How do you treat body acne during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, hormones fluctuate like crazy, often setting off acne you may not have experienced since high school. (Hormones can cue the body to create sebum; when hormones spike during pregnancy, so would the sebum that clogs pores and causes pimples). You treat body acne during pregnancy more cautiously than you do acne on your face, with gentle cleansing, low doses of salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, and consistent moisturizing to keep skin from drying out and causing even more redness/inflammation.

For pregnant patients with truncal acne (on the chest/body), Dr. Kellie Reed, a board-certified dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology in Austin, Texas, suggests “over-the-counter treatment options including salicylic acid 2% or less, benzoyl peroxide 5% or less, and any azelaic acid” and prescribed medications, when necessary.

Certain prescription acne medications and stronger topical creams aren’t recommended for pregnant women, so it’s important to talk to a dermatologist or doctor who knows you’re pregnant to determine the best treatment plan. Isotretinoin, Tazarotene, and Spironolactone, are three known acne medications with risk of miscarriage and birth defects, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, and each of those drugs is known by a handful of different brand names.1 The AAD also recommends stopping acne treatment that contains retinoids, like adapalene (Differin gel) and tretinoin (Retin-A).2

Studies are never performed on pregnant woman, so it can be unknown, murky territory. What the AAD considers safe for pregnant women with acne include: light therapy, benzoyl peroxide, some topical antibiotic creams and oral antibiotics, and salicylic acid.3
The most important thing for you to takeaway here is that certain medications can have serious consequences for pregnant women, so do not use internet explainers—yes, like this one—to inform your decision-making. Go directly to your doctor to determine a skincare plan during pregnancy.

1,2,3Is any acne treatment safe to use during pregnancy? by the American Academy of Dermatology Association.

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Body Acne

Breakouts that occur in areas with high concentrations of oil glands.

Also Called

Bacne, blackheads, pimples, pustules, “ass”-ne

Looks Like

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Frequently Found On

Back, chest, butt

Related Concerns

Learn More: Body Acne