You are currently viewing Can Prenatal Vitamins Cause Acne? How to Prevent Pregnancy Flare Ups

Prenatal Vitamins are the custom combination of essential nutrients a pregnant body needs. This supplement is vital to maintaining a healthy pregnancy. However, some may blame prenatal vitamins as the common convict of acne during pregnancy.

However, this idea is entirely based on myth, which lacks scientific evidence as over 40% of pregnant women experience acne. This outbreak is in its full bloom, especially in its first trimester. And it has also been observed that pregnant women get acne whether they take Prenatal Vitamins or not. So can it be the cause of taking prenatal vitamins?

An insight into prenatal vitamins will give us a clear idea of whether or not prenatal vitamins are a convict at the onset of acne.

What are Prenatal Vitamins?

Prenatal Vitamins are the regular multivitamins women take regularly but in a higher concentration. Like the concentration of Folic Acid in ordinary women, multivitamins are 400 micrograms, but in Prenatal Vitamins, this quantity extends to 800 mcg. So prenatal vitamins are your regular multivitamins, but as the pregnant body is double in need of nutrients, the amount of prenatal vitamins is double.

These vitamins are custom according to the changing requirements of the pregnant body and fetal and placental development. These vitamins are also stage-specific. However, all prenatal vitamins contain different micronutrients that ensure a healthy pregnancy and the health of the pregnant woman and fetus. Also, their customization depends on the role each supplement play in the development of fetal growth and its stability at each stage of pregnancy.

Now the question is whether or not these prenatal vitamins are the cause of triggering acne.

So to have a clearer perspective, let’s look closely at the vitamins that are a part of prenatal vitamins and their effects on the skin.

The first and most essential vitamin is Folic Acid.

Folic Acid

It is responsible for increasing hydration in the skin by maintaining skin barrier function. This improves moisture retention and eases skin dryness. Folic acid is responsible for doing so by keeping adequate collagen production.


An essential vitamin in prenatal vitamin does not affect the skin at all.

Vitamin D:

Research says that vitamin D has powerful anti-inflammatory properties; therefore, its lack may trigger acne.

Vitamin C:

Vitamin C is a great and safe ingredient to use while pregnant,” confirms Dr. Nazarian. “Thankfully, it’s a super safe ingredient and works well with other products in most basic skincare regimens, such as sunscreen.” Source:

Vitamin A:

It helps in speeding up healing and preventing breakouts/acne. It is also helpful in supporting the skin’s immune system, and it promotes natural moisturizing. This means it helps to hydrate the skin effectively, giving it a radiant glow. It is also helpful in helping to promote and maintain a healthy dermis and epidermis, the top two layers of your skin.

Vitamin E:

This vitamin is famous for its miraculous benefits on the skin. This vitamin is crucial for healthy skin and eyes. Even it is used to treat birthmarks.


Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, zinc may help clear acne, causing bacteria from the skin and reducing oil production, which is the second most common cause of acne.


Iodine is a common mineral found in multivitamin supplements and although it is essential for healthy thyroid functioning. However, in excess, it is excreted through the follicles and can be highly irritating to the pores of acne-prone individuals. In addition, some recent findings have linked Biotin with increased breakouts, and we often find this in prenatal vitamins.

B Vitamins:

This vitamin is crucial for keeping your skin radiant and glowing. However, according to a new study, too much vitamin B12 may promote acne.

The study found that, in the presence of vitamin B12, the skin bacteria commonly linked to acne start pumping out inflammatory molecules known to promote pimples. Source:

In addition, there have been some recent findings that have linked Biotin with increased breakouts.

Studies also show that Biotin may help improve comedonal acne, which causes black and whiteheads. It may also help control the flaking and irritation that occurs when you take retinoids for acne—source:

So to clear the collision of claims, I am quoting a most recent study which states:-

An excess of biotin results in an overproduction of skin cells and a shortage of vitamin B5, resulting in a lack of moisture in the skin,” Green says. “The catalyst of the two can result in acne.” Still, there isn’t much research to support claims that taking biotin supplements will lead to a breakout—source:

What Can and Can’t Be the Cause of Your Acne

Provided that some vitamins do have an excessive amount of biotin supplementation that may cause more harm than benefit. As excess of anything is not good, similarly excess of vitamins that are unnecessary or not required by your body can be harmful. Thus, knowing what you are taking and what your body needs you to take is essential.

Fortunately, many of the tried and tested acne-reducing supplements are found in excellent Prenatal vitamins. Hence, this claim that prenatal supplements can trigger acne is based on myths.

Moreover, try to balance your diet and hormones instead of holding a single thing responsible because acne is said to be triggered by four basic convicts: hormonal changes, oil, bacteria, and diet.

When does pregnancy acne appear?

Acne can happen at any stage of pregnancy. Although many women experience some breakouts early on, others don’t begin showing up until later in their pregnancies. If you’re worried about getting pimples, here’s what you need to know about how pregnancy acne starts.

Acne can be one of the earliest indicators of pregnancy, usually developing around 6 weeks in. However, some women might not even know they are pregnant, so the sudden appearance of blemishes could be a big hint! If you’re experiencing acne and think you might be pregnant, consider taking a test.

Why does acne start during pregnancy?

Acne appears during pregnancy because of hormonal changes. Your skin produces more sebum, natural oil that helps protect it against bacteria. Sebum production increases throughout pregnancy. At the same time, you produce more testosterone, another male hormone. Testosterone stimulates oil glands to make more sebum. You also experience increased blood flow to your face and neck. All of these things work together to increase oil production.

How to prevent pregnancy acne naturally?

The good news is that most people don’t suffer from severe acne during pregnancy. But if you do, there are some ways to treat it. Try these tips:

  • Wash your face twice daily with gentle cleansers. Don’t use soap; it strips away oils.
  • Pat dry with a clean towel rather than rubbing. Rubbing dries out pores and makes acne worse.
  • Use a moisturizer every night. Choose one without alcohol, fragrance, or parabens. Look for products labeled “noncomedogenic,” meaning they won’t clog pores.
  • Avoid popping pimples. Picking at zits could damage your follicles and lead to scarring.
  • If you’re pregnant, avoid picking your nose or touching your face. Nose picking causes tiny tears in the skin that allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream.
  • Be careful about overusing antibiotics. You shouldn’t rely on antibiotics to clear acne; they can lead to antibiotic resistance, a growing worldwide problem. Instead, try treating acne with topical prescriptions.
  • Take precautions against sun exposure. Sunlight can exacerbate acne symptoms, so avoid tanning beds and outdoor activities whenever possible.
  •  Use sunscreen every day. Even though it’s hard to cover all areas of your body with sunscreen, experts recommend applying it to your face, neck, chest, arms, legs, and feet.

Touching your face could also spread germs to your developing fetus.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists gives the following advice for women suffering from acne flare-ups during pregnancy. 

“Treat your skin kindly during this time! Consider using a gentle cleanser to wash your face twice daily, and try to avoid scrubbing your face, as this can further irritate your skin. A good moisturizer can be beneficial for hydrating and calming the skin while preventing breakouts. Also, consider switching to oil-free cosmetics. “

Does pregnancy acne go away after delivery?

Acne occurs because oil glands become overactive during pregnancy. This causes excess sebum production, which clogs pores and leads to inflammation. As soon as your hormone levels drop postpartum, the skin becomes drier and less oily, making it easier for the pores to drain.

Most women report clearing their breakouts by the end of their third trimester. However, if your acne continues into the early weeks of breastfeeding, you may want to consider picking up a topical prescription medication.

The good news is there are several treatments you can try now that weren’t available before you got knocked up. Here’s what to do about your postpartum zits.

Which pregnancy acne medications are unsafe?

If you have pregnancy acne and want to treat it, always speak to your prenatal care provider first. They can help you determine what treatment will work best for you. Researchers don’t test medications on pregnant women, so we don’t know how safe they are. Several acne medications can be dangerous for pregnant women because they can cause congenital disabilities. Therefore, it’s essential to always seek guidance from a medical professional before using any medication, especially during pregnancy.

If you are trying to self-treat your acne during pregnancy, we recommend against it. American Academy of Dermatology advises pregnant women to avoid these acne medications:


Brand names include: Absorica®, Amnesteem®, Claravis®, Myorisan®, Sotret®, and Zenatane™


Brand names include: Avage®, Fabior®, Tazorac®, and Zorac®


Brand name: Aldactone®

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