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Acne Flare-Ups

You expect your skin to glow when you're expecting, not look like a teenager's. But a less-than-perfect complexion isn't uncommon for moms-to-be.

"Because hormones are working overtime, pregnant women are often more prone to acne in their first trimester," says Diana Madfes, M.D., a clinical instructor of dermatology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in New York City. The hormonal changes can make your skin produce more oil, causing pimples to pop up on the face, neck, shoulders, and back. To help control breakouts:

-    Don't scrub or overwash your skin. Use a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil or Aveeno Skin Clarifying Cleanser to avoid overdrying your skin.

-    Switch to An oil-free moisturizer. A good one to use: Olay Active Hydrating Oil-Free Beauty Fluid.

-    Try a home remedy. Rub a tomato slice over the affected skin, advises Dr. Madfes. It may burn a little, but the acid within will help dry up pimples.

-    Check the labels of the products in your cabinet: Those that contain glycolic acid (an AHA) are safe, but those with benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, retinols, or steroids have potential side effects that could affect the baby.

-    Nix Accutane (even before you're pregnant) and tetracycline. In severe cases, a doctor may prescribe erythromycin, which is safe after the first trimester.

Get an okay from your ob before starting treatment. And don't fret: Your skin will likely return to normal later on in your pregnancy.

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