For many people who want a safe acne treatment during pregnancy, they believe "natural remedies" are better than those you can find in a drugstore. But some herbal remedies can be powerful, and you still need to consult with your doctor about taking them.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and dietary supplements.
As a general rule of thumb, it is best to avoid both herbs and oral medications unless you are willing to do some careful research or speak with your health expert.
Check out some common sense guidelines about acne and pregnancy that don’t involve oral ingestion of medicinal substances.
The following is a list of herbs and vitamins commonly used to fight acne. Please be aware that there are many different opinions on whether herb or vitamins are a safe acne treatment during pregnancy. There has been more research done on vitamins than herbs by the medical community.
The following list is not comprehensive, but will be updated regularly as more research is collected.
Basil: Basil is used for treating acne and skin disorders. It is considered a blood purifier and bacteria killer. Avoid large quantities on a regular basis during pregnancy and nursing.
Calendula: Calendula is found to be high in flavenoids, which are responsible for anti-inflammatory activity. Although side effects are rare with calendula, and there have been no reports of miscarriages in women using it, the oral form of calendula is not recommended for pregnant women or those trying to conceive since animal studies show it can be toxic to sperm and induce miscarriages.
Chamomile: Evidence from laboratory studies shows that chamomile has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties when applied topically. It is useful for minor skin irritations. It is recommended that pregnant women do not take high dosages of the oral form of chamomile as it may induce miscarriages.
Licorice root: Licorice root applied topically relieves irritated or red skin and dermatitis. Oral licorice root in the form of teas, supplements, or food are not recommended during pregnancy and breast-feeding because of the risk of abnormalities caused by altered hormone levels and the possibility of premature labor.
Sandalwood: Sandalwood is an Indian plant. Sandal paste is applied on the body to give a smooth, lustrous look to the skin. Until more is known about this herb, it should be avoided during pregnancy.
Tea Tree Oil: A laboratory study also found that tea tree oil as well as certain active components of tea tree oil effectively slows the growth of acne bacteria and has antimicrobial effects. Topically, there is not enough information about its effect during pregnancy. Never digest tea tree oil.
Turmeric: Oriental cultures have used turmeric for centuries as a complete remedy for acne, infections, injuries, boils, accident recovery, and other ailments. Turmeric may stimulate contractions of the uterus and may disrupt menstrual periods. It is not recommended during pregnancy or breast-feeding in large amounts.
Witch Hazel: Laboratory studies suggest that witch hazel may have some mild anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, but these possible effects have not been studied extensively. It appears to be safe when used topically.
Vitamins are necessary in every day diet, and even vital. Some vitamins are more necessary during pregnancy. They are effective in skin health. Therefore, if recommended daily dosages are followed, vitamins are a safe acne treatment during pregnancy.
Vitamins commonly used to battle acne include:
Vitamin A: There is concern that high doses of vitamin A can cause birth defects similar to those found in babies exposed to Roaccutane (a derivative vitamin A). For a safe acne treatment during pregnancy, doctors recommend limiting vitamin A supplements to 10,000 I.U. per day or less.
However, feel free to eat as many red, orange, and yellow fruits and vegetables without worrying about overdosing on vitamin A. Foods such as carrots and red peppers actually contain beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A as needed.
Vitamin B complex: The B vitamins are coenzymes which help the enzymes function properly in the body. A supplement of 100mg of each of the major B vitamins is recommended.
Vitamin B3: This vitamin has been used to treat inflammatory skin conditions. It is available as a prescription.
Vitamin B5: This vitamin is necessary for metabolism and studies show it may decrease sebum in the skin and reduce acne.
Vitamin B6: This vitamin aids in the metabolism of hormones.
Vitamins C and E: These vitamins are antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation. Vitamin E is necessary in the body for vitamin A to work properly. Doses of 400 IU a day for vitamin E together with 500 to 1000mg of vitamin C is recommended.
Chromium: Chromium helps the body to break down glucose. It can help to reduce skin infection rates by breaking down sugars that induce acne. 200mcg is recommended daily.
Selenium: Selenium helps the body use vitamin E and prevents inflammation. The recommended daily allowance is 70mg per day. Some suggest between 100 to 200mg to treat acne.
Zinc: Studies indicate that zinc may be an effective treatment for inflammatory acne, heals damaged skin, and is necessary during pregnancy. 30 - 50 mg Zinc supplement daily may help contribute to reducing the inflammation and heals the damaged skin.
Water: If you’re looking for a safe acne treatment during pregnancy, nothing beats water! Remember to drink plenty of water and eat lots of fruit and vegetables – necessary for healthy skin and a healthy baby! If it’s hard to eat because of morning sickness, try smoothies and soups to get the fruit and veggies into your daily diet.
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