Acne can affect anyone at any age, but it's especially common during pregnancy. In fact, more than half of pregnant women experience acne, ranging from mild acne to severe outbreaks.
What causes acne in pregnancy?
Hormones are mostly to blame for acne occurring in pregnancy. This is because, at this time, increased levels of androgen hormones are present. These cause the skin's sebaceous glands to enlarge while boosting the production of an oily substance called sebum. Increased sebum magnifies the risk of the skin's pores getting blocked, allowing bacteria and inflammation to manifest, resulting in acne.
It's not just the surge in hormones that induce acne outbreaks during pregnancy; with more fluid retention in the body, this means more toxins in circulation, increasing the likelihood of acne occurring.
The occurrence of pregnancy acne
Not all women will develop acne during their pregnancy, but if it's going to occur, it tends to happen in the first trimester, when hormone levels are most elevated. Often, this hormonal acne clears up for the final stages of the pregnancy, although in some cases it can last for the entire duration, or come and go.
Women who have experienced acne in the past, or suffer from hormonal acne during the menstrual cycle, are often at greater risk of acne presenting during pregnancy.
Caring for your skin
Although you can't prevent pregnancy acne from occurring, you may be able to manage symptoms better by improving your skincare regime. Washing skin with a mild and gentle soap will keep skin clean, and an oil-free moisturiser may be beneficial. Avoid scrubbing or rubbing the skin and always wash make-up off thoroughly. Never squeeze spots, as this may cause acne scars.
When washing your face, don't forget to clean around the hairline and jaw, as the pores here can easily get clogged. Washing your hair regularly can also help to prevent oily build-ups. Regularly change your pillows and towels as part of your pregnancy skincare regime.