Top 10 Reasons You are Breaking out in Acne During Pregnancy

Acne and Pregnancy

Many women have reported that they get excessive acne (pimples) on their faces, back, and other areas of the body during pregnancy. It is fairly common to have acne, especially during the first trimester, or the first three months. In most cases, the pimples are mild and don’t necessarily require treatment. However, many women find that they want to treat the acne so that they look better and feel better about themselves.

Pregnancy is a challenging time for many women. Their bodies experience many changes, some of which are seen by others and some that are only on the inside. Along with such, many women feel overweight, heavy, tired, and worried, which can cause them to feel more self-conscious about their bodies and worry more about what others think. Studies have shown that out of every two pregnant women, one is going to develop acne, usually early in the pregnancy.

Pregnancy should be a time where women get excited about bringing a new life into the world and enjoy every moment, regardless of whether it is happy or exciting or not. However, the thought of developing acne on top of everything else (gaining weight, morning sickness, mood swings) can be upsetting. Learning about the reasons you are breaking out in acne during pregnancy is the first step in determining what, if anything, you can do to prevent or treat it. Below are 10 reasons why you might develop acne during your pregnancy and some solutions and tips to prevent acne from forming on your face or body.


10Your Body Starts Opening More Oil Glands

Acne is very common during pregnancy especially when you face it during your mensturation cycle.The primary reason for acne development when you are pregnant is caused by increased hormone levels during the first trimester. Your body starts producing more androgen (male sex hormones) to get ready to develop and grow another human being. When this happens, sebaceous glands are forced to produce more sebum, which is a waxy, oily substance. The sebum is oily and usually blocks the skin pores, which leads to inflammation and buildup of debris, such as dead skin cells. Over time, the debris buildup has nowhere to go, so it protrudes from the body in the form of a pimple.

While natural oils are essential for your body, overproduction is common during pregnancy. Your body is working overtime to create life and ensure that your womb and the rest of your body are suitable for habitation for the next nine months. Therefore, it is common to experience acne during this time.

It is challenging to determine if you are going to get acne while pregnant, but a good indication is if you usually get acne during your menstrual cycle. If you routinely notice that you get pimples before or during your period, it’s an indication that you might get acne during the first few months of your pregnancy. However, the good news is that if you do not develop acne during your first trimester, it is unlikely that you will develop it later in the pregnancy.

While you can’t stop your body from producing more sebum, you can focus on your diet and find natural and safe prescription medications.


9Your Diet Changes Significantly

Women find that they want comforting foods, such as sugar, caffeine, and dairy products. All this is because of the hormonal changesDuring pregnancy, you may find yourself craving new things. Many times, you may pair odd choices together because your body is in overdrive and it isn’t exactly sure what it wants or needs. While it is okay to indulge in your cravings (as long as they are food and your doctor doesn’t have you on any restrictions), you may find that your diet changes can affect acne development.

Many times, women find that they want comforting foods, such as sugar, caffeine, and dairy products. While these can be tasty and can help satisfy your craving, they are also well-known for triggering acne. While these foods and ingredients don’t cause acne, it can trigger an outbreak.

Too much sugar, dairy, or caffeine can all cause you to get breakouts on your body or face, so it stands to reason that if you drink multiple cups of coffee with dairy creamer and sugar each day, you’re well on your way to having pimples all over your face. If you’re worried about your diet and the development of acne, you should talk to your doctor about your options. Many times, they can offer substitutions (such as non-dairy creamer, ask you to limit caffeine consumption, or determine if it’s safe for you to use a sugar substitute). If you just can’t go without your caffeine, your doctor might prescribe a medication to control acne development. However, pregnant women should be aware that many prescriptions have ingredients that can cause birth defects in unborn children, so it is essential that your doctor research options carefully.


8You Experienced Acne before Pregnancy

Eating an anti-acne diet can help, but you can also reduce stress and the acne from the skinWhile there is no one particular gene you inherited from your mom or dad to ensure that you breakout with pimples during pregnancy, studies have shown that the development of acne is genetic. In fact, some studies have shown that you have a higher risk of acne development during pregnancy if your mother had it during her pregnancy.

Acne runs in the family, so you can bet that if your mom was always pimply around that time of the month, you probably have the same issue. Sometimes, genetics can also determine if the same foods and stress indicators can trigger an outbreak between parents and children and siblings. Therefore, you may want to ask your mom if she had acne on the face or back when she was pregnant with you or any of her children. If the answer is yes, you may want to start preparing for acne during your pregnancy.

Of course, you can prevent an outbreak. Studies have shown that eating an anti-acne diet can help, but you can also reduce stress, drink green tea, and learn how to properly wash your face.

If you worry about acne during pregnancy and know that you experience acne during your period, it might help to talk to your mother and even grandmother about their experiences with acne. Having a heart-to-heart conversation is the first step to determine if your issues are hereditary. If they aren’t, you may still have to worry about acne during pregnancy.


7Some Necessary Medications can Cause Acne

Breakouts caused by medication isn’t true acne but is called an acneiform drug reaction, so consult your doctor before taking any decision.When you find out that you are pregnant, your doctor is likely to check all your current medications to ensure that they are safe to take during pregnancy. In some cases, your doctor may switch meds so that your baby stays safe before birth. Sometimes, these medications have unwanted side effects that don’t harm you or the baby but can be alarming. One of these side effects is acne development.

In actuality, breakouts caused by medication isn’t true acne but is called an acneiform drug reaction. These breakouts can happen all over the body and have evenly sized spots. Even if you don’t get acne normally, you can still get acneiform drug reaction issues.

Medications that can cause true acne include some cough medications, lithium, corticosteroids, and some hormones. Steroids can also cause acne. In most cases, your doctor won’t prescribe these things to you, but they might be necessary. For example, lithium is prescribed for bipolar disorder. There are other bipolar disorder medications available that you can take during pregnancy. You should always talk to your doctor about your options and do not stop taking any prescribed medication without consulting a doctor first.

Regardless of why you need the medication and whether or not you develop acne, you may find that you can live with the acne if the medication is necessary to promote a healthy birth. In most cases, pregnancy acne goes away after the baby is born. It can be challenging to have acne on the face or body during such a crazy, hectic time in your life, but it can be reassuring to know that it is likely to go away after the birth of your child.


6Stress can Cause Acne Development

A stressed environment is not healthy for the baby during pregnancy, but it can also cause various issues and problems like acne.Stress is a well-known trigger of acne. Have you ever noticed that when things go haywire at work or home, you get breakouts or bumps on your face or body? These are usually stress-induced pimples. When you are under stress, your body pumps out more hormones to try to regulate these feelings and calm the body down.

When you find out you are pregnant, you may instantly get stressed out because you’re worried about your life situation or wonder how it will feel and affect you throughout the trimesters. On top of the stress of being pregnant, you are also tired all the time and have to deal with everyday tasks. Most women can’t take off work during this time, which means you still have to deal with daily stressors. Women in situations that aren’t ideal for pregnancy may also have more stress than others.

While stress can cause breakouts of acne, it isn’t good for the baby, either. The best form of prevention for both stress and acne, in this case, is to learn how to relax. Most doctors and obstetricians recommend doing yoga or meditation to relax the body. You can talk to your doctor about specific yoga poses that are safe for your situation. Along with such, you may find it best to take a few calming breaths in a quiet room. Sometimes, listening to music can also be relaxing. When you reduce stress levels, you remain calm, which is good for your body and developing a baby.


5You Don’t Wash Your Face/Remove Makeup

The makeup and other daily grime clogs the pores and blocks them during pregnancy that ultimately causes acne.

It is essential that you remove your makeup every night before bed. However, washing your face is usually done in the shower in the morning. If you find that you enjoy washing your face in the morning, you may want to consider changing your routine or determine how to wash your face the right way. While it won’t make much difference if you forget to wash the makeup off once or twice a year, doing it all the time is a big no-no.

Makeup actually attracts debris to the face. It can be slightly sticky, especially if you sweat, which means dirt and dust can stick to the face. You don’t necessarily see it or feel it, but it is still there. If you don’t remove all that gunk from the face, your skin is still going to try to regenerate itself. With all the makeup on the face, the process is interrupted. Your skin can’t renew itself efficiently. Along with such, all the gunk and makeup rubs off on the pillow and ends up touching your face all night, especially if you toss and turn.

The makeup and other daily grime clogs the pores and blocks them. The dirt, dust, makeup, and sebum settles in the pores and attracts bacteria, which can cause acne.

The best thing you can do is to clean your face every night, use appropriate moisturizers and toners, as well. Having the right beauty routine is essential for glowing skin, regardless of whether you are pregnant or not.


4You Touch Your Face/Body Frequently

The best way to prevent acne during pregnancy is to teach yourself not to touch your face anymore.

Have you ever noticed just how much you touch your body and face? Your hands go everywhere, which includes germ-ridden places. Just think about all the things you touch throughout the day, such as computers, counters, toilet doors, handles, and on and on. Regardless of how often you wash your hands, they are still full of germs.

While everyone knows that public (and home) toilets are full of germs, they don’t realize that every surface is full of germs. Even if you sanitize and disinfect them, they are still full of bacteria. Think about your cell phone for a moment. You do realize that it is covered in skin oil, dead skin cells, grease, and all the bacteria from the surfaces where you set it down. You grab that phone up and put it to your face multiple times a day for calls.

Just because you think you don’t overly touch your face, you are likely wrong because most people don’t realize just how often they do it.

The best way to prevent acne during pregnancy is to teach yourself not to touch your face anymore. It’s tough to do, and most people can’t do it every time. However, just get in the habit of not touching your face. When you think about something more often, it makes you aware of how often you do it.


3The Weather can Determine if You’ll Develop Acne

If you live in an area with high humidity, you may find that pimples pop up when you least expect it.

As you can see from many of the other points listed, the skin doesn’t enjoy a change. It would prefer that everything remains the same, which just can’t happen during pregnancy. However, if you get pregnant during the season’s change, you may find that acne flares up. Some women are lucky to live in an area with a stable climate, which means they may have fewer issues with acne while pregnant. However, if you live in an area with high humidity or with humidity that frequently changes, you may find that pimples pop up when you least expect it.

Of course, the worst time for seasonal acne is when you change from summer to fall or winter. As the weather gets colder and dryer, the wind can chafe your skin, especially when moving from the outdoors to the inside of a house. When you’re pregnant, your body responds unfavorably to these changes anyway what with all the other changes going on.

If you normally get seasonal acne and you aren’t yet pregnant, you may want to try to plan a pregnancy around the seasons (yeah, right!). If that isn’t possible or you are already pregnant, it’s essential that you focus your skincare regimen around the season. You may also want to take warm (not hot) baths/showers and use a moisturizer that is more nourishing than normal.


2You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

If you don’t get enough rest, try to take a nap that day or go to bed extra early to help relax and unwind the body.

You’re pregnant, which means you’re always tired. You can’t help but feel sluggish, sometimes as early as 10 in the morning. While you probably can’t take a nap whenever you feel the need, it’s essential that you get plenty of rest. For one, your developing baby needs you to be calm, relaxed, and well-rested so that your body can nourish and grow your baby. For another, you know how lack of sleep makes you feel (and makes you break out in pimples). Lack of sleep can cause you to be irritable, eat impulsively, and lead to more stress. Of course, you already have severe mood swings, odd cravings, and stress galore, so it’s no wonder that acne can quickly follow that routine.

Instead of trying to cram a weeks’ worth of sleep into a few days, try to establish a sleep routine that meets your needs. Go to bed at the same time each night and remove any interruptions from sleep, which include cell phones. If possible, purchase a traditional alarm clock, so you don’t hear your social media notifications all night long. Make sure you are getting at least eight hours of sleep; most doctors and obstetricians recommend that pregnant women get up to 12 hours of sleep, depending on their needs. If you don’t get enough rest, try to take a nap that day or go to bed extra early to help relax and unwind the body.


1You Over-wash Your Body/Face

Using a moisturizer can help you retain the moisture your face needs to stay healthy and prevent breakouts

If you’re already prone to breakouts, you have probably learned that you should wash your face thoroughly. However, many women tend to wash their face twice a day or more often. You may sweat all day long and want to remove the grime, or you may believe that it is safe and good to wash multiple times. However, it is usually best to wash your face once a day. If you wear makeup, you should wash at the end of the day to remove the makeup. If you don’t wear makeup, you can wash anytime.

It is essential that you use a mild cleansing soap to wash with because studies have shown that harsh cleansers and those with salicylic acid may not be safe to use while pregnant. Many cleansers designed to fight acne have salicylic acid in them. Use a gentle cleansing soap, such as Jergens or Cetaphil, and face washes designed for pregnant women. You should also consider moisturizing the face. It doesn’t make sense at first to use a moisturizer if you’ve got breakouts, but putting necessary moisture into the face can prevent sebum from being overproduced. Most of the time, your body needs to be moisturized; if it doesn’t get it from an external source, the body creates it and usually too much. Therefore, using a moisturizer can help you retain the moisture your face needs to stay healthy and prevent breakouts.



While it may not seem unfair to have to deal with adult acne during pregnancy while developing and growing another human, it’s a common occurrence. It’s easy to get frustrated when you notice a pimple or two forming, but it’s best to leave it alone and let it run its course. If you notice that you do any of the above, it’s best to focus on ways to prevent acne, such as eating a healthier diet, stop touching your face, and remove makeup each night. These helpful little tips can ensure that you don’t get acne while you are pregnant or can ensure that the breakouts are few and far between.

While it is upsetting to notice acne on your face or other body parts, you shouldn’t let it bother you too much. This is an exciting and scary time for you. You’re bringing a new life into the world, so you shouldn’t worry so much about your looks. Focus on eating healthy and doing the right things so that your baby arrives healthy and happy.

If you must deal with acne because it bothers you too much, follow the helpful tips in this article. You can also talk to your doctor about OTC or prescription medications that can help without harming the baby.