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TreaTing acne while breastfeeding

Frequent breakouts and acne are throughout pregnancy and during the early stages of breastfeeding. If you have experience with blemish prior to pregnancy, then chances are you have a collection of skincare products formulated to target these concerns.

Yes, it is generally considered safe to use salicylic acid when breastfeeding as it doesn’t absorb into the supply of breastmilk. However, before you reach for your trusted salicylic acid enriched cleanser or serum however, there are a few precautions you must take to ensure your skincare routine will not only combat your skin woes, but will also remain safe for you and your new baby while breastfeeding.

Can you use skincare products while breastfeeding?

The short answer is yes, like any expectant mother you have taken the time to read up on everything you can eat, drink and which products to use. It has been hard work for 9 solid months. Once the baby is here and the lack of sleep kicks in you may find it very overwhelming to find there are a new set of “rules” on what you should eat, which beauty products to apply and the best vitamins to take.

The idea is that anything that makes its way into the mother’s blood circulation will result in her milk containing the same, though this is a great way of nourishing the baby’s health with a rich diet of healthy greens, amino acids and good fats, it can be harmful to the baby if consideration is not taken when using certain products or ingredients. I have put together a quick list of the main skincare ingredients best to avoid when pregnant and breastfeeding;

  • Retinoid
  • Salicylic acid
  • Other forms of Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA)

You may also find salicylic acid, retinol and other ingredients can be found listed as the following, so it is a good idea to take a look at the inkey list found on the packaging of your skincare products.

  • Retin-A
  • Retinoic acid
  • Retinol
  • Retinyl linoleate
  • Palmitate
  • Diferin
  • Razarotene
  • Tazorac
  • Avage

Is AHA and BHA safe for breastfeeding?

Yes, you will find that almost all of the AHAs formulated into skincare products are safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. This is due to the fact that many, such as glycolic acid, lactic acid and vitamin C work on the outer layer of the skin and because of their larger molecule size will not have the ability to penetrate too deeply into the lower layers of the skin, this is not the same however, as BHA, such as salicylic acid.

Salicylic acid is oil-soluble and has the ability to penetrate further down into the lower layers of the skin helping to unblock congested pores and stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. It is one of the most potent skin ingredients and carries with it some side effects that can create some irritation and redness to the skin if used incorrectly. Salicylic is also part of the aspirin family and high doses should be completely avoided during pregnancy, but is considered safe to use in moderation when breastfeeding.If it is acne you are wanting to target specially with salicylic acid, I have put together some advice on the safest ingredients and short-term lifestyle swaps to make when breastfeeding, you can find out more in the section below.

How do you treat acne while breastfeeding?

Topical skincare formulas containing salicylic acid, azelaic acid or benzoyl peroxide would be the most effective and quickest way of treating acne while breast feeding, as long as the application avoids contact with infants latching or feeding. It is very important you consult with a your skin specialist, a doctor or dermatologist before using any skincare products to ensure you and your baby remain safe. You may have had skin clarity for the majority of your life and have now found your skin has changed leaving you wondering the best way to treat any spots or acne flare-ups bought on by the imbalanced hormones that are large part of life when expecting and for a while afterwards. Not to worry as I have some tips on how to tackle any pesky and unwanted blemishes without the added worry of using dangerous skin ingredients.

  • Change your diet. This is easier said than done when you have just had a baby. Time is generally not on your side but ensuring you load your diet with nutritious vegetables and fruits will not only help you remain energized, healthy and happy, they will also help you with milk supply and having the peace of mind your baby is obtaining all that goodness too.You may also find that due to retinol skincare products being unsafe to use throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding you can substitute them for others such as;
  1. Spinach
  2. Sweet potatoes
  3. Carrots
  4. Asparagus
  5. Tomatoes
  6. Watermelon
  7. Mangoes
  8. Apricots
  • Cutting back on diary and sugar will also help reduce the appearance and frequency of any acne breakouts, but by all means, do not beat yourself up about that slice of chocolate cake you had while the baby was napping! We are all allowed a well-deserved treat.
  • Getting enough sleep. I understand how this may be laughable considering having a newborn baby is very exhausting. Here are some quick tips on how to get the most rest and look after your skin the best way you can when taking care of a baby.
  1. Avoid blue light 15 minutes before you head off to bed- set a time limit on your phone and avoid watching TV in bed, this will help you fall asleep quicker.
  1. Write a list of the tasks you need to do for the following day, this will help you clear your mind and stay organised aiding you to sleep more soundly.
  1. Eat foods rich in fibre, such as chickpeas and grains to help you sleep more deeply.
  • These are only a few suggestions that can help with getting enough sleep during the early stages of your baby arriving, don’t forget you can always reach out to family members or friends to come a watch the baby while you get some rest.
  • Best skincare treatments. A good skincare routine containing AHAs, hyaluronic acid and salicylic acid with a percentage of 2% or lower will help you stay on top of the overall health and look of your skin. If you are finding acne to be moderate to severe it is best to see a dermatologist or esthetician for prescription.

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