Prenatal acne doesn't have to be an expected part of pregnancy
Most symptoms of underlying conditions in pregnancy are treated the same - as an expected part of this phase of life. Like these other symptoms, prenatal acne is an indicator of more than a skin-deep issue. It isn't uncommon, either, for us to have similar underlying issues being displayed in various symptoms depending on our personal constitution. Though hormonal changes of pregnancy may play a role in experiencing prenatal acne, this isn't the real cause. Our body was designed to provide us with outward signs, like pain, bruising or blemishes to understand inner conditions. Let's talk about some of the most common causes of prenatal acne including prenatal acne prevention and natural prenatal acne remedies.
Food Imbalances Cause Prenatal Acne
In general, you need to eat a well balanced diet of nourishing whole foods in all the colors of the rainbow to ensure that your body has the nutrients it needs for full body function. Look outside - no matter what time of year it is you'll see green (unless you're living in a city that deprives you of your natural environment - and that's an issue in itself). If you're eating high amounts of meat, you'll tax your liver. If you eat too many grains (especially unsprouted and highly concentrated like bread, pasta and crackers) you'll miss out on vital nutrients. If you eat fruits and not vegetables, you're not cleaning and nourishing your body. We'll talk a little more specifically about common acne-encouraging foods below. You'll probably hear a lot of women say their prenatal vitamin did wonders for their skin and nails during pregnancy. Kind of funny if a supplement is making that drastic of a difference as your diet may have you missing many nourishing foods.
Artificial and Processed Foods Cause Prenatal Acne
Your body is meant to digest food, not fake stuff. It is kind of that easy. The more additives you find in your food, the more your body will become angry and show symptoms of this internal congestion and contamination. For some women, this might be increased pain and discomfort, sluggish feeling, and general fatigue. For others, they experience brittle or discolored nails and skin as well as various forms of prenatal acne (and acne as a PMS experience prior to or during their menses). While some prenatal vitamins may pick up some of the slack of your diet, for others it can cause long term toxin and liver overload and increase acne during pregnancy. Stick to whole foods properly prepared and if you need a supplement, stick to a totally whole foods supplement.
Dairy Causes Prenatal Acne
Many humans are allergic to cow's milk. It is made for baby cows, so it would make sense that their significantly high ratio of muscle to other tissue would require very different nutritional needs than a human body. You may also see this allergy in the form of keratosis pilaris, hard plugs of skin and oil in the pores along the backs of the arms, backs of the thighs, and various parts of the body. Eliminating dairy altogether, including cheese, is really the best approach though you'll notice a big change if you use a balanced rotation of mostly dairy alternatives (goat's milk, nut and rice milks...etc.) and cow's milk only on occasion. Sometimes, it is simply the excess of food choices our body can't handle. It really prefers a varied diet, rather than a mono-diet.
Sugar Causes Prenatal Acne
Sugar, as with all allergen foods, causes an immediate immune response in the body and taxes the digestive system, especially the liver. Concentrated sweets overload the circulatory system and blood sugar balance and your body works on the internal health while possibly neglecting the external health. Sugar changes the pH level in your body which is a big contributor to skin health. Sugar is also a stimulant which brings me to my next point...
Stimulants Cause Prenatal Acne
Most foods stimulate the body, of course, but some do this more than others like caffeine, sugar and spices such as peppers and ginger. Stimulants increase the circulation and digestive system causing toxins that are present to more quickly move through the body. However, if the body is overloaded with toxins from poor choices or medications these toxins just keep circulating and don't actually get eliminated and you'll at least have to experience this stimulated circulation before the elimination occurs anyway. Someone experiencing acne needs to tone down the stimulants significantly (to a level which may be different in each of us) while reducing overall toxin load and support the liver's function. Any amount of caffeine (including coffee, black tea, matcha, steroids...etc.) can cause this reaction. Any amount of sugar as well. Of course reducing any amounts will help, but you may need to totally eliminate these from your lifestyle until you can at least not crave these as a perceived necessary part of your diet.
Liver Health Influences Prenatal Acne
As we've seen previously, toxin overload causes many of the symptoms modern humans experience including adrenal fatigue, adrenal exhaustion, and skin issues like peeling and flaky skin, yeast complications, and especially prenatal acne. This is the same for teen acne, acne during your period or PMS, and other skin blemishes. Environmental toxins from cosmetics to household products and your local environment all move through your body and to your liver. Your liver and digestive system have a big job to clean and heal. Remove unnecessary toxins the best you can with alternative options and maybe a little perspective change of daily needs. Focus on well balanced meals, high in dark green and cruciferous vegetables, low in meat and significantly limit the processed foods, even if they seem to be labeled as "healthy." Without a healthy liver and without healthy lifestyle choices, there isn't any amount of remedy that can stop prenatal acne. There might be prescriptions available now, but the long term effects of these liver toxins are both well known and undesired or not known and under widespread experimentation on people like you and your teen children. Look around you - you should see green no matter the season you're in or where you live. If you don't see green, seek it out. Greens are our body's internal cleansers. They are the best liver supporting foods available for daily use. All healthy foods especially vegetables and fruits do this - but greens are supposed to be a part of the diet all year long - follow nature's design, it knows best.
Natural Treatments for Acne
Skin Care Routine for Prenatal Acne Treatment
Our [healthy] skin has amazing abilities to heal and cleanse itself. We really don't need to do anything else other than support this through healthy habits. Gentle exfoliating now and then is helpful, however, to help remove dead skin cells and to feel refreshed while cleansing the exterior during interior changes.
Avoid makeup. If you do not wish to stop this practice altogether, at least be sure you're using all natural (completely natural, not just one real ingredient plus 5 fake ones) mineral based and herbal skin care products. Excellent bases for makeup are rhassoul, kaolin, and bentonite clays will help to pull impurities and nourish the skin. They can also reduce excess oil, though be cautious to reduce the oil too much - this natural oil helps to clean and moisturize the skin.
If you use a pillow, get a fresh pillow case every three days. Sleep on one side one night, the other side the next night, and then wash and renew. This prevents bacteria from growing and old oils and skin buildup on your pillow and face.
Wash with warm water only every day. If you do wear makeup, olive oil or coconut oil are great makeup removers. Avoid soaps, even natural. They are very drying. Hot water is very drying. Use a gentle cloth when wiping before bed and in the morning.
Gently exfoliate no more than 1-4 times a month. Use a natural, very gentle, exfoliating sand or sugar scrub at most, or a gently exfoliating brush or cloth. Don't scrub - use gentle circles. This isn't always necessary for every skin type. If you mostly have smooth skin other than a few blemishes, this can overdo it.
Supplements for Prenatal Acne
In addition to a plant-centered balanced diet, there are a few supplements that can be beneficial to add to your daily routine that are also safe for pregnancy.
Milk Thistle Seed is an incredible liver rejuvenating herbal food. It is not only safe for pregnancy, but highly encouraged as a routine prenatal supplement. The liver is at the basis of all skin conditions such as acne and eczema, so when we start to see some of these early signs of the need to support the liver, milk thistle seed is definitely one you want to reach for if you're pregnant or not. Take about 1 tablespoon of the seeds daily. You can take these in supplement form, tincture form, throw them on a salad or into your green smoothie. These seeds nourish the function of your liver and help the liver cells to regenerate more effectively. You're not only helping with preventing and healing acne, but you're also helping to prevent bigger concerns such as HELLP syndrome and Pre-Eclampsia.
Yellow Dock and/or Dandelion Root help to stimulate the function of the liver to rid the body and blood of toxins. They nourish you with many nutrients and can be roasted with your other root vegetables or decocted for therapeutic use. They are bitter, which is an indicator of their function for cleansing the body and supporting the liver. These balance sweet processed foods and they will increase urine output. Unlike other diuretics, however, these do not deplete the body of potassium, but instead provide potassium and many other vital nutrients like natural bio-available iron. Because of this stimulation, however, be sure you're drinking 2 quarts of water daily and eating hydrating soups and fruits.
Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, or Fish Oil can help to provide the body with healthy fats it may be missing. When we aren't getting enough healthy oils, it is more difficult for us to digest our food and obtain necessary nutrients. Olive or Coconut oil can be a wonderful skin moisturizer as well and make a great base for calendula or a blend of calendula and St. John's Wort for an incredibly healing topical salve.
Homemade Clay Mask for Prenatal Acne Treatment
A clay mask can help to draw impurities from the skin and pores and tighten pores to help prevent dirt clogs and blackheads. This can be beneficial no more than 1-4 times per month, and always after a steaming cleansing facial.
1 part = whatever measurement you prefer (tsp, cup, handful...etc.)
- 1 Part Rhassoul Clay
- 1 Part Bentonite Clay
- Optional 1/2 Part (of any individual or any total combination of ) rose powder, witch hazel powder and/or calendula powder
I'm putting this below with a strong disclaimer. You may add 1/4 part to 1 part sweet cinnamon powder if you'd like. This is also a stimulant so if you have severe acne or other internal toxin overload, this addition is not for you. Also, this gets HOT. If you have sensitive skin, avoid this. However, sweet cinnamon (this is not cassia cinnamon) has wonderful healing properties through antimicrobials and antivirals. It also increases circulation to the area it is added which improves oxygen flow to the skin and promotes healing of acne.
Mix all that together making as little or as much as you need.
Using your homemade clay mask
- Place a small amount of the clay (about 1/2 Tablespoon) in a clean dish and add warm water (about 1 Tablespoon). Do not use any metal utensils to touch the clay - but mix the clay and water and let that sit and re-hydrate Adjust water/clay amounts to make a pudding-like consistency. Any herbs you've chosen to use may change the amount of water you need to re-hydrate.
- Be sure any makeup has been removed.
- Gently wash with a gentle cloth to remove any dead skin and oils.
- Steam your face with a hot wet cloth for 3-5 minutes to help open up all your pores.
- Cover your face with the re-hydrated clay and let completely dry. Your skin will get tight and it may feel a little odd through the drying process but you won't recieve all of the clay benefits if you don't let it completely dry.
- Once dry, gently remove with warm water.
- Finish with some cleaning splashes of cold water and a rose water or witch hazel toner (be sure these are all natural toners).
You can also use this blend as a spot treatment overnight with the same steps just only re-hydrate a tiny amount and leave on until morning.
Homemade Blemish Oil for Prenatal Acne Treatment
For spot treatment overnight or under makeup, a simple essential oil blend can be used as a blemish oil for acne. Use a quality brand of essential oils - there are many (don't let trendy marketing gimmicks fool you; there are a lot of options for high quality pure essential oils). The following is for a 2% dilution - if you believe you might be sensitive to the oils, just cut the total amount of oil drops to 1/2 the amount listed below with the same amount of base oil
- .5 oz Glass Dropper bottle
- 9 total drops of either a blend of (or either one of) Lavender and Tea Tree Essential Oil
- Fill remainder of bottle with Olive Oil and/or Jojoba Oil
When needed, drop one drop on a clean finger and rub over your blemish to spot treat overnight or during the day. (I don't wear makeup often and my skin doesn't like makeup on my face so if I do wear makeup on the rare occasion I will put this as a base layer before wearing makeup).
What is your favorite skin care routine? Have you noticed a change in your skin with your activity level, what you eat, and cosmetic products like shampoo, lotion, or hair care?