This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

Has your face just suddenly dialed back to your teenage years now that you’re pregnant?

You thought that awful skin and big zit were behind you right?

Unfortunately, pregnancy acne is a common symptom a lot of mom have to deal with.

Even if you’ve never been prone to acne before, you may suddenly suffer from acne during pregnancy.

Thanks for that one Mother Nature!

Acne can be annoying, especially when everyone has told you that pregnancy will make your skin glow.

The only glowing you’re seeing is the bright red pimples shining like Rudolph’s nose.

Jokes Aside, pregnancy acne can be awful. Not only is it painful but it can really knock your confidence too.

I’ve written this guide to help you to treat your pregnancy acne. These treatments may not completely take your pregnancy acne away, but they will make an improvement to your skin.

Let’s do this

Pin for Later

Pregnancy Acne | Are you dealing with terrible acne skin during pregnanacy? Acne can be painful and embarrasing as an adult. Learn 8 ways to cope with it and natural remedies for acne during pregnancy. Stork Mama

What Causes Acne during Pregnancy?

You probably already know that pregnancy makes your hormones go crazy.

Progesterone is one of those hormones. Your progesterone levels start increasing around 6 weeks into your pregnancy. This sudden rise can cause your skin to start releasing more sebum (oil) than it normally would.

All that extra oil can cause your pore to become blocked, resulting in all those nasty pimples.

8 Ways to Cope With Pregnancy Acne

These tips will help to tackle the effects of all that extra skin oil. Unfortunately, your pregnancy acne won’t disappear overnight; it will take some work.

These tips may seem simple, but following them consistently will help to reduce the chances of a huge pimple breakout.

1. Cleanse Twice a day

Make it a priority to start looking after your skin. You’ll need to use a gentle cleanser at least twice a day, in the morning and at night.

Thoroughly remove any makeup before you go to bed.

Regular cleansing will help keep your excessing oil production under control. It will also remove any bacteria from your face and reduce the chance of large pimples.

2. Don’t Scrub

IT can be tempting to scrub your face to try and remove as much oil as possible. Unfortunately, this will only irritate your sensitive pregnancy skin further.

Plus using facial scrubs or harsh soaps can make your pregnancy acne worse. That’s because your natural oils are removed, and so your dry skin works extra hard to replace them.

Opt for gentle or natural products with few ingredients when possible. Don’t be afraid to switch brands.

3. Use oil-free products

I’d always recommend keeping your skin well hydrated with a good moisturizer before using other products. Remember dry skin will overcompensate by producing more oil.

Your skin will then benefit from oil-free products for the rest of your skincare regime. These will help to prevent the dreaded oil slick look throughout the day.

4. Change your pillowcases

You spend a lot of your day sleeping or attempting to when you’re pregnant. As your head rests on your pillowcase, they mop up all the sweat and dirt from your hair and skin.

All of that transfers back and forward between your face each time you sleep.

Buy a new set of pillowcases to rotate as you wash them every few days. Get into the habit of cleaning them more regularly than you normally would.

This simple trick can make a huge difference to your skin.

5. Tie up your hair

Have you noticed your hair getting thicker during your pregnancy?

That’s caused by the other main pregnancy hormone called estrogen. That means there is a lot more of your hair to get greasier and touch your face.

I’d recommend tying your hair back wherever possible. It means your less likely to touch your hair or face throughout the day.

If you tie your hair back as you sleep the oils on your hair won’t press against your skin as you sleep.

6. Don’t pick

Whatever you don, try to resist the urge to pick your pimples.

I know, I know that can be torture, I totally understand as a fellow pimple popper.

However, your run the risk of causing permeant scaring to your skin when you do this. Also you pregnant, immune system is less able to deal with the bacteria and other nasties on your fingertips and in your nails.

A good cover-up will become your best friend. Always remember to use cleanse hands or makeup brushes when applying it.

7. Eat and drink right

You already know that a good diet will help your skin.

It can be really difficult during pregnancy, especially if you have mad cravings or bad morning sickness.

Try to get as much fruit and vegetable into your diet as possible. Smoothies are a great way to do this.

Avoid too much sugar and fried foods, as these can worsen your acne symptoms.

The top it all off by drinking around half a gallon of water each day. This will prevent your skin from drying out and causing your skin to produce more oil.

8. See a doctor

If a good skin care routine and diet changes aren’t helping, then you need to see a dermatologist.

They will be able to discuss pregnancy safe treatments that will tackle your acne.

Treatment soften include:

  • Mediated washes
  • Antibiotic treatments
  • Light therapy

Your doctor will be able to advise the best treatment for you depending on the severity and your pregnancy history.

Related: 8 Annoying Pregnancy Skin Issues

Acne Products to Avoid In Pregnancy

Over the Counter Acne Products

The safety of over the counter acne products is unknown during pregnancy. It’s unlikely that the amounts that are absorbed are enough to harm your baby, but they also can’t be classed as safe.

Ingredient best to avoid during pregnancy include:

  • benzoyl peroxide
  • salicylic acid
  • Retinoids

Check that any acne product you use is free of these ingredients.

Acne Medication

Most oral acne medication should be avoided during pregnancy.  The most common include:

  • Isotretinoin
  • Spironolactone
  • Tazarotene

All of these medications are known to potentially cause birth defects.

If you’ve just found out, you are pregnant and use acne medication, discuss with your doctor if it’s safe to continue using it.

You may prefer to stop taking acne medication when trying to conceive or in the first trimester when the risk to your baby is higher.

6 Natural remedies for Pregnancy Acne

With all the uncertainty about how safe, certain acne products are, it may be best to go for more natural options. Check out this list of natural acne-fighting products to try for your pregnancy acne.

Tea tree

Using tea tree oil on your skin is an age old remedy for acne. This oil has antibacterial properties and will help to heal your skin.

All you need is a few drops of oil on a clean cotton pad. Dab it over the affected areas.

Don’t go overboard as too much can dry your skin out.


Studies have shown that a good zinc supplement can help with mild acne.

Zinc is known to help with inflammation and fight of bacteria which can worsen your acne.

You may already be taking a pregnancy supplement which contains zinc so check to see if it meets your daily requirements.

A good diet of meats, nuts, and whole grains will help you to keep your zinc levels high.

Vitamin C

A good dose of vitamin C is perfect for fighting the redness caused by acne. Its properties also help to re-built healthy skin that has been affected by large breakouts.

Again your pregnancy vitamins may already contain your daily dose. Also, food containing Vitamin C will boost your daily levels Including broccoli, bell peppers, oranges, and strawberries.

A vitamin C serum is a great way to moisturize your skin overnight to prevent it from drying out after cleaning.


Poor gut health can be a reason for your pregnancy acne. Progesterone can slow down your digestive system causing a lot of issues for your gut.

An easy way to fix your gut health is to take a good probiotic supplement. They are well known for helping with acne symptoms.

A word of warning, your acne may get slightly worse for a few days as your gut bacteria corrects itself. Your skin should start to get better after a week or so of regular use.

Charcoal face mask

Activated charcoal is a safe and natural way to deal with your oily skin during pregnancy. The charcoal will help to draw the toxins and oil from your skin.

You can buy a charcoal face mask products or activated charcoal powder which you’ll need to mix.

Slater the mix all over your face and leave for around 15-20 minutes. Once you wash the mask off, you should moisturize to prevent your skin from drying out.

Witch Hazel

One of the best remedies to use for your acne is a witch hazel astringent.

It’s a triple threat for your acne by reducing inflammation, redness and mopping up excess oil. Using witch hazel can make it difficult for bacteria to grow which reduced your chance of infection.

Witch hazel also has healing properties which helps to recover and open pimples or scabs.

Pregnancy Acne FAQ

How Long will my Pregnancy Acne Last?

It is common for pregnancy acne to develop as soon as you find out you are pregnant. The symptoms may start to lessen around 20 weeks as your hormones level out.

Unfortunately, you may experience acne through your whole pregnancy, especially if you have a history of severe acne.

The good news is that once your baby is born your hormones will return back to the way they were pre-pregnancy. Your skin should be seeing improvements by 6 weeks postpartum.

Can I still wear makeup with pregnancy Acne?

It’s still ok to wear makeup when you have pregnancy acne. However, you may want to keep it to a minimum rather than caking it on.

Switch to lighter coverage products to allow your skin to breathe.

Take off your makeup as soon as you no longer need to wear it. Give your face more time without makeup on than wearing it.

Also, remember to clean your makeup brushes regularly to remove any bacteria that is making your acne worse.