Clearasil & Pregnancy

Because pregnancy causes major hormonal changes in your body, pregnant women, just like teenagers, are at risk of developing acne breakouts. Treating acne while pregnant, however, is not a simple task, since many prescription acne medications are not safe for pregnant women to use. Instead, many women choose an over-the-counter acne treatment like Clearasil while pregnant, which is safe as long as you consult with your doctor before you start using it.

Active Ingredients

Clearasil products differ in their active ingredients, so check the contents of the specific product to find out if it is safe to use when pregnant. The American Pregnancy Association reports that products that contain benzoyl peroxide as the active ingredient are safe acne treatment for pregnant women, while products that contain salicylic acid should be avoided. For Clearasil products, this means that you should avoid Clearasil cleansing pads, overnight products and ultra face wash, while regular daily face wash and vanishing cream is safe to use. Clearasil adult cream contains a different active ingredient--recorcinol--which has not been found to be harmful.

Topical Treatment

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It is generally considered safe to use Clearasil while pregnant because it is milder than oral or topical prescription medications. Topical treatments function by drying up excess oil on the skin, and may cause some initial dryness or itchiness when you first start applying the medication. Prescription acne treatment, whether oral or topical, contains stronger ingredients that may not be safe for pregnant women to use. These medications also tend to have more severe side effects, such as burning and peeling skin.

Consulting Your Doctor

Because many oral acne treatment options are not safe for pregnant women, inform your doctor if you become pregnant or plan to become pregnant and you are currently taking prescription acne medication. Your doctor may recommend a specific over-the-counter alternative acne treatment for you. You should also ask your doctor before starting any new medications while you are pregnant, including using Clearasil while pregnant, to make sure that the medication will not interfere with any existing conditions or treatments.

Medical Research

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No significant side effects have been found for benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or resorcinol in their topical applications for women, but little research has been conducted on pregnant women to conclusively prove that these products are safe.


Remember that many of the foods and medications that pregnant women should avoid may also have negative side effects on breastfeeding infants if used by the mother. The Mayo Clinic reports that not enough research has been done on the effects of salicylic acid on breastfeeding women or their babies, and advises women to consult their doctors about using any medications while breastfeeding.