Pregnancy acne, oh the horror!

Karen gets the lowdown on how to treat unexpected acne breakouts.

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Photo by deliormanli/iStockphoto.com

I’ve always had relatively clear skin. Since my teenage years at least. Sure, I’ve had the occasional stress breakout but, overall, acne has been a relatively foreign concept. And then came baby.

My body has been going through all kinds of changes the past few months, and I expected the unexpected. As a first-time mom-to-be this is all new territory. Like most pregnant ladies, I’ve been doing all kinds of reading so I was prepared for dry spots and stretch marks (I started using my Bio Oil practically the day I learned I was pregnant!) but I didn’t even consider acne.

Then about a month ago I noticed a big, red, angry-looking pimple on my shoulder. I was shocked. And horrified. I thought it was a fluke and that if I ignored it, it would go away. But then a few days later another appeared, and then another. It became obvious that this skin issue wasn’t going to solve itself. So, I went back to my computer and Googled the heck out of pregnancy acne. What I learned was that, like most pregnancy-related information online, everyone has an opinion, but nobody seems to agree.

Here’s where being a health and beauty writer came in handy. Over the years I’ve cultivated a roster of go-to experts that I can call on. So, I phoned Dr. Victoria Taraska, a dermatologist in Winnipeg, to help me get my clear skin back.

Despite what I read online, Taraska says that over-the-counter acne-fighting products containing benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are safe to use as long as their concentrations are two percent or less. She suggested using a medicated shower gel to prevent future breakouts, paired with a topical treatment to zap existing zits. I’ve also been using medicated pads that I swipe over my shoulder blades on non-shower days. One of my favourite discoveries is Origins Super Spot Remover ($14 at Sephora). I dab it on any biggies at bedtime and it helps to shrink them by morning.

It’s now been at least two weeks since I started my new clear skin regime and I am noticing some progress. I’ll be keeping at it though, since we’re now into skin-baring summer weather.

Has anybody else had to deal with pregnancy acne? If you have any tips or tricks I’d love to hear them! Tweet me at @KarenRobock.

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