What causes Pimples during Pregnancy | ClearSkin, Pune
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​Pregnancy Acne : All You Need to Know About Pimples in Pregnancy!

May 19, 2021


Pimples during pregnancy cause a lot of stress to women. Pregnancy is a physical, hormonal, and emotional roller coaster ride. Talking about skin health, most women get the fantastic ‘pregnancy glow’, but (unfortunately) some women have to battle skin issues. A common skin issue women face in their first and second trimesters is ‘Pregnancy Acne’. Hormonal changes are the main cause of skin issues. Your body retaining excess fluids is the second important reason for pregnancy acne.

Worried about your skin condition? Get in touch with best of our skin specialists in Pune. For a skin treatment, book an appointment with our dermatologists near you +919584584111

Keep reading to know why you get pimples during pregnancy, pregnancy pimples symptoms, signs to look out for, pregnancy acne remedies, and a lot more!


What is Pregnancy Acne?

As the name suggests, pregnancy acne occurs during pregnancy. Pregnancy pimples are a common skin issue during pregnancy. Fluctuations in hormones are the primary cause of skin issues in pregnancy. The changes in hormonal levels cause excess production of natural oils. This extra oil clogs pores, further leading to the growth of bacteria and skin issues such as inflammation and breakouts. The occurrence of acne on the face during pregnancy is usually temporary and may heal on its own after pregnancy. You are more likely to experience pregnancy pimples if prone to acne or skin issues during your menstrual periods.

When does Pregnancy acne start?

You may experience acne/pimples at any time during pregnancy, but it mostly starts at about six weeks into pregnancy. It has been found that about 40% of women experience severe acne at some point during pregnancy. A sudden onset of acne is considered one of the earliest signs of pregnancy, and women who already have acne, often find that it worsens at the beginning of pregnancy. Pregnancy acne looks similar to regular acne and appears in the form of bumps, red pimples, blackheads, or whiteheads.

Acne in the third trimester is worse than acne during early pregnancy because a rise in progesterone levels is higher during the third trimester. As the pregnancy progresses, acne and breakouts may decrease. 

How to get rid of pimples during pregnancy? 

Topical skin products with ingredients such as azelaic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or glycolic acid can help reduce pregnancy acne. Some acne medications are available over the counter, while some are prescription medicines. 

Before taking any acne treatment or even using any topical medication for pregnancy acne, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist. They will diagnose your skin condition, identify the cause and give you a suitable treatment, including pregnancy-safe creams and treatments. During pregnancy, extra care and more safety precautions have to be taken to ensure the health and safety of the pregnant woman and her baby. So, it is all the more important to consult a dermatologist before treating pregnancy acne on your own.

If you wa seek expert advice on when pregnancy acne starts or how to treat pimples during pregnancy, approach ClearSkin. We have a team of experienced dermatologists who will guide you on acne during pregnancy and administer the best treatment that suits you.

Symptoms of Pregnancy Acne

Although skin issues may occur at any time during pregnancy, the first and second trimesters are when you are most likely to experience pregnancy acne. This does not mean every pregnant woman may experience skin issues. In some cases, women may experience a skin glow or a clear-up of the existing skin issues. At the same time, others may experience acne, blackheads, or whiteheads.

If you have acne-prone skin, you are more likely to experience pregnancy acne.

In some cases, acne that occurs in the first or second trimester clears on its own in the third trimester. However, in some cases, women may also experience a sudden breakout in the third trimester due to fluctuations in hormone levels.

Acne or skin issues during pregnancy fade after the baby’s birth. However, in some cases, women may also experience skin breakouts after the baby is born. Skin issues after a baby’s birth usually require medications and treatments.

Causes of Pimples During Pregnancy

High level of hormones 

The baby is growing inside you, which is an entirely different experience for the body. During the early stages of pregnancy, acne occurs the most due to the suddenly increased levels of hormones. Progesterone is the pregnancy hormone that majorly causes the development of pregnancy pimples. Excess production of the hormone stimulates the skin’s oil glands, resulting in the excess production of oil. This extra oil clogs your pores, causing acne.

Skin prone to acne

If you already have skin prone to acne and are quite oily, then there is an increased chance of you getting pimples again during pregnancy.

Using oil-based makeup

Since the body is already producing natural oils, using greasy makeup can get tricky if you want to avoid acne breakouts.

Immunological factors

Many factors, such as weak immunity during pregnancy, can make you prone to acne.

Pregnancy Acne Remedies

But do not worry. There are plenty of treatments available that are safe for you to adopt.

  • Over-the-counter medications – For mild acne, you can use an over-the-counter cream that suits your skin type
  • Aloe vera gel – Using aloe vera gel regularly to wash your face will also help in reduction majorly as aloe vera has cooling properties.
  • Antibiotics – There are some oral and topical antibiotics available that your doctor may prescribe.
  • Skincare products – If you get significant acne, you need to review the topical products you are using and get non-comedogenic ones.
  • Honey – The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of honey help to treat acne. You may consider going for a spot treatment by applying honey directly on the affected area or by making a face mask by mixing a few drops of honey with lemon juice.
  • Apple cider vinegar – Take one part of apple cider vinegar and three parts of water. Using a cotton ball apply the mixture to the affected area. This helps to get rid of excess oil. Make sure you discontinue the treatment if you experience excessive dryness. Always use diluted apple cider vinegar on your skin. Using undiluted apple cider vinegar may cause burns and other skin issues.
  • Dietary changes – Including vitamin A in your diet helps to support a range of vital bodily functions such as vision, reproduction, etc. Food rich in vitamin A includes chicken, eggs, spinach, broccoli, carrot, apricots, cantaloupe, etc. Do not take vitamin A supplements without consulting your healthcare expert. Excess consumption of vitamin A supplements may cause birth defects.
  • Staying Hydrated – Consume adequate amounts of water as it helps to flush out toxins from your skin, keeping it clean and clear.

If you do not see a difference in the initial phase, do not give up on your treatment. Give it time, and it will be okay. In case of severe acne, you need to consult a dermatologist and your gynecologist because that might indicate a high hormone secretion level, making it very difficult for you to have a normal pregnancy.

Pregnancy Acne Treatments






Medications to treat acne contain salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Salicylic acid removes dead skin that clogs pores, while benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria that cause pimples and other skin issues. However, ensure you use the medications only if prescribed by a dermatologist, as in some cases, it may cause dryness, peeling, and irritation. In addition, as its content gets absorbed, OTC preparations should be avoided; their effect on the baby is not clearly known.

Certain medications or treatments, such as hormonal therapy, topical retinoids, and oral tetracyclines (type of antibiotic), may cause complications in pregnancy. Make sure that you inform your dermatologist about your pregnancy before undergoing any acne treatment. Even with treatment options like comedone extraction, peels, and cryotherapy known to be safe in pregnancy, you should still consult a doctor and get treated under their supervision.

Pimples – A Sign of Pregnancy?

As mentioned earlier, the changes in hormone levels during pregnancy cause acne. However, the occurrence of acne does not always indicate pregnancy. You may experience fluctuations in hormone levels during menstrual periods or medical conditions such as PCOS and hyperthyroidism.

Skin issues are pretty common during pregnancy. Some may experience severe issues like darkening of skin, and melasma (chloasma), while others may notice clearing up of existing skin issues. Pregnancy acne can easily be treated using over-the-counter medications, home remedies, lifestyle and dietary changes. Avoid oral acne treatments as much as possible. If you are planning to opt for oral acne treatments make sure you talk to your dermatologist as well as a gynecologist.

Suppose pregnancy pimples are bothering you and not clearing out even after these remedies. In that case, it is highly advisable to visit an expert like Clearskin where the causes can be diagnosed, and the best path of treatment can be adopted.

Book an appointment with a Clearskin expert today!


For treating your skin condition, feel free to get in touch with one of our best dermatologists in Pune. You can also call on +919584584111 to book an appointment at one of our skin clinics near you.


Dr Dhanraj Chavan

About the Author: Dr Dhanraj Chavan

Dr. Dhanraj Chavan is a globally trained, young, and dynamic dermatologist. He is a Consultant Dermatologist and Varicose Vein Specialist at Clear Skin, VeinMD, and HairMD.

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