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How to Deal With Breastfeeding Acne? (Causes, Treatments, and More)

The joy of holding your new baby often overshadows the challenging aspects of the postpartum period. Amidst sleepless nights, nappy changes, and feedings, you might notice that your skin is not quite as cooperative as you'd like it to be.

One such issue that can cause distress is breastfeeding acne. This comprehensive guide aims to unravel the intricacies surrounding breastfeeding acne, its causes, and effective treatments.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Hormonal fluctuations during breastfeeding can contribute to acne breakouts, but these are often temporary and may improve as hormone levels return to normal.
  • When applied moderately, topical treatments like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are considered safe during breastfeeding.
  • Lifestyle factors such as stress and lack of sleep can exacerbate acne by triggering increased sebum production.
  • Exposed Skin Care offers a range of tested and safe topical medications that effectively target the root causes of acne, making it a suitable option for new mothers.

Mother holding baby with towel and face cream

The Science Behind Breastfeeding Acne

Breastfeeding acne is a condition that affects many new moms in the weeks postpartum. Not to be confused with pregnancy acne, which often clears up after you give birth, breastfeeding acne can be a lingering issue.

What Causes Breastfeeding Acne?

  • Hormonal Fluctuations: After you give birth, hormone levels such as estrogen and progesterone drop sharply, leading to hormonal acne.
  • Stress and Lack of Sleep: Stress and lack of sleep can also contribute to acne.
  • Increased Sebum Production: The body produces more oil or sebum, clogging pores and causing breakouts.

Is It Different From Postpartum Acne?

Both breastfeeding acne and postpartum acne share similar triggers, chiefly hormonal fluctuations and lifestyle changes. However, the consideration for treatment options varies, especially since breastfeeding involves extra precautions to ensure the newborn's safety.

Identifying Types of Acne During Breastfeeding

The symptoms of breastfeeding acne can manifest in several forms, each requiring a specific approach for treatment.

Pimple Formation

Tiny red bumps that can be filled with pus, often appearing on the face, chest, or even anywhere on your body.

Cystic Acne

A severe form of acne featuring large, red, and painful cysts. Cystic acne is an extension of severe acne and may require targeted treatment options.

Woman with cystic acne on face

Hormonal Acne

Acne that primarily occurs on the lower face and is usually influenced by hormonal fluctuations after giving birth.

Is It Safe to Use Conventional Acne Treatments?

Many topical and oral acne treatments are unsafe during pregnancy and lactation. Therefore, it's important to scrutinize the ingredients in skin care products for their safety.

Topical Treatments and Their Safety During Breastfeeding

When breastfeeding, your choice of acne treatments narrows, focusing more on what is safe for both the mother and the new baby.

Benzoyl Peroxide

This is often the first-line treatment for acne. Benzoyl peroxide is considered safe to use during breastfeeding, provided it doesn't come into contact with the breast milk.

Salicylic Acid

It is another first-line treatment for acne that is effective for washing your face and exfoliating dead skin cells. It's generally considered safe during breastfeeding when used in moderation.


Though effective, topical retinoids are not considered safe during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

Tea Tree Oil

A natural alternative, tea tree oil may help to reduce acne. However, it should be used sparingly to prevent excessive dryness.

Tea tree oil close up

Azelaic Acid

Another alternative, azelaic acid, is generally safe to use while breastfeeding and may be especially effective for treating hormonal acne.

Lactate Creams and Gels

These creams and gels help to hydrate the skin without increasing sebum production, making them a viable option for those experiencing acne while breastfeeding.

Lifestyle Changes to Curb Acne During Breastfeeding

With hormones all over the map and a new baby to care for, simple lifestyle changes can significantly impact your skin’s health.

Regular Face Washing

Regularly washing your face can clear your skin of excess sebum and dead skin cells that clog your pores.

Stress Management

Stress causes your body to produce cortisol, a hormone that can trigger acne. Finding ways to manage stress is one less thing to worry about.

Adequate Sleep

Lack of sleep can also influence the stress hormone cortisol. Ensuring a good night's sleep can help your skin to clear and your hormone levels return to normal.

Mother sleeping with her baby

Diet and Hydration

A balanced diet rich in antioxidants may help reduce acne breakouts and contribute to healthy skin.

Red Light Phototherapy

Though it's an unconventional approach, red light phototherapy has shown promise in treating acne and is considered safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

What Not to Do When Treating Breastfeeding Acne

While you may be desperate to treat acne, avoiding certain remedies and habits that may exacerbate the condition is crucial.

Avoid Harsh Skincare Products

Many skincare products contain chemicals that can irritate the skin, worsening acne.

Do Not Pop Pimples

This can lead to infection and more severe acne issues.

Steer Clear of Oral Medications

Many oral medications, including some antibiotics used to treat severe cystic acne, are not considered safe during pregnancy or lactation according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Benefits of Using Exposed Skin Care for Managing Acne During Breastfeeding

If you're navigating the tumultuous seas of acne while breastfeeding, Exposed Skin Care offers a lifeline. The brand is celebrated for its multi-step kits designed to tackle the condition that causes acne at its root.

Exposed Skin Care Expanded Kit

Below are the benefits of Exposed Skin Care:

  • Scientifically Formulated: The products blend advanced scientific ingredients and natural extracts that address what causes acne.
  • Safe for New Moms: Whether you're breastfeeding or considering it, Exposed Skin Care offers topical medications that are safe to use. These topical acne treatments have been tested and proven to not interfere with healthy pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • Quick and Long-lasting Results: Many users report significant improvements in weeks or months.
  • Progesterone Levels: One of the key triggers of postpartum acne might be the rapid drop in progesterone levels. Exposed Skin Care's formulations help manage these hormonal imbalances that can cause breakouts.
  • Wide Array of Products: From cleansers that combat initial breakouts to serums that manage long-term acne, there's a targeted solution for everyone.

So, whether you’re experiencing hormonal flux or lifestyle changes that are making your skin rebel, Exposed Skin Care is a reliable option. It focuses on treating the causes of acne effectively and safely so you can concentrate on the joys of motherhood.


Navigating the complex world of skincare while breastfeeding can feel overwhelming, especially with the added stress of hormonal changes and new motherhood. Breakouts are often the body's way of signaling internal imbalances, and finding safe acne medications while nursing is crucial.

Exposed Skin Care offers an option worth exploring, focusing on natural ingredients and safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It's essential to remember that hormonal fluctuations are temporary, often settling down within weeks or months postpartum. As your body adjusts, you may find that acne conditions naturally improve.

The objective is to maintain skin health without compromising the well-being of your new baby, something Exposed Skin Care aids in achieving. Understanding the causes of acne during this critical period can help you make informed choices about how to treat it.

Just as you wouldn't risk using unsafe products for your baby, it's vital to use acne treatments that are verified to be safe for both you and your little one. Used during pregnancy and breastfeeding, topical treatments like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid have been considered safe, provided they are used correctly and in moderation.

Even so, you must remain cautious about your skincare choices and their ingredients. Skincare concerns like acne are often temporary bumps along the journey of motherhood, but that doesn't mean they should be ignored. Safe and effective treatment options are available to help you confidently manage this period.


Can I use acne medications while breastfeeding?

Yes, but ensure they are labeled safe for use during breastfeeding. Some topical treatments like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are considered safe when used in moderation.

How long will postpartum acne last?

It varies from person to person, but acne often improves within weeks or months postpartum as hormone levels return to normal.

Can progesterone levels affect my acne?

Yes, the rapid drop in progesterone levels after giving birth might be a key trigger for postpartum acne.

Are breakouts often a common problem during breastfeeding?

Due to hormonal fluctuations and lifestyle changes, acne breakouts are often more frequent during breastfeeding.

What kinds of acne treatments are safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding?

Topical treatments like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are generally considered safe when used correctly. Always check labels and guidelines to ensure a product is safe for your situation.

Can stress and lack of sleep contribute to acne?

Both stress and lack of sleep can exacerbate acne conditions by causing your body to produce more sebum, which can clog pores.

Can Exposed Skin Care products be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding?

Yes, Exposed Skin Care offers topical medications and treatments that have been tested and proven safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.