Acne and Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding and Body Acne

Are you struggling with acne while breastfeeding? There are natural products you can use, to take care of acne during breastfeeding!

Some Moms notice acne outbreaks during the first few months after childbirth; this can include pimples on the face or all over the body.

This "post pregnancy acne" is entirely normal. Acne after giving birth will most likely disappear once your hormones have settled down a bit.

Acne after childbirth can take from a few weeks to a few months to clear. On this page, we will also discuss acne in the breastfed baby.


Acne and Breastfeeding
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The Cause

What Causes Acne in Mom during Breastfeeding?

  • It could be hormonal; related to the hormones that are produced during breastfeeding, but it is mostly due to hormones that are returning to normal after giving birth. Most Moms have acne post-pregnancy, whether they are breastfeeding or not. Read more about hormonal changes while breastfeeding. 
  • Stress: Usually when a new baby is introduced into an already busy lifestyle, it can cause some additional stress. Try to relax as much as possible, and get as much help around the house or with the kids as possible. Read more about stress and breastfeeding here.
  • Dehydration: Many Moms forget that they need to stay extra hydrated during breastfeeding. When your skin becomes dehydrated, it will start to retaliate! Drink at least eight glasses of water per day.


Acne and Breastfeeding

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Safe MEDs

Acne MEDs and Topical Creams that are Safe during Breastfeeding

Oral medications are not recommended, as these can put Mom and Baby at risk for thrush.

  • Most topical acne products that are applied to the skin are safe during breastfeeding because they are found in minimal amounts in the bloodstream and are hardly ever found in breast milk. There are a few exceptions to this rule; always ask your doctor first.
  • Medications that are taken orally, like Tetracycline, Erythromycin, and Retin-A, are safe while nursing. They are not found in breast milk, the tiny amounts of Tetracycline found in breast milk will not get absorbed, but will bind with the calcium in milk and finally land up in your baby’s poop, without affecting him/her.
  • The best topical acne treatments while breastfeeding, are products that contain Benzoyl peroxide or Salicyclic acid; these are not absorbed by the skin. For reducing the appearance of acne, the latest Jeunesse reviews look promising.
  • Azelex (azelaic acid) is another topical acne treatment, that is safe while breastfeeding.
  • Other safe medications: Erythromycin, Proactive.
  • MEDs that should not be taken: Accutane (Isotretinoin).


Breastfeeding and Pimples


Natural Acne Remedies

Alternative Methods to getting Rid of Acne

  • The best and safest way to handle acne during breastfeeding is to try natural products and methods. Remedies-for-skin is a site with all natural recipes for skin care. There you will find natural cleansers, moisturizers, toners, essential oils for oily skin and much more.
  • You can also use your breast milk and apply it twice per day for acne relief. Breast milk is antibacterial and contains healing properties. Breast milk contains Lauric acid, which has acne fighting properties; without producing skin irritation and redness. Read more about other uses of breast milk.
  • Using a gentle baby wash on your face can be quite effective, and won’t harm you or your baby.


I've got Pimples on my Nipples!

Some Moms experience an acne outbreak on their breasts and nipples during breastfeeding.

Acne that is due to hormonal changes can be found anywhere on the body, including the breasts.

Breast pimples can also be caused by improper sucking, (check your latch). A pimple or blister on the nipple may be a blocked duct or a nipple bleb.

Breast acne that seems like a rash may be an indication of a yeast infection


Baby Acne

Breastfeeding and Acne in Baby?

  • Acne neonatum “ breastfeeding acne, " is the acne that is caused by the mother's excess hormones in the breast milk. The hormones are transferred to a baby through the milk, and can cause the baby’s sebaceous glands to overproduce sebum; clogging the pores and causing pimples.
  • This acne is usually visible from the first few weeks of life, until about three months postpartum.
  • This acne usually does not require medical treatment and should disappear on its own.
  • The occurrence of birth acne is more common in boys than in girls.
  • This acne is usually situated on Baby’s cheeks, near the mouth, chin, forehead or on the scalp.
  • Lotions and oils might worsen the condition and should be avoided. You can use a facial cleanser that is specially made for babies. You can also use your breast milk as mentioned above. 
  • Should I stop breastfeeding? The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh the temporary inconvenience of acne.



Other pages on “breastfeeding problems" in connection with this page on  acne and breastfeeding


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