Ask Belle: Acne Face Wash for Pregnant Ladies

Jan 12, 2015

Belle,

Can you help me find a pregnancy approved face wash that prevents acne?  I can’t use anything with salicylic acid in it, and I’m hoping there is a natural choice.  Have you found a good natural face wash?  

Thanks! Emme

First off, my primary advice is to ask a dermatologist or your OB-GYN for suggestions.  Since most acne medicines are forbidden for pregnant ladies, they may have some good recommendations.

I did some searching around and most of the articles I found–including from The New York Times and the NIH–recommended glycol acid.  The general consensus seemed to be that as an AHA, glycol acid in small amounts was okay.  (Again, ask your doctor.)

My favorite glycol acid wash is from Peter Thomas Roth.  The bottle is a bit pricey at $32, but it last for-eh-ver.  I once took 18 months just to get through one bottle thanks to the luxurious lather.  Mario Badescu also makes a glycolic face wash that runs about $16 a bottle.

Those two are just the ones that I’ve used.  I searched around some more and found that A Pea in the Pod sells this Belli face wash that they bill as safe for pregnant ladies.  They have a whole skincare section that features many  selections from body creams to nail polishes.

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  1. Anon says:

    Look into African black soap (so called because of its color and origin, not for any ethnicity reasons). I can’t say if it’s pregnancy safe, but it is natural and for acne. It made a noticeable difference for me, but I still needed to combine it with other products. I ordered a hunk of it on Amazon. The seller I ordered from (ostensibly) made it themselves and it came in a hunk about the size of a soup can for maybe $10 or so that you cut off slivers as you needed it.

  2. Nicole says:

    As a recently pregnant person, I can’t speak highly enough about Mario Badescu’s products. I continue to use their Enzyme Cleansing Gel daily – it’s just that good.

  3. Liz says:

    I am not pregnant but if your doctor okays glycolic acid – then I cannot recommend Glytone highly enough. The skincare line for KP has gotten rid of all the bumps on my arms as well as ALL my body acne (I suffered from bad breakouts on my shoulders and arms for years before switching to this and now I get one pimple ever six weeks), I started using their face was about about 6 months ago (after using the body was and body lotion for about 3 months and loving the results). I had an initial break out about a week into using the face wash, since then I haven’t had any!!

    Originally I bought this at my dermatologist but now I buy on-line
    https://www.dermstore.com/product_Mild+Cream+Wash_359.htm

  4. RMR says:

    Pregnancy acne is just awful. I avoided Glycolic acid while pregnant, personally. I did use that Belli face wash and found it just okay. While prego, I really liked the African black soap and found it helped a lot with my pregnancy acne. I also had good luck with Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple. fyi my baby is 3 months old

  5. Helena says:

    I used the Fresh Soy Cleanser and a Clarisonic while pregnant and managed to combat the effects of hormonal acne combined with having to stop using Retin-A. I imagine

  6. Crystal says:

    I am not pregnant and have the opposite skin type (skin like the Sahara!), but I second Anon–I’ve heard great things about African black soap products in treating acne. You can find them online and in many natural foods stores (e.g., Whole Foods).

  7. Katherine says:

    I recommend 100% Pure products, available online – they contain botanical ingredients and I’ve started using their stuff for all my make-up, lotions, face-wash etc. since I started trying to conceive (now breastfeeding). I really like their make-up and it’s so good to avoid all the chemicals in conventional brands. Or, Google the oil cleansing method for a totally natural cleansing method – some people say it helps with acne.
    But….the unfortunate reality is that if the acne is caused by hormones, topical remedies might not help all that much.

  8. DCQ says:

    Just so you know, the latest studies show that salicylic is perfectly fine to use. As is benzoyl peroxide. Always do your own research… a lot of the recommendations are overly cautious. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3114665/

    Also, read Expecting Better by Emily Oster. It will change your life.

  9. Lauren says:

    I’ve been using Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Cleanser for 3 weeks and its completely turned my skin around. It may be my HG.

  10. Elyse A. says:

    I’m not pregnant but most acne treatments irritate my skin and I end up with a rash that looks worse than the acne. The Body Shop’s Tea Tree oil does a decent job of treating my acne without irritating my skin.

  11. LC says:

    I’m 9 months pregnant and second both tea tree oil and the Oster book. I discovered Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean tea tree oil cleanser when I got four giant pregnancy acne cysts on my chin at the same time. This cleanser cleared them up within a week, and it doesn’t overdry my super sensitive, dry, eczema-prone skin.

  12. Sade says:

    Check out Caroline hirons site – she just did a post on skin are for pregnant women ( not related/comped for the shout out, she just seems to know her stuff)

  13. Katherine K says:

    I used African black soap for a few months when I was pregnant with my first, and then my mother-in-law got me that Belli acne fash wash with lactic acid Belle linked to. It is AMAZING… my second baby is 11 months old now and I have no plans to stop using it anytime soon!! (FYI they just started carrying it on Diapers dot com and you can usually find it for 20% off.)

  14. Stefanie S. says:

    When I was pregnant I started washing my face with coconut oil. I decided to stick with the routine while I was nursing, rather than go back to traditional acne products. The coconut oil is safe for the baby and my skin has never looked better.

  15. Shan says:

    My doctor told me to avoid glycolic and salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide while pregnant, so I used the Belli wash with lactic acid and Body Shop tea tree oil products. I really don’t think they helped that much, but the flare ups seemed to die down towards the end of the second tri. Not much you can do about hormones except wait it out.

  16. Casey says:

    I am not pregnant, but salicylic acid has always had the opposite effect on my skin, so I have tried to avoid it in facewashes. It doesn’t help that I have incredibly acne-prone skin, but I have found something that has worked quite well. Neutrogena’s Naturals Purifying Pore Scrub has been my new BFF since I discovered it. Keeps me exfoliated and acne-free (or as acne free as I’ll ever be).

  17. Kate says:

    I also used Belli skincare through all three pregnancies. Highly recommend it! I also echo one poster’s advice to keep up on the guidelines and research, and listen to your OB. Expecting Better is an amazing book.

  18. april says:

    I found with me, what I thought was acne, was actual rosacea. Harsh acne treatments made it worse. But what was recommended on this site a while ago really helps and is all natural. Raw Honey. Gentle and antibacterial. A little mess to apply, but if you do it in the shower it isn’t too bad.

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