try the Mary Kay Timewise skin care for Combo/Oily skin as well.

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