Skin Care Tips During Pregnancy

Pregnancy causes women to become cautious about not only what they are putting in their body but also what they are putting on their body. When you are shopping for skin care products, you want to ensure that the ingredients in your skin care products are safe for not only you but also your baby.

Pregnancy and post-pregnancy can also introduce new skin concerns including hormonal acne and pigmentation ("the mask of pregnancy" across your cheeks). It’s important to take care of your skin during pregnancy and after with the right products.

We've created a list of ingredients to avoid but we encourage you to also speak with your midwife or doctor. Here are our favorite skin care tips for pregnant women that can help you perfect your skin care routine.

21 Skin Care Tips For Pregnant Women

Pregnancy causes a lot of changes to your body, including your skin. While some women may experience the “pregnancy glow” others may experience sudden skin issues due to changing hormone levels. Every woman is different, but stretch marks, dry skin, and dark spots are relatively common changes that occur during pregnancy.

While there are a lot of products that can help your sensitive skin during pregnancy, there are also some ingredients that should be avoided during pregnancy for various reasons.

Here are some tips for how to help with skin care during pregnancy, focusing on products that should be avoided.

1. Aluminum Chloride: the ingredient in antiperspirants that prevents sweating. It's a controversial ingredient whether you're pregnant or not. Some research suggests that it’s potentially cancer-causing and may pass to breastmilk.

verdict: avoid 

try: Violets are Blue Magnesium Deodorant that provides sports-strong protection without any aluminum.

2. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) + beta hydroxy acids (BHAs): acids that exfoliate the skin and brighten pigmentation. They are common in acne treatments and reduce the appearance of fine lines and dark spots. However, they are chemicals and it’s better to use a natural alternative during and even after pregnancy, like glycolic acid.

verdict: avoid 

try: Josh Rosebrook Daily Acid Toner to gently exfoliate and brighten your skin naturally. It’s great to use alongside a vitamin C serum to further brighten your complexion.

3. Azelaic Acid: reduce redness and pigmentation. It’s a naturally occurring acid found in grains and is ideal for acne treatments.

verdict: safe

4. Bakuchiol: considered the natural alternative to retinol. However, unlike retinol which makes your skin more sensitive to the sun, bakuchiol may actually have sun protective qualities. Of course, you should always use sunscreen and protection when going outdoors.

verdict: safe

5. Benzoyl Peroxide: helps heal pimples. It can be tempting to use this product to deal with stubborn hormonal acne that can occur during pregnancy, but it’s best to avoid this rather harsh treatment.

verdict: avoid

try: Eminence Clear Skin Targeted Treatment which is a more gentle way to treat stubborn breakouts during and after pregnancy.

6. Dihydroxyacetone (DHA): found in self-tanners and professional spray tans. This product can be absorbed into the body or the lungs during a spray tan.

verdict: avoid

7. Essential Oils:

Essential oils of Benzoin, Bergamot, Black pepper, Chamomile German, Chamomile Roman, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Geranium, Ginger, Grapefruit, Juniper, Lavender, Lemon, Mandarin, Marjoram Sweet, Neroli, Peppermint, Petitgrain, Rose Otto, Sandalwood, Sweet Orange, Tea Tree and Ylang Ylang are considered safe.

Essential oils of Aniseed, Arnica, Basil, Birch, Camphor, Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Clary sage, Clove, Coriander, Fennel, Horseradish, Hyssop, Juniper, Nutmeg, Pine, Rosemary, Thyme and Wintergreen should be avoided.

verdict: best to check with your doctor

try: Laurel Unburden Serum

Pregnant woman standing in front of window

8. Formaldehyde: found in nail polish

verdict: avoid and opt for a formaldehyde-free polish

9. Grapeseed Oil: found in oil serums and moisturizers that can help fight acne while improving your skin’s texture.

verdict: safe

try: Blissoma Restore Facial Oil

10. Hyaluronic Acid: retains moisture in the skin, plumps and hydrates the skin. As a natural substance, it’s typically safe for everyone to use as part of their skin care routine during pregnancy

verdict: safe

try: Josh Rosebrook Hydration Boost Concentrate

11. Hydroquinone: ingredient found in skin-lightening products, it’s similar to bleach and should be avoided during pregnancy as it’s absorbed into the skin.

verdict: avoid

try: Eminence Bright Skin Booster Serum

12. Lactic Acid: an acid found in alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that exfoliates the skin. 

verdict: safe

try: Eminence Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant

13. Niacinamide: a form of Vitamin B3 that helps heal acne, and reduce redness and inflammation.

verdict: safe

try: Blissoma Smooth A+ Correcting Serum

14. Oxybenzone: chemical sunscreen filter that is readily absorbed by the skin.

verdict: avoid, choose mineral sunscreen instead

try: Coola Cucumber Matte Sunscreen

15. Parabens and Phthalates: found in cosmetics, shampoos and skin care to stabilize formulations.

verdict: avoid

try: Rahua Classic Shampoo

16. Retinoids: a Vitamin A derivative (retinoic acid, tretinoin, palmitate and retinaldehyde)

verdict: avoid

try: Eminence Coconut Age Corrective Moisturizer

17. Salicylic acid: a BHA (beta hydroxy acid) found in acne products

pregnancy and breastfeeding in concentrations more than 2 percent (sometimes found in wart-removal products or salon facials) because there could be a risk for baby.

verdict: safe in doses under 2%, but there are some alternatives that can help you avoid this ingredient altogether

try: Eminence Clear Skin Booster Serum

18. Titanium Dioxide:  active mineral sunscreen ingredient

verdict: safe

try: Coola Rosiliance SPF30 BB Cream

19. Thioglycolic acid; found in hair removal creams (mercaptoacetate/ mercaptan). 

verdict: avoid

20. Vitamin C: addresses dark spots and pigmentation, offers a retinoid-like effect and boosts collagen production.

verdict: safe

try: Eminence Citrus & Kale C+E Masque

21. Zinc Oxide: active mineral sunscreen ingredient

verdict: safe

try: Eminence Sun Defense Mineral SPF Powder

When it comes to skin care tips during pregnancy, it’s always best to talk with your doctor or midwife to find the best products for you and your baby. This list is simply a good place to start when it comes to finding the perfect skin care routine to achieve that pregnancy glow.

Take our skin care quiz today to find out more about the products that can improve your complexion.

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