Hey Pretty Mama, Why You Look So Funky?
July 31, 2008 3:57 PM   Subscribe

Ladies with acne/bad skin/facial hair: Do prenatal vitamins help? Is there anything I can do?

This is very embarrassing for me to talk about. I'm in my twenties, and I have my dad's horrible skin and his mother's genetic predisposition for facial hair. I am treating both with regular trips to the dermatologist--she has me on Solodyn and Ziana for acne and Aldactone for a hormone imbalance. I also have laser facial hair removal.

But now that I want to become pregnant, my OB/GYN is telling me I have to discontinue my derm rx's and stop having laser done on my chin. I'm getting married in November and I really don't want my skin to erupt in the massive blemishes that have plagued me since I was 10, and I would really hate to be the bearded lady on my big day or when I give birth to my first child.

Will the prenatal vitamins help with either of these problems, or is all hope lost for a pretty mama wannabe?
posted by mynameismandab to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Two things:

I would just put off trying to get pregnant until well after your wedding and then you can continue the treatments at least up until that point.

The other thing is that I doubt prenatals will help at all. I'm currently 17+ weeks pregnant and taking prenatals and I have never had worse skin in my life. The hormones involved pretty much take over (although my migraines seem to have lessened!). Now, there is a chance that the change in hormones would actually *help* your skin, but there is no way to predict that.
posted by stefnet at 4:29 PM on July 31, 2008

When you are pregnant your hormones will change unpredictably. Both facial hair and acne are hormonal so I wouldn't think prenatal vitamins will have an effect one way or another.

But if it's any consolation, I have crummy skin too, and when I was pregnant with #1son I had the most amazing clear skin, invisible pores, even tone ... I also had constant nausea and lost 18 lbs. in the first trimester, but damn I looked good!

My skin stayed loverly throughout all the nursing etc. and it lasted until I got pregnant with #2son. Back to my normal spotty self, dammit.

If I were you I would do as stefnet said and keep doing whatever is working for you through your wedding, & start trying to get pregnant after that. Good luck & congratulations! =)
posted by headnsouth at 4:47 PM on July 31, 2008

Are you overweight? You may have PCOS, which can cause acne and facial hair on women. Obesity can act as a mechanism for the body to produce androgenic hormones. After a trip to an endocrinologist, who recommended going on a diet, my wife, who's Asian and can by from the kids section, lost about twenty pounds and the condition went away. A trip to an endocrine specialist may help you out.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:49 PM on July 31, 2008

I took aldactone for acne for years and it worked like a charm. I stopped taking it when
I got pregnant but didn't have any problems with acne while pregnant. My skin was fine and now 7 weeks post-partum it's still clear but we'll see if it stays that way. Pregnancy does all sorts of weird things to your hormones and every woman reacts differently so it's really hard to say what will happen to you.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 5:09 PM on July 31, 2008

Also, I wasn't consistent in taking PNVs during pregnancy. I took them regularly in 1st tri and a little less so during 2nd and hardly at all in the 3rd so I doubt it was the vitamins that affected my skin.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 5:12 PM on July 31, 2008

Prenatal vitamins? God no. If that sort of thing worked the Clearasil people would be in the vitamin racket.

But there are lasting treatments out there; if you're not bad enough for Accutane (and not willing to postpone pregnancy by that much), Google "Levulan."
posted by kmennie at 5:43 PM on July 31, 2008

It always seems to me that my skin/acne gets a little better when I take multivitamins regularly, but that's a single data point and a subjective one at that.

Have you asked your OB/GYN how she feels about you using other topical acne treatments (that don't contain tretinoin) - plain topical erythromycin or clindamycin, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or alpha hydroxy acid...?
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:04 PM on July 31, 2008

It used to be that doctors would tell patients that chips and chocolate caused acne. These days most dermatologists discount diet entirely. Chips might not be the culprit, but it's pretty clear that diet does play a role one way or another.
As a starting point, future experiments testing the diet-acne hypothesis should employ diets that mimic the nutritional characteristics of diets found in nonwesternized populations known to be free of acne.31 Although there is no single nonwesternized diet, there are certain universal characteristics that have a theoretical basis for testing. These diets are free of processed foods, cereal grains, dairy products, refined sugars, and refined oils and almost entirely comprise unprocessed fresh, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, fish, and seafood.77 and 78

Genetics are important, but diet is also important (and can change your gene expression actually). It varies person to person, but for me it seemed wheat made things worse. I now eat mostly rice.

If you do supplement, go for omega-3 fatty acids. There is evidence that they can help both hormonal and skin problems. They can't hurt!
posted by melissam at 8:04 PM on July 31, 2008

I do not know how this would really work, but could you think about cutting some of the sugar out of your diet?
My face has been really broken out lately (despite having cleared up massively after going on hormonal birth control), and when I brought it up to one of my friends, she had noticed that it coincided with an increase in drinking Coke. She said "sugar will really make your skin crappy!"
So I cut out the soda, and voila, my face is clear again!
Just an anecdote, but I thought you might appreciate it.
posted by nataliedanger at 8:21 PM on July 31, 2008

Thanks for all the comments so far. To answer the diet question, I have done it all: cut out soda, eat really healthy, drink only water. If that were the problem, I wouldn't be posting to AskMe.

My father had Verry poor skin--he still has pock marks on his face and neck. My brother too. It's definitely a genetic/hormone thing--acne vulgaris. Just in case that helps.
posted by mynameismandab at 11:01 PM on July 31, 2008

Prenatal vitamins are, according to my (pregnant) wife's OB/GYN, essentially multivitamins with extra B vitamins. They don't do anything that normal multis don't, except help prevent neural tube defects in an embryo.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:01 AM on August 1, 2008

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