Pregnancy can be one of the most beautiful and rewarding experiences a woman can have. When it comes to skincare and pregnancy your little bundle of joy can also create a bundle of skin-related concerns.
Particularly when your OB/GYN tells you that your favourite retinol serum is suddenly off the table.
Pregnancy safe skin care means you can maintain your skincare routine with just a few adjustments.
Pregnancy Safe Skincare? Is there such a thing?
Having great skin is something that takes time and effort, it’s understandable if one of your immediate concerns is how to replace your normal beauty products with ones that are baby-safe. The ideal to opt for beauty products that are vegan, organic, food-based skincare.
These are most likely to not contain the chemicals that might be harmful to your baby. Unfortunately, there are very few brands that meet these criteria. There are however lots of perfectly safe products you can use while pregnant.
Your skincare routine will need to change while you’re pregnant because your skin won’t behave the same way. This is down to hormones. We are all individual and no 2 pregnant women skin will behave the same way.
Some of us will have the best skin of our lives, while others will develop acne, hyperpigmentation and stretch marks.
I know I know, it seems like a long time to have no coffee, no sushi, and stop some of your favourite skincare.
This is a transitory phase, and you get a ‘baby’ at the end so the 9 months. So taking extra special care of yourself and your bubs is all worth it.
There are lots of skincare ingredients that can be used safely in pregnancy and they include:
Vitamin C serums, moisturizers, cleansers, and masks are all ideal. Not only is Vitamin C good for your skin it’s baby on board friendly. Vitamin C is hugely effective for keeping your skin cell turnover high for glowing skin and protecting you from free radical damage.
Vitamin E-based serums are intensely hydrating, which makes them a good option if your skin is feeling a little tight and dry. One of the best Vitamin E containing oils is Bio-Oil.
A 2018 study found that Bio-Oil decreased stretch marks and improved skin suppleness. It also helped reduce hyperpigmentation (uneven skin tone, very common in pregnancy). It is also safe during pregnancy.
Niacinamide is a hard-working skin hydration agent that helps brighten and soften skin. Composed of B Vitamins (particularly Vitamin B3), niacinamide is an ingredient commonly found in skin brightening serums. A great choice if your skin becomes more oily during pregnancy. We recommend The Ordinary Niacinamide and Zinc as this is pregnancy safe and recommended by dermatologist for pregnancy breakouts.
Rosehip oil is a gentler, organic alternative to Retinol. Even though it’s a Vitamin A-based ingredient it’s
s safe for topical use during pregnancy. Rosehip oil is particularly useful to keep skin moisturized and gently stimulate skin cell turnover.
While most acids used to treat acne are banned from use while you’re pregnant, you can still use glycolic acid serums and masks to manage your breakouts. Glycolic acid is ideal for exfoliating sensitive skin and is gentle enough to use during pregnancy.
Azelaic acid is traditionally used to treat both acne and rosacea, as it kills the bacteria that causes skin inflammation. Using Azelaic acid while you are pregnant is perfectly safe and can even help you control some of those hormone-related breakouts.
Mandelic acid is an AHA that can help with skin renewal. Mandelic acid is very gentle and often combined in serums with other acids, such as azelaic acid or hyaluronic acid. These are all safe to use during pregnancy.
Hyaluronic acid is ideal for both hydration and anti-ageing purposes. Hyaluronic acid serums and moisturizers help your skin retain moisture. This keeps your skin barrier hydrated, which has the bonus of making your skin look brighter, plumper and smoother. It is safe to use during pregnancy.
Preventing stretch marks is at the top of most pregnant women’s lists, and the best way to do this is to keep your skin as hydrated as possible. Stretch marks are more likely to form on dry or dehydrated skin. Use a body moisturizer high in fatty acids, such as cocoa and shea butter.
Paulas Choice Ultra-Rich Soothing Body Butter is pregnancy safe and delicious.
You need to be using suncare products all the time, including when you’re pregnant. Unfortunately, chemical-based sunscreens are a huge no-no for pregnant women, which means you’re going to have to use mineral-based sun care instead. Mineral-based suncare products are broad-spectrum and typically organic or vegan.
Just make sure to check the ingredient lists before buying a mineral sunscreen.
What Skincare Ingredients Should You Avoid?
While it would be nice to continue using your normal skincare products without any problems, there are certain chemicals and ingredients in many skin care products that can be absorbed through your skin. And even some organic oils and actives, such as carrot seed oil, should never be used while you are pregnant due to the way it interacts with the hormones in your body.
The list of skincare ingredients you should avoid may look extensive, it’s not. You can put the ingredients to avoid in pregnancy into the heavy-duty hitters that treat ongoing skin-related concerns. In particular, both anti-ageing products and acne-fighting products are the worst offenders for potential harm.
The skincare products you should avoid includes:
Retinol and Retinoids
Retinol is jam-packed full of Vitamin A and is one of the must-have anti-ageing products to have on your shelf – but you absolutely can’t use retinoids while you’re pregnant. This means you’re likely going to be temporarily retiring many of your anti-ageing products, particularly serums and night creams.
Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide
If you already have acne-prone skin, you may be dismayed to learn that your best acne-fighting due is on the banned list while you’re pregnant. Both Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are absorbed through the skin at high concentrations, and that can be potentially harmful to your baby. While you may be able to get away with using low-dose drugstore products topically, it’s better to play it safe and reach for an acne-fighting alternative.
Hydroquinone is a prescription you usually get from your dermatologist to lighten skin and reduce the appearance of melasma, pigmentation, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. However, because hydroquinone is absorbed very quickly by the body, it isn’t recommended for pregnant women to use.
Find Your New Pregnancy Safe Skincare Routine by Brand
If you’re on the search for specific brands that are safe to use while pregnant, you can rest easy knowing that you have more options than you might think. For example, you can still rely on drugstore and over-the-counter products to take care of your skin while you’re pregnant. It’s really just a matter of paying attention to the ingredients on the back of the bottle.
One of the least offensive drugstore brands for cleansing and moisturizing your skin is CeraVe, which is full of ceramides that help protect your skin barrier and cleanse without over-stripping natural oils. Other brands that have pregnant-safe products or that are curated specifically for pregnant women include:
- Elta MD
- La Roche Posay
- The Ordinary
- Belli Skincare
- Earth Mama Organics
What Else Can You Do For Your Skin Apart From Pregnancy Safe Skincare?
While using the right skincare products is obviously important, especially if your goal is to maintain some semblance of your pre-baby beauty routine.
There is one other important ingredient that can’t be overlooked – water.
Your body needs a lot more water while you’re pregnant and your skin will be the first sacrifice your body makes if you edge closer to being dehydrated.
Drinking an adequate amount of water each day will keep your body hydrated, which will allow your skin to retain moisture so your skincare products can lock-in moisture to remain supple.
While pregnant you need to drink about 80oz of water a day to stay optimally hydrated. Your body requires much more water than normal to grow a healthy baby. Babies will suck everything they need from your bodies reserves. Calcium from your bones, iron from your blood and water from your tissues.
It’s a survival mechanism. So do yourself, your skin and your baby a favour and keep up the water consumption!
The Final Word on Pregnancy Safe Skincare Ingredients
While your baby may be your number one priority while you’re pregnant, your skin probably isn’t that far behind – after all, motherhood doesn’t mean you have to abandon yourself or your skincare routine. Your best to stop using retinol and retinoids and Benzoyl Peroxide. Opt for gentle non-irritating ingredients and always read the labels.
As always if you’re not sure please consult your OB/GYN or dermatologist.
Oh and huge Congratulations! We hope you have a healthy and happy pregnancy while also having glowing healthy skin.