It's maybe a bit weird I've chosen to write this post today considering I haven't really told anyone I'm pregnant. Family and friends know, but there's been no Instagram announcement, no public broadcast of any kind. (I'm expecting a few emails.) The reason I've chosen to out myself in this way is, I guess, because suddenly I understand how much it sucks to deal with pregnancy-related acne, and I want to help. Before now, I was blissfully unaware that every effective spot-busting ingredient I have relied on in the past (salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide) would be off the table. There isn't a lot of data on how these ingredients affect a developing fetus (and scientists are reluctant to experiment on pregnant women for obvious reasons), so you're on your own.
I had one doctor tell me salicylic acid was perfectly fine to use in concentrations of less than 2%, and another shake her head and say: "If you want to test it out, that's your prerogative, but I do not recommend it." (Side note: If there is one sentence guaranteed to terrify a pregnant women, that's it.) Scared, I scoured message boards and reached out to mums I know to suss possible leads. They had some recommendations, but because I have a good understanding of what works for my skin, I didn't bother with some of them. I know tea tree oil does zip for me as a spot treatment, and AHAs are much the same. I am currently using lactic acid as a preventative breakout measure (Go-To's Exfoliating Swipeys, $46), but what I wanted was something to quickly kill the odd eruption overnight. Blame it on nausea (that struggle is also real) but it took me a few weeks to remember the blind pimple assassin I used to use on hormonal breakouts. Glory of glories, I quickly discovered it was, in fact, pregnancy safe.
Keep scrolling to see what it is.
A few things about Payot's Pate Grise. One: It smells a bit like petrol. If you're used to scented skincare, you will initially find this weird. Be ready for it. Even if you like the smell of fuel, you may not love it on your skin. That said, even in the height of my morning ("all day long") sickness, it didn't bother me much. Two: It's messy. To apply, you take a cotton bud and dab a glob over the top of the offending pimple, and leave it there. This is not a time for hope and silk pillowcases—it's a time for desperation and old towels. I realise I'm not making it sound very good, but trust me when I say this overnight treatment can help eliminate everything from a serious blind pimple to a developing spot by the time you wake up. Made with shale extract and zinc oxide, it's essentially a drawing cream that works by both controlling excess sebum and soothing inflammation to "mature" blemishes faster. It's worked really well for me both as a non-preggo and now preggo, and I hope it will for you too.