Pregnancy is a life-changing journey. You get to rock that new cute baby bump and you are also looking forward to the birth of your little one. With all these exciting changes, there are also the dreaded ones – like pimples and acne.
So, why are you breaking out now that you’re pregnant? And how do you get rid of it? We take a look at understanding more about pregnancy acne.
1. Increased hormone levels
As changes are happening inside your body, it can also show up on the skin. In the first trimester, your body experiences an increase in hormone levels – particularly for this type of hormone called androgens. The surge in progesterone, which belongs in androgen hormones, helps your uterus prepare for supporting a growing baby.
But high levels of this hormone will also lead to a consequential increase in oil production and create a hospitable environment for acne-causing bacteria to grow excessively. Your skin can easily feel greasy and slick, and all that excess oil can clog your pores to cause more breakouts.
2. Acne can get worse during the third trimester
During the third trimester, your androgen levels get extremely high and this causes the acne to become worse. The rise in androgens actually helps to prepare the cervix for labour, which explains why they increase as you inch closer to a full-term.
Plus, if a pregnant woman is feeling more stressed out than usual, this can increase the levels of stress hormones. As such, new breakouts can develop or existing acne can be worsened. Acne also looks similar to regular adult acne – which means you can expect comedones, papules, pustules and cysts to appear on the skin.
3. Acne varies from one pregnant woman to the other
While it is common to have acne during pregnancy, some pregnant women may not have to deal with breakouts. Others may actually find their existing acne clearing up and they get to enjoy the desirable healthy pregnancy glow. Others will notice no discernible change in their skin, good or bad.
But if you’ve had acne at any time before, you are more likely to break out during pregnancy. According to a 2017 study in the Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Related Fields, 90% of participants who developed acne during pregnancy were already having acne before they were pregnant. It seems more likely that having a previous history of acne can be a strong risk factor for pregnancy acne.
4. Acne can be treated while you’re pregnant
Acne that appears during pregnancy usually goes away on its own when hormone levels return to normal. However, sometimes, the acne can still persist even after the baby is born. There are also times where some pregnant women face severe acne, and they don’t wish to wait until after the baby is born to do something about their acne. When acne is not kept under control, they can also lead to permanent scarring and skin pigmentation.
Care must be taken when choosing acne treatments. There are certain acne medications (e.g. isotretinoin) and over-the-counter products (e.g. salicylic acid) that are not suitable for pregnant or nursing mothers. As such, it is always a good idea to check with a doctor for an acne treatment plan that’s safe for you and your baby.
Gold Photothermal Therapy treatment (PTT)
The Gold Photothermal Therapy treatment (PTT) is a non-invasive treatment for acne that is safe for pregnant women. Using a combination of laser treatment, Ultrasound Sonophoresis and gold nanoparticles, the treatment helps to treat acne by breaking down overactive sebaceous glands in the pores that helps reduce oil secretion and kill acne-causing bacteria to alleviate acne symptoms. With lesser oily sebum produced and lower bacterial activity, this can decrease the chances of clogged pores and inflammation.
Gold PTT nanoparticles are applied to the treated area and an ultrasound device will help to deliver it into the pores. Afterwards, specialised lasers will ‘excite’ the gold nanoparticles to create heat energy that’s effective in acne removal and preventing future outbreaks. Gold PTT is safe during pregnancy as they are not absorbed by the body and will shed away with dead skin tissue. Relatively painless and comfortable, the treatment is also localised (focuses on targeted area and leave surrounding tissues unaffected) and has no downtime.