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Acne After Pregnancy (What You Need to Know)

Welcome to motherhood – a blissful time when your heart is brimming with love for your new baby. However, amidst the joy, if the mirror reflects an unwelcome guest - acne- know you're not alone. 

Acne after pregnancy, often known as postpartum acne, can pose a significant challenge for many new mothers. But why does this occur, and how can you combat it? Read on for a comprehensive guide on navigating your post-pregnancy skin troubles.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Postpartum acne is a common occurrence due to hormonal changes after pregnancy, and it's a normal part of the post-pregnancy journey.
  • A tailored skincare routine focusing on gentle cleansing, exfoliation, and moisturizing, can help manage acne after pregnancy without causing undue harm to the skin.
  • Topical treatments, particularly those containing salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, can effectively combat acne, and they're generally safe to use during and after pregnancy.
  • Exposed Skin Care offers a comprehensive range of products designed to manage hormonal acne, providing a safe, effective, and gentle solution for postpartum skin conditions.

Pregnant mother checking herself with a body mirror

Understanding Acne After Pregnancy

What Triggers Acne Postpartum?

Pregnancy and the subsequent months after giving birth bring about a rollercoaster of hormonal changes in your body. This fluctuation in hormone levels, especially estrogen, and progesterone, can directly cause acne vulgaris, a common skin condition that clogs pores and triggers breakouts. But rest assured, as your body adjusts to its postpartum state and your hormone levels return to normal, your acne may start to clear.

Additionally, the stress of caring for a new baby and irregular sleep patterns can contribute to post-pregnancy acne. Let's dive deeper into the causes of postpartum acne.

Hormonal Fluctuations

During pregnancy, the body produces elevated levels of hormones, including progesterone. This hormone boosts sebum production, an oil secreted by your skin's glands.

This excess sebum can clog your pores, trapping dead skin cells and bacteria, leading to acne. Following birth, these hormones may take several months to return to pre-pregnancy levels, which explains why postpartum acne can persist months after giving birth.

Stress and Sleep Deprivation

Caring for a new baby is a full-time job that can leave you exhausted and stressed. These emotional factors can also trigger acne as they increase the production of cortisol, a hormone known to stimulate sebum production.

Stressed pregnant woman sitting on bed

Locations of Postpartum Acne

Postpartum acne isn't restricted to your face. You may notice acne on your chest, back, and even arms - essentially, it can pop up anywhere. This wide distribution is a result of hormone-driven sebum production in these areas.

Postpartum Acne Treatments: What's Safe and What's Not

The big question is: how to safely treat acne after pregnancy, particularly if you're breastfeeding? It's always a good idea to be careful about your medications during this time. So, let's delve into what's safe and what isn't.

Topical Acne Treatments

Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid

Over-the-counter topical acne treatments like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are popular choices for spot treatment. Benzoyl peroxide works by killing acne-causing bacteria, reducing inflammation, and helping to unclog pores. On the other hand, salicylic acid exfoliates dead skin cells to prevent pore clogging.

The good news is that topical treatments like these are preferred and generally considered safe to use during breastfeeding. They are minimally absorbed into the bloodstream and do not significantly affect breast milk.

Woman holding bottle of salicylic acid


Topical retinoids, another class of acne treatments, are potent substances derived from vitamin A. They help to clear acne by promoting the turnover of dead skin cells and reducing inflammation. However, it's recommended to avoid using these while breastfeeding. Although the amount that passes into breast milk is likely minimal, there's still a potential risk; hence, caution is advised.

Oral Medications

Oral medications for acne, like birth control pills, are generally not recommended for nursing mothers. Hormonal birth control can impact your milk supply and expose your baby to unnecessary hormones. Therefore, these are not typically recommended unless you’re not breastfeeding.

Natural Remedies

Natural remedies are often sought out for their gentleness and minimal side effects. Ingredients like honey, green tea, and turmeric have anti-inflammatory properties and can be incorporated into your skincare routine as masks or spot treatments. While their effectiveness varies depending on the individual, they pose little to no risk to your health or your baby.

Maintaining a Healthy Skincare Routine

Treating postpartum acne isn't just about spot treatment and preventing breakouts. It's also about maintaining a healthy skincare routine.

Cleanse, but Don't Overdo It

Cleanse your face at least twice daily to remove excess oil, dead skin cells, and sweat. However, avoid over-cleansing as it can dry your skin and cause your sebum glands to produce even more oil.

Pregnant woman washing her face

Hydrate Your Skin

Dry skin can trigger more oil production, so keeping your skin hydrated is essential. Opt for a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer that won't clog pores.

The Role of Diet

A healthy diet can help control acne. Foods high in antioxidants, like fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins can support skin health. On the contrary, foods high in sugar and unhealthy fats may exacerbate acne.

Sun Protection

Sun exposure can cause inflammation and hyperpigmentation, especially in acne-prone skin. Therefore, applying broad-spectrum sunscreen is crucial.

Keep Your Hands Off Your Face

Resist the urge to pop or pick at your pimples. This can lead to scarring and spread bacteria to other parts of your face, leading to more acne.

Exercise Regularly

Regular physical activity can help reduce stress levels, potentially reducing the severity of your acne. Remember to cleanse your skin after a workout to prevent sweat from clogging your pores.

The Benefits of Exposed Skin Care for Managing Acne

Exposed Skin Care is a renowned line of skincare products designed to combat various skin conditions, including acne. It provides an effective solution for those grappling with postpartum skin changes, particularly hormonal acne, that is safe and reliable during and after pregnancy.

Exposed Skin Care Expanded Kit

Here's how Exposed Skin Care can benefit your post-pregnancy skin:

  • Targets Acne Effectively: Exposed Skin Care offers a range of acne products that work synergistically to tackle acne, whether it's a small acne spot or more severe acne.

  • Safe and Gentle: While you need to be careful about the medications you apply to your skin during this sensitive period, these topical treatments are preferred due to their gentle yet effective nature. They're safe to use whether you're breastfeeding or not.

  • Designed for Hormonal Acne: Exposed Skin Care understands the role of elevated estrogen and progesterone levels in causing acne flares, so their products are specifically formulated to handle this type of hormonal acne.

  • Promotes Clear Skin: Regular use can ensure your acne clears gradually, resulting in healthier-looking skin.

Remember, your doctor may recommend taking a specific approach to treating acne during this period, so always consult a healthcare provider before starting any new skincare regimen.


Navigating the stormy seas of acne during and after pregnancy can feel daunting. However, equipped with the right knowledge and skin care products, you can steer the ship towards clearer, healthier skin. Remember, each journey is unique, and the time it takes for hormonal acne to clear depends on various factors.

Topical acne medications, like those offered by Exposed Skin Care, are generally safe during pregnancy and are formulated to manage pregnancy acne. These treatments are designed to be gentle, understanding the changes your body is undergoing and what your skin can handle.

Acne usually isn't limited to the face and can appear anywhere on your body as it adjusts to post-pregnancy hormones. But rest assured, safe and effective treatments are available, whether you're dealing with the occasional acne spot or more persistent breakouts.

In the end, remember that these body changes are a normal part of the beautiful journey toward motherhood. So embrace this phase, understanding that just like the last feed of the night, this too shall pass, leading to the dawn of healthier skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long does postpartum acne last?

A: The duration of postpartum acne can vary depending on several factors, including your hormonal balance and stress levels. Some women may experience acne for a few weeks postpartum, while for others, it can take longer for their hormone levels to return to normal, causing acne to persist for several months.

Q: Can breastfeeding cause acne?

A: No, breastfeeding does not directly cause acne. However, the hormonal fluctuations associated with breastfeeding can contribute to postpartum acne. Therefore, it's not the act of breastfeeding but rather the associated hormonal changes that might trigger acne.

Q: Can postpartum acne be prevented?

A: While it's hard to prevent hormonal changes that can lead to postpartum acne, maintaining a healthy skincare routine can help manage and potentially lessen the severity of acne.