Motherhood Postpartum Pregnancy

Natural Ways to Manage Pregnancy, Postpartum & Hormonal Acne

April 17, 2013

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. And remember, pregnancy and postpartum acne is no fun but it is temporary and usually subsides when hormone levels return to a balanced state.

  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. I choose products with a high 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. Clarisonic makes an 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.
  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 Ecovian. Just be sure to ask what products they use and always read 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.
  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!

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  • Reply Equinox Anti Aging May 2, 2013 at 2:11 am

    Great web site. A lot of useful info here. I am sending
    it to some pals ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thanks in your effort!

  • Reply Kimberly Van Der Beek May 6, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Dairy and gluten were/are my instant triggers for a skin flare-up pregnancy or not. I recommend an occasional facial steaming with pregnancy safe essential oils. I also give the Clarisonic two huge thumbs up. Changed my skins life!

    • Reply Natureal Mom May 6, 2013 at 8:46 pm

      Thanks for sharing Kim, these are great points! Dairy & gluten aggravated my skin when I was pregnant as well and they still do.

  • Reply Lolli S May 16, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Sugar was my instant trigger. Removing sugar from my diet cleared things right up!

  • Reply Annonymous September 22, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Hello, I was just wondering, did your acne leave after giving birth? I am having trouble with pregnancy acne, this is my first baby so I am really curious if it’ll go away for me too?

    • Reply Natureal Mom September 23, 2013 at 8:52 am

      It did eventually completely go away, but it took some time. I’m sure it varies from person to person (I’m pregnant again and am not nearly as broken out as I was the first time) and also depends on other hormonal factors such as whether or not you breastfeed, if you encapsulate your placenta, etc. A healthy lifestyle, managing stress levels and good nutrition are other factors. Your body is going through a lot of changes and it takes some time, but should come back into balance.

  • Reply kayleen September 6, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    im six months pregnant why do i break out by my jawline
    my pimples are really red

    • Reply Natureal Mom September 10, 2014 at 8:32 am

      I am not a dermatologist, doctor or esthetician, but it is most likely hormonal acne related to the pregnancy, especially along the jawline. I hope you find the information in this post helpful!

  • Reply Hali December 23, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    I was wondering what you use to moisturize during the day? I have found the crunchy Betty recipe to be a bit too oily to use during the day. Especially if I am wearing makeup. It just melts off.

    • Reply Natureal Mom December 23, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      Hi there, I have dry/sensitive skin so what works best for me may not work well for you. If you tend to have combination/oily/sensitive skin you may want to try Pai Geranium & Thistle Rebalancing Day Cream. Organic geranium and thistle helps to calm unsettled skin and even out skin tone. It’s a non-greasy, non-comedogenic, mild anti-bacterial formula helping to prevent breakouts and absorbs instantly to leave a matte velvet finish, making a perfect base for make-up.

  • Reply Kayla March 23, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Do you recommend facial oil cleansing like with olive oil or coconut oil? I usually do this before I shower and stopped using a facial cleanser. I pat my face dry when I am done and spray on a witch hazel and apple cider vinegar toner and wipe any access by patting gently with my towel. I had recently switched to that routine which cleared some skin issues I was having before my pregnancy and now that I’m pregnant nothing i normally do for the occasional breakout is not working. I am going to try the kiss my face soap. Do you think I’m at least on the right track? I put a lot of effort into my health and hygiene and it’s so frustrating at this point!

    • Reply Natureal Mom March 24, 2015 at 10:26 am

      It really depends on your individual skin type. I personally found ArboreDerm’s Acne and Soothing Cleansers to be the best for me. You can have it mailed to you by calling Marilyn at 818-736-1662 — tell her I sent you! Kiss My Face Olive Oil soap also worked well for me but I have dry/sensitive skin and found it to be a bit drying. I also got facials whenever I could and mixed equal parts bentonite clay with apple cider vinegar to make a paste for a mask or spot treatment. You need to be careful not to leave it on too long though because it can burn or irritate sensitive skin. Pregnancy and hormonal acne can be very frustrating. Hang in there!

  • Reply Jan March 30, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Can you recommend a cleanser to use with the clarisonic brush for acne prone skin while pregnant?

    • Reply Natureal Mom March 30, 2015 at 8:24 pm

      The ArboreDerm Soothing or Acne Cleanser are both excellent. You can have it mailed to you by calling Marilyn at 818-736-1662 and tell her I sent you 😉 Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Soap is also great. It’s a bar soap though so you would have to lather the Clairsonic brush with it first.

  • Reply Meagan June 11, 2015 at 7:57 am

    I have been reading about using ACV on the face. The raw, unfiltered, organic Bragg’s is unpasteurized, is that okay? I have not been putting any in my hot water in the morning like usual because of that reason, but I am wondering if putting in on the face, as a topical solution, is safe. Thanks!

    • Reply Natureal Mom June 11, 2015 at 8:56 am

      I make a face mask using equal parts bentonite clay and Bragg’s ACV (but rinse when it starts to tingle because I have sensitive skin). Read about it more in my post here: Also, I was under the assumption that those concerned with unpasteurized products during pregnancy are concerned with consumption, not topical. However, I’m not qualified to give this type of advice, you have to decide what you’re comfortable with and/or consult your care provider.

  • Reply Allison June 17, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Thank you so much for your tips! I’m a “natural-nut” (so my husband calls me haha) I’ve been using SkinAgain’s Clear natural acne cream and its working great for me! If anyone is looking for a natural, yet effective acne treatment, SkinAgain is amazing.

  • Reply Michelle September 16, 2015 at 9:14 am

    thanka a lot I was searching such like ways to remove my acne

  • Reply Jenny S. April 5, 2017 at 3:23 am

    I always have the worst acne everytime I am pregnant, and I got pregnant twice. I did everything that you have on your list plus one. I stopped drinking milk. I know it is essential to drink milk when you’re carrying a baby, but you can always rely on good supplements that will give your body its daily calcium need. Avoiding dairy product made a lot of difference, on my skin. I continued my no-dairy diet until after I gave birth, but I sometimes indulge in harmless lattes and icecreams. Thanks!

  • Reply becci May 4, 2017 at 3:51 am

    I have been using ACV – the raw unfiltered kind with ‘the mother’ on my eyelid as I’ve had some nasty eyelid cysts due to hormone changes…it worked really well but then i read that ACV should not be used in pregnancy as it’s unpasturised, what would be your advice on this? I now have another cyst in the other eye and want to use it again but worried whether it will do any harm, its only topical use not drinking it.

    • Reply Natureal Mom May 18, 2017 at 7:37 pm

      I don’t think I’m qualified to say.. best to check with your care provider.

  • Reply Talesha August 25, 2017 at 8:03 am

    I had terrible post-parting acne that left scars all over my face and neck. I have made some changes to my skin care routine and started using dermalmd scar serum at night. I still have a few scars lingering, but my skin’s appearance has improved greatly. I’ve been using it every night for about a month, so it does take time, but it works. I am happy to report that it doesn’t seem to cause any new acne to appear – which is a relief! I would highly recommend to anyone looking to rid their skin of terrible scars and red marks!

  • Reply Wendy September 28, 2017 at 6:24 pm


    I wish I had known these things when I was pregnant, but these tips are still useful because a friend of mine is 8 weeks pregnant. During my pregnancy, I always avoid chemical products and other skincare treatments, I’m afraid it will affect the baby. Thanks for this useful information. Thanks!

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