Postpartum Acne: What Causes It?

Raging hormones throughout pregnancy means your skin goes through so many changes. But once you give birth, the journey’s not quite over yet. Skin changes like acne affect many moms after giving birth. Let’s look at why it happens and what you can do about it.

What causes postpartum acne?

acne skin problem

Changing hormone balance

As soon as you give birth, your levels of the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone take a steep drop back down. These hormones affect the rate that waxy substance called sebum builds up in your pores. The sudden change in levels can bring about acne or dryness.


Constipation lots of postpartum moms suffer from can increase bad bacteria in your gut which produce harmful substances for your body. As a result, it can cause skin problems like acne.

Stress and fatigue

Taking care of a newborn takes up a lot of your mental and physical energy. (In other news? Water is wet.) Lifestyle changes like lack of sleep can mean you build up stress: a known risk factor for skin problems.

Skin care tips for postpartum acne

skin care product

The time it takes for your shifting hormone balance to settle down and bring relief for your skin can vary from person to person, but for many moms, it takes about 3 to 4 months. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t love the skin you’re in until then.

Build a manageable skin care routine

Now you’ve got your hands full with your little one on the scene, it’s easy to let routines like skin-care fall by the wayside. To save time and hassle, try a gentle all-in-one cleanser and moisturizer so you don’t take too long out of your daily routine. A moisturizing lotion is a good option for rubbing on after a shower and can help fight dry skin.

Use the right products for your skin

Many new moms find that skin care products they used during pregnancy are a great match for their skin during the postpartum period, but don’t be afraid to shop around if you need to: you may find that changing hormone balance means they’re no longer suitable.

If you’re breastfeeding, just make sure to steer clear of salicylic acid which is a common ingredient in skin care products, to be on the safe side.

Cut UV exposure

Your skin is sensitive after childbirth, so put on a sunscreen and cover up to cut your UV exposure when you’re out in the sun. Sun-smart strategies like this may help prevent skin problems after pregnancy.

Cut your stress levels

Taking care of a newborn can bring a whole new world of stress, but don’t forget to take time for some self-care. Cutting down on your stress levels gives your skin a chance to heal, so allowing yourself time to relax a little each day could help your complexion return to normal.

Watch your diet

Support your skin’s natural potential by following a balanced diet that provides proteins, vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy. Consider including fermented foods like yogurt to regulate the intestinal condition and relieve your constipation, too.

Postpartum acne won’t last forever

mother mom kid child baby kiss smile
After giving birth, it can take a little while for your hormones to settle down to the normal. This can mean the skin changes of pregnancy may hang around into the postpartum period. But try not to get too anxious about it: these changes are mostly temporary, and sticking to sustainable, low-stress skin care can give you a head start on healing.