Acne Cream During Pregnancy?

Are they Safe?

The hormones of pregnancy can cause sudden acne breakouts even if a woman has never had acne in the past. This is due to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. While most women realize that oral acne treatments are off-limits during pregnancy, some may wonder about the safety of topical acne preparations when they are used during pregnancy.

A Valid Concern

This is a valid concern, since the active ingredients in these medications seep under the skin and enter the bloodstream and then on into the baby's bloodstream via the placenta. The truth is that the amount of active ingredient absorbed through the skin is very small. But part of being a proactive mom is getting acquainted with the various active ingredients in even over the counter preparations of all kinds, including acne creams, since they may interact with pregnancy and the birth of a healthy child. Common ingredients in topical acne preparations may include: azelaic acid, adapalene, tretinoin, sodium sulfacetamide, clindamycin, erythromycin, salicylic acid, hydrocortisone, and benzoyl peroxide.

Most of these ingredients have been shown to be safe by the medical community for topical use during pregnancy. However, some of them do have some associated risks. For instance, creams that contain sodium sulfacetamide should be avoided during the third trimester of pregnancy. Scientific research has shown that the use of this medication during the later stages of pregnancy may result in a toxic buildup in the blood of the newborn infant resulting in such conditions as jaundice, anemia, and kernicterus-a type of brain damage related to jaundice and high levels of bilirubin. It's important to note that the chemical has been proven to be safe in the first two trimesters of pregnancy.

Acne creams that contain the active ingredient tretinoin should not be used at all during pregnancy. One study showed that women who used topical creams containing this ingredient during the early stages of their pregnancies had an increased risk of giving birth to a baby with birth defects.

Topical creams that contain some of the other active ingredients mentioned above, such as salicylic acid, azelaic acid, adapalene, and hydrocortisone have not undergone sufficient studies to determine their safety for use during pregnancy. These chemicals should be considered guilty until proven innocent insofar as they cross over into the baby's blood stream via the placenta. Use these creams with caution, or avoid them altogether to do as much as you can to protect your baby from birth defects.

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