What acne products are safe during pregnancy?

Pregnancy is such a beautiful time. It is important for both mom and baby to stay healthy. Below are a list of acne skin care products and treatments that are safe to use during pregnancy.

Generally Recognized as Safe

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  1. Azelaic acid: A naturally occurring substance that is derived from cereal grains. It comes in a topical gel and cream formulas. This prescription acne medication is also pregnancy category B and is safe during pregnancy.  
  2. Tea tree oil: Safe during pregnancy. It is a natural antibiotic and has been helpful in some acne studies.
  3. Green tea: A natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It is safe during pregnancy and has also been proven to be helpful in some acne studies.
  4. Lactic acid: Produced in our own bodies and is safe to use topically during pregnancy. It works by exfoliating clogged pores.
  5. Microdermabrasion: This procedure exfoliates dead skin and is safe for acne during pregnancy.
  6. Blue light: This procedure uses a blue light to shrink oil glands and reduce bacteria. It is safe during pregnancy.

Dermatologist Recognized as Safe

  1. Sulfur: Sulfur based acne treatments have been used for decades without adverse events reported during pregnancy. For this reason, many dermatologists feel comfortable prescribing topical sulfur based treatments during pregnancy.
  2. Benzoyl peroxide: Although benzoyl peroxide was officially a pregnancy category C, it has also been used for decades without adverse events reported during pregnancy. In multiple peer reviewed dermatology papers, benzoyl peroxide has been considered safe in pregnancy. For these reasons, many dermatologists feel comfortable prescribing topical benzoyl peroxide during pregnancy.
  3. Glycolic acid: Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane. It is found in many topical lotions and gels, and is generally considered safe by many dermatologists. However, some dermatologists avoid glycolic acid peels during pregnancy.

Acne Skin Care Products and Treatments to Avoid
 

  1. Retinoids: Retinoids are a class of medications frequently used in skin care products and treatments. Adapalene and retinol are topical retinoids that are available over the counter. Prescription topical retinoids include tretinoin and tazarotene. Topical retinoids are not recommended during pregnancy because we know that when taken orally, retinoids can cause birth defects.  
  2. Salicylic acid: Although problems have not been widely reported with topical salicylic acid, birth defects have been reported with oral salicylic acid derivatives. For this reason, salicylic acid treatments are not recommended in pregnancy.
  3. Chemical peels: Most chemical peels involve salicylic acid or gylcolic acid which should be avoided during pregnancy. (Note: Glycolic acid is okay in topical creams and lotions during pregnancy, but many dermatologists avoid glycolic peels during pregnancy). 

So now you have a great list of what you can use and what you should avoid during pregnancy.  Unfortunately, acne can be quite common during pregnancy. The great news is that there are some effective treatments that can be used while you are pregnant.