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A woman’s body undergoes many changes during pregnancy. What many women fear are the more lasting signs of pregnancy, like stretch marks and varicose veins.

These, at least can be covered up with clothing. The one problem that all too proudly announces its presence to the world however, is acne.

The bad news is that even if you managed to escape its clutches throughout your adolescent years, you may fall prey to it this time round. The good news is, like adolescent acne, everyone outgrows it eventually.

What the glow really is

Pregnant women are most prone to acne during their first trimester. This is due to an increasing level of androgenic hormones in their body, such as progesterone, which stimulates oil glands to produce more oil.
In some pregnant women, the oil leads to a sheen on their skin - the fabled ‘pregnancy glow’. For others, the sheen can escalate into a full-on acne breakout.

To make matters worse, pregnancy acne, like all acne, is not just limited to the face. In addition to facial acne, these women also get body acne.

I’m sure I’ll be fine!

Acne may seem a trivial thing to be bothered by when you’re about to give birth to a human being. However, many women do get depressed about how they look, especially when they are also packing on the pounds.

Staring at a face dotted with acne can further this depression, and put them into a negative state of mind.

This is not good for any expectant mother as there is the potential for this to turn into full-blown post-natal depression.
But we’re sure you’ll be fine, too!

So get it off me!

A normal case of acne can be treated with prescription medication or antibiotics.
However, it’s best not to use any of these when you are pregnant as it may adversely affect the health of your foetus. It’s particularly important to avoid the oral prescription anti-acne drug Accutane (isotretinoin), which can cause serious birth defects.

Also avoid tetracycline, doxycycline, and minocycline which are sometimes prescribed for acne, as these can cause teeth and bone abnormalities in your fetus.

You know what, to be totally on the safe side, do not use any acne treatments without first consulting your doctor. In fact many doctors will tell you to avoid medication or treatment until you are well past the pregnancy and breastfeeding stage.

Here’s what you can do instead.

Stay hydrated

Water moisturises the skin from the inside out, and washes away skin-clogging toxins. As it is most of your water will be used to create the life inside you or expelled during your frequent trips to the bathroom. So if you don’t replenish that often, there will be none left for your skin.

Less oil please

Wash your face twice or thrice daily with an oil-free mild cleanser. But don’t over-cleanse your skin, because if you strip your skin of all the oil it produces, it will just cause your pores to produce even more oil.

After cleansing, thoroughly rinse your face with lukewarm water so you can ensure all soap residue is removed. Gently pat dry, don’t scrub. Finish with a non-medicated toner and an oil-free moisturiser.

Also remember to avoid touching your pimples, as this can cause bacteria to spread which will just lead to more pimples. Do not pick at your pimples as this will lead to acne scars. You already knew this, right?

Take deep breaths

More stuff you already know: when you are stressed you are more prone to breakouts, so controlling stress may very well help to control your acne.

Regular daily exercise (be sure it’s something light you can do when pregnant like walking) can help to increase blood flow in your body and to your skin. This helps reduce the likelihood of toxin buildup, and makes the skin more healthy.

Take in the good to expel the bad

You’ve heard it more times than you care to count; a balanced diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables is essential. However, this really makes all the difference when it comes to your skin.

By eating more fruits and vegetables you are stocking up on vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and other substances that nourish both your growing baby as well as your skin.

The golden lining

If you’re lucky, your face will start to clear up by the second trimester and you will get the real glow that most pregnant women look forward to.

Break out the camera then, because your effortless beauty will be something everyone will really take a shine to. LWB

Your 3rd trimester | Your pregnancy Glow | Feeling very veiny? | You're beautiful | 8 signs that not all is right

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