Is Accutane Safe To Use While Breastfeeding? Here's What Experts Say

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When you're pregnant, your skin may bask in what is known as "pregnancy glow." Unfortunately, that doesn't last forever and, after giving birth, you may find yourself dealing with devilish postpartum acne. As common as acne is after having a baby, most moms want to seek treatment or heal their skin as soon as possible. Accutane may be one of the most common medications to treat the skin condition, but is Accutane safe while breastfeeding? Clear skin may not be worth it if there are any potential side effects.

According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD), Accutane is a very strong medication used to treat severe acne that hasn't responded to other treatments. The drug is known for it's effectiveness and may be safer than taking a long term antibiotic for acne, despite potential side effects like headaches, dry lips, and thinning hair.

Although Accutane is thought to be safe for most people, the AOCD noted that it can cause severe birth defects in pregnant women and should be completely avoided if you're pregnant. But when it comes to the use of the drug after baby is already born and the mother is breastfeeding, not as much is known about any potential side effects for mother or baby.

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The Mayo Clinic noted that almost every drug a mother takes will pass in some quantity into her breast milk. Although each medication is different, it's very important to carefully consider what medications you take as a breastfeeding mom.

According to March of Dimes, there isn't enough information available currently to determine the safety of Accutane for breastfeeding moms or their infants, and so it's best to avoid the drug altogether. Baby Med suggested that nursing moms seek other treatments for their acne since no studies are published about the safety of the drug.

The Dr. Axe website noted that things like dietary changes, and other natural products like witch hazel or eucalyptus can help improve acne. You can also speak to your doctor about a medication with Benzoyl Peroxide or Salsylic Acid, both common treatments for acne that are safer for nursing.

As tempting as it may be to clear up your acne with a proven medication, with so little known about its effect on breast milk and infants, most recommend avoiding the drug while nursing. That doesn't mean that you have to put up with acne until you're done breastfeeding though. Instead of Accutane, opt for other treatments that are proven safe so you can treat your skin without worrying about it's impact on your baby's health.