Do Prenatal Vitamins Cause Acne?

by Kirstin Hendrickson

About Kirstin Hendrickson

Kirstin Hendrickson is a writer, teacher, coach, athlete and author of the textbook "Chemistry In The World." She's been teaching and writing about health, wellness and nutrition for more than 10 years. She has a Bachelor of Science in zoology, a Bachelor of Science in psychology, a Master of Science in chemistry and a doctoral degree in bioorganic chemistry.

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Acne during pregnancy is a common problem due to an increase or imbalance of certain hormones. Although some people may blame prenatal vitamins as the cause of their acne, this idea is purely a myth and there is no scientific evidence to support the claim. Prenatal vitamins are nothing more than regular daily multivitamins in slightly higher than normal doses and will not affect cause breakouts.

Prenatal Myths

The likely reason for the common myth that prenatal vitamins cause acne is that some of the women taking prenatal vitamins also experience breakouts. This is purely a correlation and the breakouts aren't due to the vitamins. Most women who take prenatal vitamins are pregnant, and pregnancy hormones cause some women to experience increased acne.

Iron

The ingredients in a prenatal vitamin are very similar to those in a regular women's daily multivitamin, with some notable exceptions. Prenatal vitamins contain much more iron -- about 27 mg as opposed to 18 mg -- than complete daily multivitamins. Iron helps you build new red blood cells. The extra iron can affect your digestive tract, making you feel nauseated, but will not give you acne.

Folic Acid

Another big difference between prenatal vitamins and regular daily multivitamins is that prenatals contain large quantities of folic acid. Most multivitamins contain 400 mcg folic acid, while prenatals typically contain 800 to 1,000 mcg of the vitamin. Folic acid is one of the B vitamins, and it helps your developing baby to form the neural tube, which eventually becomes the brain and spinal cord. Folic acid won't affect your skin quality.

Pregnancy and Acne

If you're pregnant, are taking prenatal vitamins and are experiencing acne, don't stop taking the vitamins without consulting your doctor first. These vitamins play a vital role in ensuring that you and your developing baby are getting the nutrients you both need. Your doctor can help you find ways to control your acne if you're among the many pregnant women who experience problem skin during pregnancy. Because some over-the-counter acne treatments are unsafe during pregnancy, be sure to talk to your doctor before treating your breakouts at home.

References (2)

  • “You: Having A Baby”; Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.; 2009
  • “Conception, Pregnancy and Birth”; Miriam Stoppard, M.D.; 2008

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.