How To Care For Your Skin When Going Through Fertility Treatments

If you're trying to become pregnant but have experienced problems conceiving, fertility treatments can increase the likelihood of conception. According to the United Kingdom's NHS, the three major types of fertility treatments include medicines for ovulation stimulation, surgical procedures, and assisted conception, such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). Though generally safe, fertility treatments can be a physically and emotionally taxing journey. Counting among the common side effects of fertility treatments include mood swings, depression, nausea, headaches, and breast tenderness, as well as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, per Medical News Today.

Fertility treatments can also cause your skin to act up, giving you acne breakouts, a puffy face, and redness of the skin. The reason being is fertility treatments involve using synthetic hormones to trigger the ovaries to produce more eggs, which typically results in fluctuations of estrogen and triggering the formation of zits and pimples. Dermatologist Dr. Peterson Pierre explains via All Skincare, "Any type of hormonal treatment can affect the skin in a negative way." In most cases, patients who have a track record of acne breakouts in the days leading to their time of menstruation are at a higher risk of having flare-ups during IVF treatments. If you're undergoing fertility treatments and encountering acne issues, here are some ways to care for your skin and keep your breakouts to a minimum.

How to prevent acne during fertility treatments

As usual, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. According to Sozo Aesthetic Clinic, sufficient home care is the first step to nipping acne in the bud. Therefore, to prevent your pores from getting clogged and giving you breakouts, cleanse your skin twice a day every day, remove your makeup thoroughly after every use, and exfoliate twice a week to slough dead skin cells, product buildup, and pollutants off your face. For those with oily or acne-prone skin, use sunscreens and moisturizers that are non-comedogenic to prevent clogging your pores.

What you eat can have a great impact on your skin, so consider making changes to your meal plans to prevent pimples from popping up during treatment. For instance, steer clear of dairy products and high-GI foods like white pasta for they can give you more breakouts, Fertility Tips points out. For a skin-friendly and anti-inflammatory diet, minimize processed foods, opt for non-dairy milk instead of regular milk, and cook your food with organic cooking oils like olive oil, avocado oil, and macadamia nut oil. Whole grains, healthy fats, fruits and veggies, omega-3-rich fish, and low-fat poultry are beneficial for your reproductive system while keeping your skin healthy from the inside. Smoking and drinking can affect the chances of IVF treatments while taking a toll on your skin, so steer clear of cigarettes and alcoholic beverages when you're undergoing treatments.

How to treat acne caused by fertility treatment

If you have done everything right and are still breaking out, you might need dermatological intervention. Many of you might think that getting acne treatment while trying to conceive can upset the success rate of your fertility treatment. But to come to think of it, leaving acne untreated can take a toll on your mental health in addition to your appearance, adding enormously to IVF-induced anxieties. In the treatment of mild to moderate acne, topical treatments are usually the first-line treatment. Depending on the severity of your breakout, you might be prescribed with topical acne medications including benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or more potent antibiotics such as erythromycin and clindamycin, according to MotherToBaby.

Retinoids and retinol are not an option when you're trying to conceive as these ingredients have been shown to harm a growing fetus, dermatologist Dr. Corey L. Hartman explains to Verywell Family. If you need chemical peels, avoid those that involve retinol but opt for gentler peels using AHA, glycolic, lactic, or fruit acid instead. Oral antibiotics such as tetracyclines, trimethoprim, and fluoroquinolones are associated with miscarriage risks, so they are generally off the table. Unless you are a dermatologist yourself, do not attempt risky self-treatments. Many active ingredients that usually work well on acne skin can mess with your treatments and decrease your chances of getting pregnant. To err on the safe side, always speak to a dermatologist when your breakouts give you headaches.