Murad Q&A: Breakouts During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Dr Murad how to treat acne during pregnancy

Last summer I asked you to tell me your about your most pressing skincare woes and questions. I then picked the ten most frequently asked and emailed them over to Dr Murad in LA who has very kindly responded. If you want more background on the Q&A series, have a look here and if you want to read Dr Murad’s advice on reducing acne scarring and pigmentation then you can read that here.


My problem is that ever since I started breast-feeding, my skin is acting crazy. I have inflamed patches of severe breakouts that itch and hurt and other parts of my face that are super dry and flakey. What can I use on my skin that won’t hurt my baby?

Dr Murad:

Hi Julia,

You are not alone. Women can continue to get blemishes for a number of reasons. Hormonal changes and imbalances, including being pregnant and post-pregnancy differences, as well as a decrease in estrogen and an increase in testorerone and DHEA can make blemishes appear. In addition, the constant and pervasive stress we encounter each day, known as Cultural Stress (and having a newborn can be very stressful!); the lack of a proper diet; and environmental factors, like free radical damage can contribute to the appearance of blemishes.

Pregnant women can have an increase in breakouts. Hormonal shifts during pregnancy can cause the sebaceous glands to go in to overdrive, boosting production of sebum which can block your pores and lead to inflammation and breakouts. It’s important to cleanse, treat and moisturize the face in the morning and at night to rid skin of dirt and bacteria. Sulfer-based topical products, as well as those containing AHAs or glycolic acid to help with cell turn over, will help combat these breakouts.

In addition to a rich moisturizer containing Vitamin E and Shea Butter, I recommend pregnant and breastfeeding women use products for the face that contain Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid. The Vitamin C will brighten the skin while providing antioxidant protection and flooding the skin with vitamins and minerals. As women tend to experience drier skin during pregnancy, Hyaluronic Acid will attract and retain moisture to the skin.

As always, here at Murad we recommend an inclusive health approach in order to achieve the best results from your skin. Having a baby can be stressful and you may not have as much time for yourself anymore. Stress is a factor that will override everything else when it comes to skin, no matter what products you use or what supplements you take, therefore it is important to learn to manage stress well and take some time out dedicated to you.

Some relevant skincare recommendations from me:

1) Alpha-H Liquid Gold is safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding, though go carefully if your skin feels more sensitive than usual. The serum version is not safe to use, so make sure you’re looking at the right one! Avoid anything that has the words “salicylic”, “retinol”, or any word that looks similar to retinol (retinoic for example!) in the ingredients list. Liquid Gold will help with breakouts but also increase radiance and brighten up dull skin. You can find it on CultBeauty who will deliver worldwide for free if you use the code CULTAH at checkout. Cult Beauty

2) Murad’s Essential C moisturiser SPF30 is a nice one for daytime. It’s not heavy at all, but does a great job of keeping the skin moisturised and it also contains sun protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Find it at FeelUnique with free delivery.

3) For a huge hit of Vitamin C, also have a look at Murad’s home facial kit (here) – it’s great for a weekly skin blitz. Filorga also do a brilliant intensive system called Meso-C. I’ve raved about that one before, the review is here.

4) Hyaluronic acid is a bit of a powerhouse ingredient when it comes to skin moisturising. You’ll find it in lots of serums and face creams, but a couple of tried and tested suggestions: Hydraluron for an unadulterated hit of it, £24.99 at; Liquid Gold Perfecting Daywear Serum, Cult Beauty (free delivery with code CULTAH, as before) – note that this is not the same as the night repair serum.

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