Pregnancy is undoubtedly one of the most exciting phases in a woman’s life. It is time to celebrate, stay happy, pamper yourself as well as prepare to nurture the baby growing inside. However, even with all the excitement, you may notice that your pregnancy is taking a toll on your health. This is because your body is experiencing a lot of hormonal changes that may even affect your skin.
Thus, it can be a challenge to find your skin glow when you start to experience problems such as pimple breakouts, an itchy skin, dark circles, and pigmentation. While some of these problems are short-term, without the right skin care procedures and products, the issue and the marks may stay for longer.
So let’s look at the best pregnancy skincare routine and skin care ingredients to avoid during pregnancy to ensure your skin stays safe during this phase.
Table of Contents
- 5 Pregnancy Skincare Routine Tips That You Can Use
- Skincare Ingredients to Avoid During Pregnancy
- Bottom Line
5 Pregnancy Skincare Routine Tips That You Can Use
Although you may have dozens of skincare products to keep your skin beautiful and glowing, once you conceive your skin may change. This is due to the increased level of estrogen hormones that disrupt your skin’s balance, cause dehydration, increased skin sensitivity, and a decrease in your skin’s ability to fight UV rays, dirt, and germs. For these reasons, your old skin care routine may not work anymore during this phase. This calls for a procedure that’s safe for both you and the baby. Below is a guide to the best pregnancy safe skin care that can help you during this period.
a. Moisturize In the Morning
To achieve the glowy complexion during pregnancy, you need to keep your skin moisturized. However, it can be a challenge since your skin and other parts of the body are growing and stretching, which may lead to a tight and itchy skin making your pregnancy more annoying.
The best thing is that you can apply pregnancy-safe moisturizers that are specially made with ceramides and avocado peptide to keep the skin healthy and hydrated. Although pregnancy-safe moisturizers are hypoallergenic, they are safe for both you and the baby, as well as during breastfeeding.
Most people use the terms hydrating and moisturizing interchangeably, but they are two different things. Moisturizers are designed to place a barrier between your skin and air to prevent water from evaporating. On the other hand, hydrators are meant to increase your skin’s water content.
Experts advise pregnant moms to apply a hydrator first, then the moisturizer to cover up the hydration. Using these two procedures together form the best foundation for pregnancy skin-care routine.
c. Exfoliate At Least Once/twice Every Week
Whether you are pregnant or not, exfoliation is crucial. It can help get rid of dead cells that may clog your skin pores. This way, you uncover the new and fresh skin allowing your moisturizer and hydrator to penetrate deeper into the skin.
One of the most used exfoliants is baking soda. It is natural, cheap, safe for your baby, can be used it on every body part, and gentle on your skin. You only need water, the baking soda and maybe vitamin E to make baking soda paste. Ideally, you can exfoliate twice per week.
d. Prevent and Treat Stretch Marks
As your body stretches and expands to make enough room for your baby, you may experience stretch marks. These scarring lines are a nightmare to both expectant and postpartum moms. However, with the right stretch marks prevention oils and creams, you can minimize them. You only have to apply the stretch mark treatment on the most vulnerable areas including the hips and stomach every day in the morning and evening.
e. Firming and Toning the Neck and Chest
When expectant, most moms tend to concentrate on the face, stomach, and thighs, but forget about the neck and chest. You can use pregnancy-safe serum or firming gel to firm and tone your upper chest, neck, and butt every day in the morning and evening for at least a month. The products are safe for the baby even during breastfeeding. They contain essential oils and vitamins that will keep your skin healthy, soft, supple, and radiant all through your pregnancy and postpartum. Here is the video about keeping skin safe during pregnancy.
Skincare Ingredients to Avoid During Pregnancy
The same way you are cautious when consuming coffee and certain types of deli meats and fish, it is the same way you should consider the kind of products you use on your skin during pregnancy. This is because these products penetrate into your skin, then into the bloodstream.
Some of the ingredients in those products can have adverse effects on the unborn child and can cause pregnancy complications. That is why it is essential to examine the elements both natural and synthetic to ensure they are safe to use while pregnant. Below are ingredients that expectant moms are asked to avoid in pregnancy:
◎ Hydroxy Acids
Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and beta hydroxy acid (BHA) are the most common hydroxy acids found in skin care products for treating skin disorders such as skin inflammation, acne, and redness. They can also be found in some anti-aging toners, cleansers, and exfoliants.
Lactic and glycolic acids are the most common AHAs found in beauty products. Both of them are yet to be studied during pregnancy since only small amounts get absorbed into the skin. Thus, they are considered low risk, but to be safe, use them in small quantities.
On the other hand, Salicylic acid is the commonly used BHA in skin care products, and the only BHA that researchers have studied in relation to pregnancy. Experts say that taking high doses of the salicylic acid in the oral form can cause pregnancy complications and congenital disabilities to the unborn child.
Even if only a small amount of the BHA is absorbed when applied topically, doctors caution against the frequent or excessive use of BHA-based products.
You can use small amounts salicylic acid-based toner once or twice a day.
A major concern is about body and face peels that contain salicylic acid. Let your dermatologist do the peel treatment safely when pregnant.
Also referred to as tretinoins, the retinoid is a vitamin A type that is commonly used to speed up skin renewal and to prevent break down of the skin collagen. It is found in some anti-aging moisturizers and treatments for pigment disorders, acne and plaque psoriasis. Studies show that retinol-based products are harmful to the unborn child especially oral retinoid including isotretinoin (prescription for treating acne). That is why experts recommend expecting and breastfeeding moms to avoid them. Also, high doses of vitamin—A makes the skin vulnerable to sun damage and to develop pigmentation.
Avoid skin care products that contain the following ingredients:
- Targretin gel – also known as bexarotene
- Avita – also known as tretinoin
- Panretin – also known as alitretinoin
- Differin – also known as adapelene
- Retinoic acid
- Retinyl linoleate
- Retinyl Palmitate
◎ Acne products
During the first trimester, it is common for most women to have breakouts because of the varying estrogen levels. If you have always had clear skin but dealing with pregnancy-induced acne, it is advisable to visit a dermatologist to prescribe a safe antibiotic.
However, if you do not want to visit a doctor, use a facial wash that contains less than 2 percent of salicylic acid (always check the percentage on the label). If you are not confident about how much salicylic acid is safe for use, consult your obstetrician or midwife.
When treating acne, don’t use leave-on acne lotions, creams, gels and at-home peels that contain retinoids and salicylic acid. Also, do not take the oral form of Accutane retinoid.
Avoid acne products with these ingredients:
- Salicylic acid
- Retinoic acid
- Retinyl Palmitate
- Retinyl linoleate
- Targretin gel
Although facial products and lotions containing soy are safe to use, soy can cause dark patches on your skin (also known as chloasma or melasma). However, product lines with the ‘active soy” are safe since the estrogenic ingredients have been removed.
Now that you are pregnant, does it mean you can’t go to the beach? You should, but carry the sunscreen with you. Although sunscreens contain ingredients that penetrate the skin, they are safe to use during pregnancy.
However, you need to extra caution, by using product lines that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide since they do not get absorbed into the skin. Apart from the sunscreen, wear sunglasses, a sunhat, sun-protective clothing and reapply the sunscreen after every two hours.
Moreover, if your skin has melasma, you can use a skin lightener with UV protector. Hydroquinone and glycolic acid are used in most sunscreen products for this purpose. However, only a few studies show that their safety during pregnancy.
These ingredients have a lower risk on pregnancy:
- Zinc oxide
- Titanium dioxide
- Para-aminobenzoic acid
- Octyl methoxycinnamate
◎ Hair removers & minimizers
Nothing sounds excellent than lotion or cream that can remove or minimize your hair between shaves during those months when you can barely reach or see your legs. These products are harmless if used as directed.
However, if you have ever experienced an allergic skin reaction to the hair removal or minimizers cream, you should steer clear of them during pregnancy.
Also, due to increased estrogen levels, your skin may become extra sensitive during this period making it react with the ingredients. So, before you apply the cream on your entire leg, perform a test by applying on a small area of your skin and wait for at least 24 hours to examine whether you will react.
These topical ingredients are safe to use during pregnancy:
- Sodium hydroxide
- Potassium thioglycolate
- Calcium thioglycolate
- Sanguisorba officinalis root extract
- Hydrolyzed soy protein
Steroid creams, for example, hydrocortisone creams are commonly used for minor inflammation, rashes and itches, skin irritation as a result of mild eczema, soaps, detergents, jewelry, cosmetics, psoriasis, dermatitis, insect bites, poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Moreover, they are considered safe to use when pregnant.
However, if you are need of strong steroid products, visit your dermatologist for a prescription, and don’t forget to ask about the safety of the prescribed steroids during pregnancy.
These ingredients in steroids product are considered safe:
You may have to consider the type of makeup you apply when pregnant. Most makeup products are marked as “nonacnegenic” or “noncomedogenic,” which means they do not contain oil, cannot clog pores and are safe to use when pregnant.
However, you should avoid beauty products that have salicylic acid or retinol mostly found in makeup designed for acne-prone skin.
If you want to be extra careful when pregnant, you can use mineral-oils makeup products. The ingredients used don’t penetrate and rarely irritate the skin.
Steer clear of products with these ingredients:
- Retinyl linoleate
- Targretin gel
- Retinyl Palmitate
- Retinoic acid
You will find these ingredients in nail polishes and perfumes. Although research is still being carried out to examine any cause of congenital disabilities, try to use nail polish lines that are chemical free.
Hair dyes have lots of it, and experts say that it contains carcinogenic properties. Thus, avoid them during pregnancy. Ask your beautician about ammonia-free alternatives and if it is safe to dye your hair after the first trimester.
This is the active and non-toxic ingredient found in self-tanning products and does not penetrate beyond the outer skin layer. It is safe to use in small quantities, and since there are no known effects when inhaled, avoid the spray tanning when pregnant.
◎ Certain essential oils
Experts advise against essential oils including rosemary, basil, jasmine, juniper berry, chamomile blue, and cypress while pregnant since they can over-stimulate contractions.
Pregnancy is an exciting period in every woman’s life although it comes with some challenges especially when it comes to skin sensitivity. With the safe ingredients and ones to avoid, you no longer have to worry about the pregnancy skin care routine and the skin care products you should avoid during pregnancy. You can also do the following:
Make a list of all the skin care and beauty products you want to use and review them with your dermatologist or OB-GYN.
Read all the ingredients on the label and check with our guide, and if you are not confident about a particular element, consult with your doctor.
Moreover, if you are not sure about a specific product or ingredient, don’t use it. There is a wide assortment of pregnancy-safe skin care and beauty products that are 100% safe.