Acne is common during pregnancy. As you progress through your first few months of pregnancy, you’ll find out if you’ll be blessed with the magical pregnancy glow or if you’ll be dealing with annoying pregnancy acne. It’s common to get acne on the face during pregnancy. However, acne doesn’t appear only on the face. Your back, chest, and shoulders are other body parts affected as they all contain glands or hair follicles that produce oil. In case you get back acne during pregnancy, you’ll most likely see them go away within a few months of the birth of your baby. However, you can take a few simple steps to deal with bad back acne during pregnancy.
What Causes Back Acne During Pregnancy?
A clogged hair follicle is the same cause of acne on your back during pregnancy as it is any other time. When a hair follicle becomes clogged, it eventually breaks down and forms acne. However, you are more likely to develop back acne during pregnancy because of excessive production of sebum (oil in sebaceous glands in the skin) which happens when the body produces greater amounts of certain hormones like androgens.
It is known that androgen levels rise particularly high in your third trimester of pregnancy. So, if you may experience severe back acne during pregnancy around this time. Since there are more sebaceous glands in the upper back and shoulders, back acne is most likely to appear in those areas.
Back acne is a common skin problem during pregnancy & it can be caused by the following factors:
- Topical skincare products: Usage of certain types of creams and lotions that can clog pores and cause acne
- Anxiety and stress: Under stress and anxiety, the body produces more cortisol. The increase in cortisol leads to your body producing more sebum. This increases the risk of back acne
- Getting sweat trapped: As you sweat, it can get trapped between your clothes and your skin. If this happens, your pores can become clogged. People who sweat excessively (hyperhidrosis) are more likely to develop back acne
- Medications: Certain medications, such as those containing corticosteroids, may increase the development of back acne. Corticosteroids are more often given during the third trimester of pregnancy to boost the development of the fetus in case of a possibility of premature delivery. Therefore, one of the reasons for back acne during pregnancy in the third trimester will be medications
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Signs Of Back Acne During Pregnancy
It is not uncommon for pregnant women to develop back acne out of the blue. Those who already have acne may notice that it worsens during pregnancy. One may only get acne on their shoulders and upper back during pregnancy. Alternatively, it may spread all over the back, torso, and waist. Zits that cause pain and usually appear in clusters may cause unwanted discomfort. Women who are expecting may come down with one type of acne or a combination of nodules, blackheads, red bumps, whiteheads, and cysts.
Treatments To Avoid During Pregnancy For Acne
Some acne treatments may not be safe to use during pregnancy. Pregnant women should avoid certain medications, skincare products, and home remedies altogether for the duration of their pregnancy. It’s important to note that many of the over-the-counter medicines available to treat acne have varying degrees of contraindications for pregnancy, whether they are associated with birth defects, hormone disruptions, or developmental difficulties.
So stay away from the following products that are used to treat acne:
- Hormonal therapy
- Oral retinoids
- Lavender oil
- Topical retinoids including Retin-A
- Tea tree oil
- Oral tetracyclines
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How Do You Treat Back Acne During Pregnancy?
When trying to get rid of back acne, there are more external factors to contend with than facial acne. Excess oil production during hot weather, friction caused by clothing and backpacks, and sweat build up from workouts can all trigger flare-ups and slow the healing process of back acne.
There are many different opinions among doctors about the best way to treat acne during pregnancy, ranging from an anti-inflammatory diet, and specific cleaning lotions to topical creams. It is a good idea to invest in a back lotion applicator to apply for the medicine effectively.
Looking for an acne medication that is safe during pregnancy? If you plan to use any over-the-counter lotions and creams, you should consult your doctor first. You can rely on safe home remedies and some steps to fight off back acne during pregnancy
Home Remedies For Back Acne During Pregnancy
There are a few safe home remedies that can be used to treat back acne during pregnancy in much the same way as acne on the face. However, since the skin on the back is thicker than that on the face, topical medications may not penetrate as well. For this reason, apply the topical medication thicker and more often.
Back acne during pregnancy can be effectively treated with the following home remedies:
Honey during pregnancy has many benefits. It contains antibacterial and antiseptic properties and is effective in treating acne1. It has soothing properties as well. Spread honey directly on the acne-affected area. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes. Then rinse well with slightly warm water. You can also add 3 teaspoons of honey to a bowl of cold milk. Mix well. After that, dip a cotton pad in the mixture and apply it to the affected area. Wash it off with lukewarm water after leaving it on for 10 minutes.
Mud therapy is known to induce anti-inflammatory activity and influence the antioxidant system2. It is, therefore, able to reduce acne flare-ups and has a soothing effect on the skin. Apply a mud pack to the breakout area with the assistance of a friend or family member. Pregnant women can use mud masks as a safe means to clear up pimples and dry them out.
3. Garlic & rose water
Chop 5 garlic cloves and squeeze the juice into a bowl. Stir in 2 tbsp cold rosewater. Blend well. Then dip a cotton ball into the solution and apply a layer to the affected area. Let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing it off.
4. Apple cider vinegar
While no scientific studies have been conducted to specifically test this apple cider vinegar’s acne-fighting properties, it contains acetic acid, which is antibacterial and keratolytic. Add one part vinegar to four parts water and mix well. Dab affected skin with the mixture using a cotton ball. The mixture should be left on for up to 15 minutes before being washed off.
Related Reading: Apple Cider Vinegar During Pregnancy- All You Need To Know
5. Citrus fruit
Applying lemon or lime juice to the skin will help it lose dead skin cells and unclog pores. Lemon juice not only acts as an astringent but is also an effective antimicrobial3. Applying citrus limon to the skin is known for removing excess oil and removing dead skin cells. Use a cotton ball to apply lemon or lime juice directly to the affected area. Allow the mask to sit for 10 minutes or until it dries, then rinse with cool water.
6. Aloe vera
Peel an aloe vera leaf and scrape out its gel with a spoon. Place this gel in the refrigerator for at least an hour. This cold gel should be rubbed gently over the affected area for 20 minutes. Rinse with water afterward. This will not only treat acne but is an effective home remedy for itching during pregnancy.
7. Green tea extract (GTE)
Studies have shown that tea polyphenols may have antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory. It can potentially reduce acne and sebum production in the skin. Topical GTE application is beneficial for the treatment of back acne during pregnancy as it is a perfectly safe remedy.
Back Acne While Pregnant: Some Don’ts
To eradicate back acne during pregnancy, some don’ts must be followed along with the treatment:
- Baking soda is not recommended: Baking soda reduces oil production on your skin and helps promote healing. Nevertheless, healthcare professionals do not generally recommend it because it may cause skin irritation and strip away important skin oils
- Avoid rubbing your back against anything: Make sure that you don’t use anything that rubs against your back, such as a backpack. Rubbing your back against anything can irritate it, causing back acne to flare up. Wear loose-fitting clothing made of natural fibers. Synthetic clothes can exacerbate acne when rubbing against the back
- Over washing is bad: Too much washing strips your skin of its natural moisture. The result will be increased oil production, which increases back acne
- Avoid pricking: Do not poke, pick, scratch, or squeeze acne sores. Doing so can increase irritation and leave scarring behind
- Back acne should not be rinsed with hot water: Too much hot water will strip healthy natural oils from the skin too quickly, thereby drying it out. In the morning, at night, and after heavy sweating, use lukewarm or cool water with a mild cleanser preferably soap-free to clean the back acne
- Avoid chemical-laden soaps and cosmetics: Antibacterial soaps, astringents, and harsh exfoliants can make acne worse. This is also true of loofahs, back brushes, and buff puffs. Using fragrance-free and gentle skincare products will give you the best results. Avoid spreading super-moisturizing creams on your back while applying them to your belly
- Never leave your hair loose: If long hair is left on your back it could add oil and dirt to the skin, increasing the chances of acne breakouts. Make sure you wash your hair regularly and put it in a bun or ponytail when you sweat. Keep shampoo and conditioner from running down your back as well. These products contain ingredients that can clog pores
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Preventing Back Acne During Pregnancy
Here are a few ways to prevent back acne during pregnancy.
- Make sure to use a gentle cleanser in the shower and body cream that is oil-free to prevent body acne
- Clothing that is too tight can cause sweat and bacteria to be pushed deeper into pores, clogging them. In addition, the friction generated by tight-fitting clothes can trigger back acne. By wearing loose-fitting and breathable clothes, you can prevent back acne
- When you sweat a lot, use a mild cleanser and shower to remove bacteria and sweat. If you are not able to take a shower right away, consider changing into clean, loose, dry clothes
- To prevent clogged pores on acne-prone skin, wipe it with an oil-free cleansing wipe or medicated pad containing salicylic acid
- To remove sweat, use a clean towel. Pat the skin rather than rubbing it to avoid further irritation
- Be sure to wash your bedding and towels regularly
- Vitamin A intake should be increased as much as possible. Rely on dietary vitamin a rather than vitamin A supplements. Eat dairy, eggs, and carrots to obtain vitamin A
Back acne during pregnancy will not cause any harm to pregnancy or growing fetus. So don’t worry. Make sure that you drink plenty of water. Keeping the skin hydrated reduces the likelihood of pore-clogging by removing toxins and bacteria from the skin. Also, keep stress under control as much as possible.
It is difficult to estimate how long it will take for pregnancy acne to disappear. The time frames vary from person to person and from pregnancy to pregnancy. This can persist even after pregnancy because the levels of hormones fluctuate in the body throughout the prenatal period and the postnatal period.
Several factors determine when back acne disappears. If your pregnancy was healthy and you weren’t too stressed, you can expect it to subside in the third trimester or shortly after giving birth.
When taken topically, internally, or both, probiotics are thought to calm the inflammatory process and give the body the best chance of healing back acne and preventing future breakouts.