Acne and Breastfeeding- Doing Right for Both Mother and Baby

acne free mom with new babyMaybe its the birth of  the royal baby, but my e-mail at the blog definately has baby fever.   Last month I answered questions about acne care during pregnancy.  This week I’ve  researched  best practices for skin  care both before and after pregnancy.

Question 1 — “Ive been on Retin A gel for 10 years.  We want to start a family, but I am concerned.  How long do I have to wait after going off Retin A to be sure its safe for the baby?”

Answer 1-  If you take oral Retin A or spironolactone ( a hormone used to treat acne)  doctors recommend  waiting six months before trying to conceive.  However if you used  just a topical Retin A, there is no waiting  time.  Good luck!

Question 2 — “I delivered last month and my skin is still breaking out– and now I am breastfeeding.  What can I safely use to deal with this acne.”

 Answer 2:  All medications used on the skin  or taken by mouth will show up in the blood stream and get into the breast milk.   According to acne guru Laura Cortelyou who  works with Dr Marmur,  topical  and oral Retin A, oral antibiotics, and hormones should not be used both during  pregnancy  or while nursing.  Topical Metrogel for rosacea can be used during pregnancy but not while  breastfeeding.  Also  on the do not use  while nursing list  are benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid and salicylic acid.  Some doctors even suggest avoiding over the counter retinoids in moisturizers and serums.

So what is left?  Topical clindimycin has been used safely for decades and the newer Finacea ( azelaic acid) is actually safe during both  preganacy and nursing.  A physician’s  assistant with a speciality in dermatology, Laura  recommends using gentle exfoliating cleansers to help unblock  pores.  To reduce inflammation, she suggests applying chilled wet green tea bags to reduce the inflammation  that is at the root of the acne process.  And once you  no longer nursing she recommends  Retin A  to reduce stretch marks.  Now that’s what  I call a multi-purpose product. 


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