Benzoyl peroxide is widely used in hair dyes and teeth whitening products. It is used for treating acne and pimples as well. The use of this medication during pregnancy has however, raised a few safety concerns, which are discussed in this article.
During pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through a lot of changes. All these changes can sometimes cause an outbreak of acne. Some women can develop mild acne, which can be easily treated with simple home remedies, while others may require the help of medicated acne creams and ointments.
Some of the active ingredients of such medicated acne ointments can be absorbed by the skin, which has raised many concerns regarding their use during those precious nine months. One of the most commonly found ingredients in acne creams and ointments is benzoyl peroxide. The use of this organic compound during pregnancy has raised a few safety questions, which are briefly discussed below.
What is Benzoyl Peroxide?
It is an organic compound known for its bleaching properties. This is the reason why it is widely used in hair dyes and teeth whitening products. It is also used as an antimicrobial medication that can kill the bacteria present on the skin, besides exfoliating the outer layer of the skin. For this reason, it is a common ingredient in many acne skin care products. It is generally combined with other ingredients like retinol or retinoic acid, and salicylic acid to prepare acne creams and ointments. Usually, it is used in a very low concentration in acne creams.
Can It be Used During Pregnancy
So far, no studies or research have been carried out to find out whether this organic compound is safe to be used during pregnancy. Benzoyl peroxide belongs to the pregnancy category C drugs, which means that it has not been tested in humans or animals to find out its effect on the developing fetus. So, the risks associated with this medication are not known with certainty.
In other words, there is no conclusive evidence that this compound can cause birth defects or serious side effects, if used during pregnancy. Therefore, many physicians are of the opinion that pregnant women can use this compound in moderation. It is true that, a very small amount (about 2%) of benzoyl peroxide applied topically, is absorbed by the skin, but whether it passes into the breast milk is not known. But so far, pregnant and breastfeeding women have not reported any serious side effects, while using acne products containing this organic compound.
However, it is better to maintain precaution, while using this medication. The best way to prevent any adverse effect on the developing fetus, is to talk to your obstetrician before using benzoyl peroxide or any other medication during pregnancy. In addition to this, remember to use those acne products that contain a very low concentration of this organic compound.
On the other hand, mild to moderate acne can be treated with some simple remedies without using the over-the-counter or prescription medications. Even regular cleaning can help keep the skin oil-free, and reduce the population of bacteria, that can help alleviate the problem of acne.
But if you are suffering from severe acne, you may need the help of acne creams or ointments. Be sure to look for the ingredients and their concentration in the particular ointment, and discuss with your physician if that product can be used safely during pregnancy.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.