The "pregnancy glow" that creates a beautiful, glowing look on the face of pregnant women is unfortunately not the only skin change that pregnant women face. Many pregnant women find that they face an increased amount of acne flareups during pregnancy due to changes in their hormones. Not all acne creams are safe to use during pregnancy, as many, such as tretinoins like Retin-A, may cause birth defects to the baby. Benzoyl peroxide is a safe acne cream that women can use during pregnancy.
What Is Benzoyl Peroxide?
Benzoyl peroxide is an acne medication that acts as an antiseptic, killing bacteria on the skin's surface, and also helping to dry out pimples so that they shrink. According to the Mayo Clinc, benzoyl peroxide is available not only in cream form, but also in gels, soaps, face washes and even facial moisturizers. Benzoyl peroxide comes in different strengths such as a 2.5-percent cream, which is generally mild, a 5-percent cream which is stronger, and a 10-percent benzoyl peroxide cream for severe acne.
Safety of Benzoyl Peroxide During Pregnancy
The Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS) is a group of researchers and scientists who work to determine the risks that various drugs and products may have on pregnant women and their unborn babies. According to the OTIS, over-the-counter skin treatments for acne, such as benzoyl peroxide cream, have not been associated with an increased risk of birth defects. The American Pregnancy Association states that though acne creams such as benzoyl peroxide are regarded as safe during pregnancy, all women should consult their doctor before using products like benzoyl peroxide during pregnancy in case of allergic reactions.
Only five to ten percent of the active ingredient in topical acne medications, such as benzoyl peroxide, is actually absorbed through the skin into the body, according to the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists. They state that because so little of the actual benzoyl peroxide in the acne treatment product is actually absorbed, that if any of the substance is able to pass to the unborn baby, that amount would likely be so small that it would not cause any birth defects or harm to the baby.
BBC News states that benzoyl peroxide lotion was just as effective at clearing up acne as oral antibiotic medications were in one study. Consistent use of benzoyl peroxide cream can be very effective in treating and even preventing some acne. Since hormones related to pregnancy tend to cause sudden flareups of acne in one spot rather than acne all over the face, benzoyl peroxide can be most effectively used by pregnant women as a spot treatment for acne, to be used as soon as they see or feel a pimple forming.
The cost of benzoyl peroxide cream for acne is relatively cheap. Benzoyl peroxide cream is a lot cheaper than many other acne treatments such as prescription tretinoin cream, oral antibiotics and professional facials. Not only is benzoyl peroxide cream cheap, but since it can be used as a spot treatment in very small amounts, one tube of the cream can last months.