I recently received an email from a reader asking which products are safe to use for her pregnancy acne. While my friends had beautiful and radiant pregnancy glows, I had pencil eraser sized pustules taking up serious real estate on my forehead, chin and jaw line. When pregnant, hormones called androgens cause sebaceous glands to release more oil. That in addition to thousands of shedding skin cells clogs the pores and causes breakouts. If you’re one of the lucky ones that gets pregnancy acne, there’s not much you can do to get rid of it, but you can use safe and natural methods to keep it from getting out of control.

  1. Don’t over wash. This will only dry out the skin which will in turn increase oil production and cause more skin cells to shed and clog pores causing breakouts. Wash your face twice a day- when you wake up and before you go to sleep. Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Bar Soap is a safe, gentle and affordable choice to cleanse the skin. The Non Toxic Shop also makes a wonderful line of anti-bacterial products. They both receive the highest safety rating in the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.
  2. Don’t scrub your face as it will only irritate the skin. Instead, gently exfoliate. I use a Clarisonic with the Acne Cleansing head which is well worth the investment but you can also use a soft washcloth using gentle pressure and a circular motion. Gently pat your face dry using a soft, lint-free towel.
  3. Use a toner to absorb excess oil and refresh your skin throughout the day. Good old-fashioned Witch Hazel is safe and affordable. Another option is to make your own using Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). Be sure to use a raw, unfiltered, organic ACV such as Bragg’s. It contains naturally occurring enzymes which are rich in natural alpha hydroxy acids, helps to dissolve dead skin cells, balances the skin’s PH, improves acne and acne scars and helps minimize the appearance of large pores. To make, simply mix one part ACV with three parts distilled water. Store in a glass bottle and refrigerate.
  4. Don’t forget to moisturize. Remember, if your skin gets too dry, it will work harder to produce more oil. Crunchy Betty’s DIY Three Ingredient Facial Oil Moisturizer is a great way to customize your own or you can check out my review of By Nieves C Perfect Skin. I’ve been using it every evening for the past year and am a huge fan.
  5. Make a spot treatment using one tablespoon baking soda (not baking powder) and one tablespoon of water.
  6. Refrain from picking or popping those pesky pimples. It will only increase irritation and potential scarring. If you can, try to get a monthly facial. A professional esthetician can do gentle extractions which will prevent the pimples from becoming infected and can help to keep them from scarring. To locate a green and organic spa near you, check out www.ecovian.com. Just be sure to ask what products they use and read the ingredients.
  7. Keep your pillow case clean by changing it often – especially if you use hair products. It’s also a good idea to use a gentle, non-toxic laundry soap such as Charlie’s.
  8. Eat plenty of nutritious whole foods and skip sugary, processed and packaged foods. This is wise for a healthy pregnancy anyway, but eating a clean diet can also help your skin stay more clear.
  9. Stay hydrated. Avoid sugary or carbonated beverages and drink plenty of purified water.
  10. Stress and fatigue can also contribute to flare-ups so when well-meaning friends and family ask if there’s anything they can do, invite them to toss in a load of laundry or do some grocery shopping. Also, even if you don’t sleep, rest whenever you have a chance. Your body has an amazing ability to recharge itself!

Pregnancy acne is no fun but it is temporary and usually subsides when hormone levels return to a balanced state. Try to take it in stride and remember that sweet bundle of joy who is waiting to meet you Earthside!

Do you have any safe and natural remedies for treating pregnancy or hormonal acne? Please share by leaving a comment below!