If this is Baby #1, you’re likely extra enthusiastic to begin navigating the mighty waters of pregnancy. You’re going to glow like a beacon, hang out in comfy clothes without questions, and get celebrity star treatment day in and day out. Experiencing pregnancy is one of the best times of your life! You’re growing an amazing miracle inside your belly and it’s such a thrill you walk around with a big smile permanently pasted on your face.
While it’s true that pregnancy can give you a confidence boost unlike anything else, some women quickly realize they’re not going to glide through pregnancy with much ease or grace. From chronic back pain to excessive bloating, there are some conditions that make you want to crawl into a hole for the rest of your expectant months, and there’s nothing that elicits that feeling more than P. acnes, otherwise known as dreaded and cringe-inducing “acne.”
Blackheads, whiteheads, pustules, cysts, and nodules are the words of some pregnancy nightmares. You’re ready to shine throughout some of the best months of your life and instead you’re upstaged with an embarrassing, and sometimes painful, case of acne. Worst of all, the acne may not just be on one part of your body but on several.
Your face, back, arms, and other areas can be hit with varying degrees of acne if your body starts pumping out androgen hormones in spades; the springboard to excessive oil gland, or sebum, production. Thankfully, you’re not a complete slave to your hormones! There are plenty of ways to battle the acne army with great success, just be sure to discuss any changes with your healthcare provider first.
7 Supercharge Your Diet
Your diet can change and even cure all kinds of ailments and acne is no different. Diet is a weird and wonderful thing during pregnancy. Sweet, salty, sour, or spicy, or a combination, the cravings of expectant mothers can be all over the map. If you’re one of the lucky expectant moms, you’re craving fresh fruits and vegetables like a bear after honey. But if you’re not living in a real-life fairytale, your eyes are going wide for just about any junk or fast food you can get your hands on.
Though it’s perfectly fine to indulge some cravings, (c’mon, you’ve got to satisfy at least some of those urges!) it’s important to understand which foods can help you face some of the not-so-pretty aspects of having a baby. Some of the most beneficial foods for treating acne include those that offer up an ample supply of antioxidants. This is a word we hear often but just what are these miracle-sounding nutrients?
Berries Are Fruits Rich in Antioxidants
Some of the best-known antioxidants include vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E and the minerals selenium and zinc. Other, more funky-sounding antioxidants include indoles, lycopene, and lutein. These rich, acne-busting powerhouses protect our immune systems and skin from free radicals and are found in pomegranates, blueberries, garlic, broccoli, lean meat, nuts, vegetable oils, fish and a slew of other tasty foods.
The great thing about adopting healing foods into your diet is there are so many different foods to choose from. If you’re a vegetarian, you’ll be avoiding lean meat and likely fish too but you can definitely get your daily does of antioxidants through a huge variety of fruits and vegetables that can make a fast snack, be thrown into salads and sides, and added to countless main dish recipes.
6 Use Breakfast to Treat Your Skin
When a bad acne breakout hits, some will go running to old, favorite acne creams often containing salicylic acid and/or benzyl peroxide. Most expectant mothers avoid these ingredients like the plague as there’s little research on possible long term effects on developing fetuses.
When you’re looking for acne solutions, look no farther than your breakfast plate! Some popular morning foods actually make terrific, natural remedies for prenatal acne conditions. Oatmeal, honey, and eggs are three favorites for banishing acne and can be used individually or as a combination. Best of all, these natural ingredients are safe for baby and beat out expensive lotions and over-the-counter acne creams.
If you choose to use oatmeal or steel cut oats, buying a cheap coffee grinder is a good idea. Find oats in your grocery store’s cereal isle and snap up a big bag of it:
- Prepare your oatmeal acne-fighting facial by grinding it up into powder but keep it coarse—you’ll want its wondrous exfoliating powers to work and fine powder just won’t do much.
- Throw enough olive oil or milk in to create an almost soupy paste.
- Wash your entire face and neck area with the paste and rinse with cool to cold water.
- Alternatively, cook the oats according to instruction and, once cooled, apply as a mask for 20-30 minutes to reduce irritation, redness, and swelling.
Exfoliation is the key to removing the sebum, dead skin cells, and dirt that can build up and cause acne and oatmeal definitely does the trick. While the gunk flakes off, this mask also helps remove black and whiteheads which can cause acne.
Boasting natural antiseptic superpowers, honey is another of those morning favorites that can, over a short time, transform your skin. It will kill off the bad bacteria that cause acne in the first place. Using honey for prenatal acne is a no-brainer:
- Spread the honey across the afflicted area.
- Leave the thin mask on for about 10 minutes
- Rinse with warm water
- Aim for an application three times daily depending on the severity of your breakout(s).
- If your skin is already on the oilier side, you can mix the honey with a small amount of water, and even add in a touch of oatmeal to create a paste.
Eggs are nature’s astringent, helping to tone problem skin like acne. Though you won’t have this remedy poached, fried, or scrambled, there’s a high chance regular use of raw egg masks will help clear acne up by also lifting dirt off your skin as they dry:
- Crack an egg of your choice into a bowl, separating—and keeping—the yolk from the white.
- Beat the egg white well, ensuring it’s frothy in texture, and spread over your entire face for 5 minutes.
- Pop open the reserved egg yolk and apply over freshly rinsed skin for another 5 minutes and rinse.
- Follow the treatment with an ice cube over your face to tighten up your freshly cleansed pores.
5 Use a Natural Toner to Establish Your Skin’s pH Balance
Your skin is your first line of defense for environmental, and other, irritants. It is your natural body armor so keeping it at a proper pH level is essential for fighting acne. Free fatty acids—otherwise known as sebum—is what skin’s acid mantle is comprised of.
Sebum is pumped out from sebaceous glands, mixing with amino and lactic acids, creating pH balance in your skin and locking in lipids which keep skin hydrated. Ideally, our skin should be at an average of 5.5 pH, which is somewhat acidic. When your pH balance is out of whack, your skin can show some serious signs of neglect.
The first rule of thumb is to keep your skin as clean as possible (and avoid drying agents like soap). Cleaning your skin with a natural and effective toner like witch hazel could make your skin cry out for joy if it could! Toners, like apple cider vinegar, establish your skin’s proper pH levels and help restore your skin’s acid mantle. If your acid mantle is weakened, irregular bacteria growth can occur, making your skin vulnerable to infections and diseases.
You Don't Want to Further Irritate Your Skin
Absorb skin’s oil overload by using a cotton pad and thoroughly wiping your face with witch hazel several times a day if possible. If you have some time mixed with moderate ambition, you can make your own apple cider vinegar toner with a ton of benefits for your skin and solutions for acne. Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting juicy apples pumped up with pectin, calcium, potassium, alpha-hydroxy and malic acids.
Fermentation strengthens the final product with beneficial enzymes and acids. ACV as a toner acts as an antibacterial and antiseptic agent and is useful for both acne-prone skin and battles conditions like rosacea and eczema. To make homemade ACV toner, use a brand that is both raw and unfiltered:
- Combine four parts distilled water with one part ACV for sin that is sensitive.
- Use two parts water and one part ACV for skin that is normal.
- Add one part of water to one part ACV for skin that’s excessively oily.
4 Change Your Makeup Routine
Many experts are against the use of any makeup at all on prenatal acne, believing it can cause further irritation from the ingredients as well as clog up your pores and make the problem worse. Let’s face it, when you’ve got prenatal pimples, cysts, and other acne symptoms, makeup can seem very appealing to literally mask the issue.
The best thing of all is adopt a routine that doesn’t include any makeup, as makeup itself can cause acne, but if you absolutely cannot live without some cosmetic products in your beauty routine, there are a few key things to be aware of.
If you’re bound and determined to continue using cosmetics, be sure to purchase products that are water-based and oil-free and perform a patch test first before using new products on your skin. If you’re analyzing your current beauty products, or shopping for new ones, look for descriptions that include the words “non-acnegenic” or “non-comedogenic.”
You Don't Want to Clog Your Pores Even More
These two fancy terms simply mean that following tests, products labeled as such have not been shown to clog pores. If a substance is found to be comedogenic, then it has been proven to do any or all of the following:
- Contributes to the clogging of pores by triggering sebum’s sticky factor. Gross, right? When your pores are clogged, acne-producing bacteria starts to grow inside your follicles, leading to irritation and inflammation.
- Jump-start an allergic reaction and/or serious inflammation.
- Be found as a food source for the bacteria that cause acne.
- When exposed to certain skin types or UV light, a substance becomes comedogenic.
Pregnancy Acne Sucks!
If you’re suffering from prenatal acne, you’re in one of three boats; you’ve suffered from acne in the past, were already suffering from acne pre-pregnancy and now it’s worse, or your newly wonderful pregnancy has kick-started a not-so-wonderful chain of events on your face, chest, back etc.
No matter the boat, it’s a rocky one! If you’re planning on covering up your acne with makeup, you can hit the internet for some fabulous makeup tutorials specifically for covering acne and acne scars. Some pretty amazing transformations happen when cosmetics are applied over acne in just the right way.
3 Harness the Powers of Turmeric
Turmeric has been used for centuries in recipes around the world but also as a skin treatment in Asian and Eastern countries. It is part of the ginger family, has a warm, peppery, and bitter flavor with a mild smell reminiscent of oranges and ginger. It’s another solution to add to the long list of natural remedies found to be extremely effective for prenatal acne and other pesky skin problems.
With some superstar antimicrobial, antiseptic, and antibacterial powers, turmeric can be used on mild and moderate problem areas without worry of any negative effects on your growing baby.
The active agent in turmeric is a photochemical called curcumin, which offers a host of benefits both inside and outside your body. Some studies have even shown that turmeric is almost ten times stronger than vitamin E when used on skin.
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Applying turmeric to skin that goes into full acne mode when you are pregnant can obliterate P. acnes bacteria that can cause your skin to become red, swollen, and blanketed by pimples. It can also subside and even stop your skin from creating the extra oil that can cause or add to pimples.
To apply turmeric to your skin to prevent and treat acne, you’ll make a simple paste which can be used anywhere you have annoying breakouts. Several different ingredients can be used to make turmeric facials:
Turmeric and Oatmeal
This recipe uses both turmeric and oatmeal which is perfect if you’re in need of some extra exfoliation. Take a ½ tsp of turmeric, one tbsp of lentil powder, and one tbsp of ground oatmeal or oatmeal flour. Mix with water, stir until a smooth paste is created and apply to your affected areas for 20 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
Turmeric and Yogurt
If your skin is especially inflamed and painful, combining turmeric with yogurt creates a cooling and therapeutic mask. Blend ½ tsp turmeric with 2 tsps of plain yogurt and a ¼ tsp of honey. Apply the mask and leave it on for about a half-hour before rinsing off with cool water, which will tighten pores.
Turmeric, Milk and Honey
One of the most common turmeric acne pastes includes raw honey and milk. Mix four tbsp turmeric with four tbsp of raw honey and one tbsp of milk. Blend the mixture into a fine paste and apply to affected areas for a half-hour before rinsing.
2 Therapeutic Baths
If you’re one of the many pregnant women who are breaking out below the neckline, you’ll need a routine that will combat body acne.
Thankfully there are plenty of healing bath remedies safe for both you and your baby. Soaking in a warm bath also feel great! Especially for women suffering from chronic, prenatal back pain, swollen feet, and other types of body pain.
Epsom salt is a mineral compound of sulfate and magnesium. The name stems from Epsom, England, where the original blend was discovered within an area where natural healing baths were used. Therefore, it’s not a traditional salt (really, it’s not a salt at all) such as table salt which is created with sodium chloride.
The magnesium in Epsom salts is what appears to have the highest healing properties and work well on healing and staving off acne. Consult the directions on the Epsom salts packaging and mix your bath accordingly.
Baking soda is also known as a dependable treatment for mild to moderate body acne and can even help lessen severe cases. Baking soda reduces inflammation and is effective in killing bacteria that causes acne in the first place. Treating prenatal acne with baking soda is simple and inexpensive. A paste can also be made to gently exfoliate and cleanse facial skin.
To make a baking soda healing bath, add up to two cup to a bathtub of warm water and soak in it for at least 20 minutes. Try gently rubbing the skin while sitting in the bath to slough off dead skin cells that can contribute to clogged pores. When you’re ready to get out, pat your sin dry instead of rinsing off.
Tea tree oil is another substance used for centuries on all types of skin ailments. It soothes while disinfecting and can be used on everything from bruises and cuts to facial and body acne. The oil of the tea tree infiltrates the blockage between your sebaceous glands and your skin, helping to clear up your pores. It also dries out and disinfects pores which can help eliminate blackheads and whiteheads.
Best of all, it’s another natural option that won’t leave your pockets empty unlike some highly marketed and expensive acne treatments.
To utilize the benefits of tea tree oil in the bath, fill a clean, empty bottle with water, add around ten drops of undiluted tea tree oil, and shake to blend. Squeeze your mixture onto the parts of your body affected by prenatal acne while you’re sitting in your warm water bath. When your soak is complete, dry off as you usually do, leaving the solution working on your skin.
1 Light Therapy
Many ancient cultures have practiced multiple forms of light therapy (also known as phototherapy and/or heliotherapy) including the people of Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece, and Ancient Egypt. Early German pioneers, the Inca of Peru, and the ancient Assyrian from modern-day Iraq were all sun-worshippers who viewed the sun as a deity that brought health to their people.
Medical literature from India and early Buddhist literature both reference light treatment for various ailments. Today, light therapy is widely used to treat and regenerate skin, balance hormones, and smooth out facial wrinkles.
Many people have turned to light therapy to help fight acne while avoiding antibiotics and other harsh drugs. Essentially, when affected areas are exposed, light therapy works by killing off acne-causing bacteria using different types of light. The most common type of light is blue light but a blend of both blue and red lights have shown numerous benefits for different skin conditions including acne.
Try a Blue Light in your Bedroom to Stop Acne From Invading
The blue light spectrum kills bacteria trapped inside your pores by the excess sebum your skin is emitting. Combining light therapy with a regular cleansing and treatment procedure can be a great way to diminish bacteria, shrink existing acne, and keep your skin clear and problem-free.
Though some might think of light therapy as harmful, it’s different than the UV rays that cause skin damage and even cancer, and is offered in highly controlled doses. Your doctor may offer safe levels of light therapy directly from his or her medical office or refer you to a doctor who administers it.
Prior to using light therapy, your doctor or dermatologist may apply a lotion that makes your skin more light sensitive, harnessing the benefits light will provide. Usually anyone receiving light therapy will attend sessions multiple times as all bacteria cannot be killed in just one session which provides a safe, pre-prescribed amount of light.
While infrared blue lights are used to killing bacteria, infrared red light therapy is another spectrum which, when combined with blue light therapy, can be an excellent solution for treating acne. Where infrared blue lights kill bacteria, infrared red lights’ dominant function is that can speed up the healing of wounds, encourage collagen production, and help to fight, and even banish scars and age spots.
As an added bonus, light therapy can also be used for treating pre and postnatal depression.