Is Acne Medication Safe to Use During Pregnancy?

Are my acne medications safe for use during pregnancy? What can I use instead?
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profile picture of Melissa Schweiger and Annette Rubin
Updated March 2, 2017
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If you’re using an acne medication and trying to conceive or found out you’re pregnant, talk to your dermatologist or OB right away — the product you’re using might not be safe to use during pregnancy.

It figures, right? Just when your hormones are going berserk (and your skin is out of control), you’re told you shouldn’t be using your old-standby pimple zappers and preventers. But hear this scary stuff: The oral acne medication Accutane is _proven _to cause birth defects. And salicylic acid, one of the most common over-the-counter topical acne ingredients, has been linked to birth defects too. Benzoyl peroxide is considered safe by some doctors, but we recommend against using it because research suggests it could affect baby’s birth weight. So check your bottles for those ingredients and toss anything you have that contains them.

To play it super-safe, there are some all-natural ingredients you can use to tame your acne, such as lactic acid, tea tree oil or sulfur. All of those ingredients have passed teratology screening, meaning they’re proven to be safe.

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