Acne in Pregnancy – How Hormonal Upheaval Affects Your Skin

by L Matthews on August 21, 2017

acne in pregnancyMany people experience acne in pregnancy, but this occurrence of acne is not a sign of a specific skin disease. Instead, acne in pregnancy is typically caused by an overproduction of sebum prompted by hormonal changes. In people with acne prior to pregnancy, the skin issue may get worse. In others, problem skin might actual look and feel better during pregnancy. Once hormones return to baseline after pregnancy, acne and other skin changes usually resolve without lasting effects.

Why do people get acne in pregnancy?

Acne in pregnancy is very common. Around half of pregnant people develop acne, with some cases more severe than others. The first trimester is the usual time when acne arises as this is when higher levels of certain hormones prompt greater production of sebum (oil) in the skin.


The main culprit for acne in pregnancy are androgens, the so-called ‘male hormones’. These hormones increase the size and output of sebaceous glands in the skin and are also the cause of acne in polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). The resulting increase in sebum production, in combination with dead skin cells, can cause pores to become blocked. This leads to a favourable environment for bacterial growth, which can the trigger inflammation and acne.

Will I get Acne in Pregnancy?

If acne tends to affect you at the beginning of your menstrual cycle, or if you have a general history of acne, you are more likely to develop acne while pregnant. If you’re acne-free during your first trimester, however, you’re unlikely to suffer from acne in your second and third trimesters. As noted earlier, some people actually find that their acne clears up while they’re pregnant!

As with any medical issue in pregnancy (or when trying to conceive), it is important to talk to your physician prior to taking any medications or supplements. Unless acne is severe and debilitating, it is usually safest to avoid prescription acne drugs or other pharmaceutical treatments available over the counter. Instead, you might try using drug-free home remedies for acne in pregnancy.


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