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Pregnancy acne: What's the best treatment?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pregnancy-acne/AN02106
- With Mayo Clinic dermatologist
Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.read biographyclose window
Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.
Dr. Lawrence Gibson likens bad health information on the Internet to food poisoning.
Consumers, he says, need to be aware and will find reliable information at MayoClinic.com.
Dr. Gibson, a Covington, Ky., native, has been with Mayo Clinic since 1986 and is board certified in dermatology, dermatopathology and immunodermatology. He is a professor of dermatology at Mayo Medical School and a consultant in the Department of Dermatology.
Dr. Gibson has served as the fellowship director for dermatopathology and as chair of the Laboratory Division in the Department of Dermatology. He is especially interested in inflammatory disorders of the skin, including vasculitis, and in lymphoma affecting the skin.
"Electronic information has become a staple in the diet of a health conscious society," he says. "It's important to avoid misinformation and provide a credible source for health information. Using this analogy, it's critical to avoid 'indigestion' or, worse yet, 'food poisoning' by the ingestion of tainted information."
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Pregnancy acne: What's the best treatment?
What's the best way to treat pregnancy acne?
from Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.
You have many options for treating acne during pregnancy, including self-care and medication.
Pregnancy acne isn't a special form of acne. Many women simply seem to have trouble with acne during pregnancy. Although it isn't always clear what causes acne to get worse during pregnancy, the likely culprit for most women is an overproduction of oil (sebum) — which happens when certain hormones go into overdrive. Fortunately, you're not at the mercy of your hormones.
To treat pregnancy acne, start with self-care:
- Wash your face twice a day. Be gentle and use a mild cleanser with lukewarm water.
- If you have oily hair, shampoo daily. Be careful to keep hair off your face.
- Avoid picking, scratching, popping or squeezing acne sores. These habits can spread infection and potentially cause scarring.
- If you use cosmetics, stick to oil-free products. Look for descriptions such as water-based, noncomedogenic or nonacnegenic.
- Avoid resting your face in your hands. This can trap skin oils and sweat, which can irritate acne.
Medication is a second line of treatment for pregnancy acne. Any medication that's applied to your skin or swallowed can enter your bloodstream, so it's important to exercise caution during pregnancy — even with over-the-counter products.
Erythromycin (Erygel) is often the drug of choice for pregnancy acne. Azelaic acid (Azelex, Finacea) may be another option. Both medications are typically applied to the skin as a lotion or gel and are available by prescription.
Opinions about using benzoyl peroxide to treat pregnancy acne are mixed. There's little research on the safety of over-the-counter or prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide during pregnancy, although problems haven't been reported. In addition, any medication that could potentially cause birth defects — including isotretinoin and other retinoids, as well as minocycline, doxycycline and other tetracyclines — is generally avoided during pregnancy.
If you're concerned about pregnancy acne, consult your dermatologist or the health care provider who's handling your pregnancy. Together you can weigh the benefits and risks of various treatment options.Next question
Antibiotics and pregnancy: What's safe?
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- Strauss JS, et al. Guidelines of care for acne vulgaris management. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2007;56:651.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 23, 2010.
- van Hoogdalem EJ. Transdermal absorption of topical anti-acne agents in man; Review of clinical pharmacokinetic data. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 1998;11(suppl):S13.
- Harms RW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 13, 2010.