Raise your hand if you have no experience with acne. That’s what I thought, which is why I gave a little cry of shock when we got an email from a reader who has no experience with breakouts but is now battling acne thanks to her pregnancy hormones. A few weeks ago we asked you to weigh in on how to fight dry skin during pregnancy. We know you must have some insight here, too. Here is sweet Sarah’s note:

I’ve loved reading your blog every day since I discovered it earlier this year and made the switch to all green skincare. I have always had really happy skin no matter what I do, but I just found out I’m pregnant and even though I’m barely getting started I’m shocked at how quickly the pimples are coming in. I have no experience with acne so I’m not sure what to do. I scoured your archives looking for advice on pregnancy related acne, and it seems that most people are talking about going off the pill or other hormonal ‘problems’. Obviously pregnancy hormones aren’t something I’ll be able to ‘fix’ and don’t want to, so I guess I’m looking for other suggestions. I do all the things recommended, drink tons of water, exercise 4x a week, eat all organic, lots of veggies, juice, plenty of vitamins and supplements, etc. etc. The difference is the pregnancy so I’m not sure what else to fix? Any products or other tips for pregnancy specific would be great!

It sounds like Sarah is doing an incredible job taking care of herself and her little bean. I’d love to know what her skincare routine looks like. Even though her skin has always been agreeable no matter what she’s done, it could be that her routine isn’t able to address this kind of thing. While it’s true that most of the discussion on this site about hormonal acne has occurred in different contexts — quitting the pill, etc. — some of the same things might help when hormones rage thanks to pregnancy. I wouldn’t know, since I’ve only had puppies… that’s where you come in.

What do you think? Should Sarah just expect her skin to act out as long as she’s pregnant? Are there steps she can take that will help normalize her skin while pregnant?

Much of the time, my skin feels strong and resilient, in spite of my being a sensitive sort.  I credit good nutrition and exercise, along with a few amazing topical products.  I still get those hormonal breakouts though.  For a week or so each month, no matter what I do (or don’t do), I’ll get several pimples, one or two of which have lasting effects.  I really like a drop of lavender mixed with Fuller’s Earth clay as an overnight spot treatment.  It definitely works, but too many nights of that in a row is drying for my skin.  Plus, it would be nice to stroll around the house before bed without my husband saying, “Hey, Spotsy.”  I finally found something that I can use as often as necessary without getting dried out, and it meshes well with my regular routine.

Annmarie Gianni Skin Care is a very clean brand that aims to be earth, mind, and body conscious.  Everything (except travel sets and samples) is packaged in beautiful and functional violet glass.  The products I’m reviewing are gluten free and vegan, though the brand does use bee products.  Read on for my go-tos for hormonal breakouts, as well as two additional standout products.

Herbal Facial Oil for Oily and Acne Prone Skin:  I was honestly surprised at how well this works.  When my breakout week is at hand, I start applying this oil at night, only to my lower cheeks and jawline.  This isn’t something that should go all over my dry skin, but those with oilier skin could use it all over the face.  I’ve been through a few cycles with it now, so I’m convinced.  It prevents things from getting out of hand, to the point where I’m not doing any special cover-up routine the next morning.  Regardless of my cycle, if it looks like a blemish is coming, I use this as a spot treatment night or day.  If I squeeze a spot (go ahead, judge me), this oil applied afterward keeps things in control with anti-inflammatory action.  The herbal scent is acceptable, and though I’m not in love with it, for the performance I don’t need to be. ($34.95/15 ml)

Rosemary Toning Mist:  This antimicrobial and hormone balancing plant makes the perfect hydrosol to accompany the Herbal Facial Oil.  I only use it where I’m applying the oil.  It smells just like fresh rosemary. ($29.95/50 ml)

Neroli Toning Mist:  Annmarie really does make some superior quality hydrosols.  Neroli is soothing to skin, calming to the mind, and just plain awesome.  It’s in my regular rotation. ($27.95/50 ml)

Coconut Body Oil:  This glides on and absorbs wonderfully.  The scent is light and unique, designed to keep you heart centered and calm.  It has triggered my interest in other products scented with frankincense (the smell of coconut is present but subtle).  I’m quite picky about body oils, and this one is special. ($29.95/100 ml or $54.95/200 ml)

What have you tried from Annmarie Gianni?