Pregnancy glow vs. pregnancy skin

By Jessica Sedevie, MD Mar 10, 2017

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With pregnancy comes many changes to a woman and her body — the body is undergoing an entire renovation to take care of a growing baby, causing side effects such as morning sickness, fatigue and more. Of the many side effects women experience during early pregnancy, one of the most appreciated is pregnancy glow.

When you are pregnant, blood volume nearly doubles and progesterone levels increase, leading to increased blood flow to the face. This results in rosier cheeks and a radiant appearance often referred to as pregnancy glow.

Pregnancy glow is one of the many perks of pregnancy; however, along with pregnancy glow, some women can experience increased acne. Minimizing and reducing this acne is more challenging during pregnancy due to product limitations to prevent harm to your baby. If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant:

  • Prescriptions retinoids including oral isotretinoin and topical tazarotene should not be used as these can cause birth defects.
  • Avoid oral tetracyclines because they can cause staining to baby’s developing teeth.
  • Skin may be more sensitive, so unscented moisturizer and sun and wind protection should be used.

If you are concerned about pregnancy acne, talk to your provider about using topical antibiotics or azelaic acids. Many over-the-counter acne treatments contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. These medications have not been linked to birth defects; however, we lack data to say for certain they are safe. There is likely little absorption into the blood stream if used as a wash with short contact with your skin, and therefore little exposure to your baby. To be certain, discuss medications and options with your OB provider. If your symptoms are more severe, you can discuss non-medical spa treatments or ask for a referral to dermatology.

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