Not everyone gets a glow during pregnancy. For some women, pregnancy comes with skin issues, which is completely normal. Like all the other issues aren’t enough! These skin issues include: acne, dryness, itchiness, stretch marks, melasma(a condition in which brown/dark patches appear on the face) and rashes among others.
Acne is one of the most common skin problems during pregnancy and with all these changes happening, acne can put a damper on you and your self image. So first things first let's shall dive into the cause. We have to get to the root of the problem to solve the problem, remember?
The cause of acne during pregnancy
“Acne is normally caused by excess oil and bacteria through germs/dirt or fungi through dandruff in our hair or scalp. Therefore, when pores are blocked by fungi/ bacteria or dead skin cells, oil (sebum) can’t escape, a pimple is formed,” says Dr Hashim Shaukatali Kaderbhai , a Dermatologist and Venereologist at the M.P Shah Hospital Nairobi.
“Most women will experience fungal acne because of their hair. This is evident through pimples that form around the forehead. On the other hand, cases of bacterial acne occur when there is frequent face-touching,” adds Dr Hashim.
However, some women, when pregnant, are more prone to acne since their bodies produce excess oil due to an increase in a hormone called androgen. This usually happens in the first and second trimester and can be quite severe. In such a case, it can be quite difficult to treat as some over-the-counter medicines are not safe for the baby.
How to treat acne during pregnancy
According to Dr Hashim, you can manage acne during this period but it depends on the trimester and severity of the acne.
1. Avoid touching of the face or pimple popping(leads to scarring)
2. Always wear a clean mask. If using a surgical mask dispose and use a new one daily. If it’s reusable, wash properly daily.
3. Wash your face for one minute.
4. Wash your hair at least once a week.
5. Seek medical attention for prescribed medication
He further explains why it’s important not to prescribe for yourself medication or face products, “How you treat acne normally depends on the type, severity and period of time you’ve been facing the issue. Most products are created for a specific type of acne. So if you use products that aren’t meant for the problem you’re facing then everything becomes problematic. You will mismanage the acne and as a result get a lot of scaring (in some cases permanent) and hyperpigmentation. This will make it more difficult to treat it and for some, you may end up with permanent damage, especially if using unprescribed peeling solutions.”
Other ways to deal with acne during pregnancy:
- Eat foods that help in nourishing your skin
It always boils down to what you take into your system and food is our natural healer. Granted, the main cause here is not your food but your hormones. However, consuming the wrong kinds of foods, will only contribute to more nasty pimples all over your face. Therefore for the sake of your skin, avoid a lot of junk food and stock up on foods that are nourishing.
Among them are foods that are rich in collagen, vitamin C, A and E. They will definitely promote a healthy skin.
Also try juicing, for instance the simplest way could be taking orange juice daily. Orange juice contains vitamin C which helps in the formation of collagen. Collagen is responsible for healing and renewing your skin.
Furthermore, incorporating vegetables such as cabbage and carrots in your daily diet will definitely help as well. Cabbages are rich in collagen and carrots are rich in vitamin A which protects us against free radicals from the sun. Free radicals are responsible for breaking down collagen resulting in wrinkly skin or dark spots/ hyper pigmentation. Note that free radicals are not only from the sun but also from alcohol, cigarette smoke and dust among others.
Exercise definitely boosts your skin’s health especially through blood circulation. This promotes the necessary nutrients needed by the skin to fight or heal acne. However you need to be extra cautious about the exercises you’re taking. Walking, cycling on a stationary bicycle and swimming are good options. However I recommend you ask your clinic doctor for more advice.
In addition to what the doctor mentioned earlier, it is also recommended that you:
- Use products that are appropriate for your skin type.
For instance, someone with oily skin requires foam or gel cleansers to control the oiliness while a person with dry skin requires more hydrating products.
- Use a silk pillowcase and change it often
Using a silk pillow case makes a difference. Silk compared to other fabric doesn’t draw moisture from the skin as you sleep and also prevents formation of fine lines on your face. Silk also feels great on your face as you sleep. (Hello comfort!) Isn’t that what we also need especially during this period?
- Use clean hands to wash your face, avoid using a face towel
Face towels, all towels, harbour bacteria and that’s what we need to avoid. So to wash your face properly clean your hands and foam the cleanser in them then gently wash your face.
- Be easy on your face
For instance while cleansing like I’ve said use your hands as other means can be harsh on your skin which can definitely cause irritation.
Also be careful not to over-cleanse your face. According to Dr Hashim, it is advisable to wash your face twice daily for about two-three minutes.
Good skin is a combination of different efforts. Follow the tips offered above religiously and you will get the kind of skin you want to achieve.
Besides that, it’s important to seek an expert's advice on anything related to your health. Your skin, the largest organ in your body, is part of your health and a very sensitive one. “You see nowadays many people follow social media influencer's, blogger's and youtuber's advice, most of who may have little idea on dermatological care, on products and supplements to take. However, there is a very high possibility not everything that’s worked for them will work for you,” says Dr Hashim.
He further explains the importance of seeing a dermatological expert by giving an analogy of a punctured tire, “It will save you so much damage, cost and time to take it to a garage as soon as you get the problem.”