“I used to have great skin. I hardly get any pimples. But all of that changed when I gave birth to my baby. What happened?!”
Postpartum is even more difficult with all the stress – physically and emotionally – that comes with it. One thing that moms get stressed over is postpartum acne.
Worried about pimples after giving birth? You’re not alone, mum! Read about why it happens and how you can treat it here.
Postpartum acne is totally normal to develop during and after pregnancy. Pregnancy brings about a lot of hormonal changes, and some of these changes might be seen on your face.
Changes in progesterone levels are frequently the cause of these outbreaks. Sebum (oil) production increases as hormone levels rise, which can clog pores and cause breakouts.
The female sex hormone progesterone is produced by the ovaries. During menstruation, this hormone thickens the uterine lining. During pregnancy, your body also produces progesterone, which aids in the maintenance of a healthy pregnancy.
Hormonal acne after pregnancy
When you become pregnant, your body produces an abundance of progesterone, a hormone that aids to line the uterus and prepare the egg for implantation. Dr Meghan Dickman, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Stanford University, tells SELF that the quick increase of progesterone in the first trimester is often what causes acne in pregnancy.
The increase in progesterone causes your body to produce more sebum, a pore-clogging oil. As a result, your pores and hair follicles are more likely to become blocked with oil, germs, and dead skin cells, rather than being shed. You’ll have bumps on your face as a result.
Progesterone peaks in the third trimester, according to Dr Dickman, so following the first rise in the first trimester, you may see even more oiliness and acne later on.
Your progesterone and estrogen levels decrease after giving birth, and you resume menstruation as a result of the hormone changes. As a result, whether or not you breastfeed can affect your chances of developing postpartum acne.
It may take up to eight weeks for your hormones to return to normal after pregnancy. Dr Dickman explains that most hormonal acne clears up around the end of the third trimester and a few weeks after pregnancy.
If your postpartum acne persists after that, you may have an underlying hormone problem or acne caused by something other than pregnancy.
Photo by Anna Nekrashevich from Pexels
Dry skin after giving birth
Hormonal changes in pregnancy can leave your body parched, leading to dry in on your face and other parts of the body. This can go on after giving birth.
“The dramatic decline in estrogen and progesterone after giving birth can contribute to dry skin,” Dr Hadley King, an NYC-based board-certified dermatologist, tells Romper.
If you’re breastfeeding, your body also uses a lot of water while nursing your baby, and dehydration can also dry out your skin. This is one of the reasons why pregnant and breastfeeding mums are advised to drink plenty of fluids.
Pimples on buttocks after giving birth
Postpartum acne can appear anywhere on your body after giving birth, including your back and buttocks. However, because there are more sebaceous glands in these locations, it’s more likely to happen on your face (forehead, chin, and cheeks).
Does breastfeeding contribute to pimples after giving birth
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Because of the increased hormonal swings that occur during breastfeeding and weaning, fresh acne may develop. According to Dr. Dendy Engelman, M.D., a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist in New York City, because new moms’ hormone levels do not return to normal until after breastfeeding, breastfeeding might cause your acne to remain around for a longer amount of time.
Postpartum cystic acne while breastfeeding
A study entitled, “Severe Cystic Acne While Breastfeeding”, was conducted to assess the severe cystic acne case of mum Amanda (not her real name). She was postpartum and with her 2-day-old infant son in an urban academic centre in the Northeastern United States and she was breastfeeding and said everything was fine, but she was concerned about what was going on “below the surface.”
She had developed severe cystic acne from her previous breastfeeding experience, and she was now starting to notice cysts erupting.
Amanda claims that subcutaneous cysts appeared on her face, trunk, and back two weeks after giving birth. The cysts were described as quarter-sized blisters that oozed yellow fluid and scabbed over. Her clothing would stick to her back after sleeping because of the cysts, which were excruciatingly uncomfortable.
Her obstetrician ran blood tests to evaluate her hormone levels, and her testosterone levels were found to be high. Her doctor ruled out polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and recommended no additional hormone testing. She attempted a variety of alternative therapies in the hopes of finding something that might treat her condition.
However, there has never been a case report of severe cystic acne while breastfeeding. Amanda chose to have her experience published in the hopes that it will spark discussion and research that may help other women find a solution.
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How long does postpartum acne last
Postpartum acne is usually only present for a short time. Acne can clear up nearly immediately after having birth in some cases, while it can last for weeks or months in some people. It all depends on how long your hormone levels take to restore to normal.
It’s also worth noting that nursing might raise your hormone levels. As a result, if you nurse, postpartum acne may take longer to clear up.
It can go away after a few months, but for some people, outbreaks can last longer. Seeing a dermatologist is your best option if you have painful, postpartum cystic acne that won’t go away.
How to treat postpartum pimples on face
Photo by Anna Nekrashevich from Pexels
If your postpartum acne persists after you’ve given birth, you have a few alternatives for reducing outbreaks and clearing your skin.
- Increasing your fluid intake and staying hydrated can help you get rid of acne naturally.
- Cleaning your face and removing your makeup before going to bed, as well as not touching your face, can help. However, medication may be required to treat postpartum acne in some cases. If you’re breastfeeding, your treatment options will be different.
- Excessive sun exposure might cause acne flare-ups in certain people. If at all possible, avoid direct sunlight and wear sunscreen. Keep track of whether your acne gets worse after you eat certain foods. After consuming fatty foods, dairy foods, or acidic foods, some people experience a rise in breakouts.
Postpartum acne treatment
It’s safe to use topical acne treatments if your acne doesn’t improve after delivery and you’re breastfeeding.
If you have acne on your chest, though, don’t use topical acne medication on it. You don’t want your infant to take the drug or come into contact with it. Birth control medications can also lower hormone levels, lowering the quantity of sebum produced by your body.
However, it is still best to consult your doctor for a proper and safe treatment for both you and the baby.
If your postpartum acne doesn’t improve with self-care, see a doctor. If you’re nursing, your doctor can prescribe a topical prescription drug that’s safe for both you and your baby.
This article was written by Margaux Dolores and republished with permission from theAsianparent Philippines.
Anecdotes and updates by Camille Eusebio.
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