Disclaimer: This post is not intended to replace medical advice given to you by your physician. Only they know your medical history, and can offer advice that is appropriate to your individual needs. Your doctor should make all final decisions regarding skincare products and ingredients during pregnancy.
It can be difficult to speak about what to use/what to avoid in skincare during pregnancy because there is so little safety data to draw conclusions from. All advice is erring on the side of caution because it’s unethical to subject pregnant individuals to testing so we do not have an accurate assessment of risk. With the information that is available to us, there are widely accepted ingredients that are deemed safe as well as ingredients that are advised against. Here are our recommendations:
X Retinoids/Retinol - This incredibly effective family of ingredients is not advised for use because of the known negative outcomes connected to use of systemic (oral) prescriptions of it during pregnancy. Applying treatments topically is a lower risk, but because of the nature of retinoids interacting with lower layers of skin during use, these are generally avoided. (Ex: tretinoin, isotretinoin, adapalene)
X Salicylic Acid - Some physicians recommend using salicylic acid if it is under 2%, but it has been heavily debated. There is no significant data that it is harmful during pregnancy, but is still generally advised against.
√Bakuchiol - A derivative from the babchi plant is accepted as a retinol alternative for its benefits of improving skin tone and texture while encouraging cellular turnover.
√ Azelaic Acid - A superhero ingredient during pregnancy! Prevents and treats breakouts and hyperpigmentation.
√Benzoyl Peroxide - If you deal with oily and breakout-prone skin, this ingredient is recommended at concentrations no higher than 5%.
Note: Melasma is a very common skin condition during pregnancy where skin on your face becomes discolored and splotchy. It’s triggered by hormonal changes and gets worse with sun exposure.
X Hydroquinone - A prescribed agent that reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
√SPF! - During pregnancy, you are more susceptible to hyperpigmentation. Keeping your skin protected from UV rays that damage the skin barrier and leave you vulnerable, is very important. Look for mineral filters (zinc oxide, titanium dioxide) to reduce sensitivity reactions.
√Vitamin C and Niacinamide - These are widely regarded as safe during pregnancy and will help treat dull, uneven skin tone.
√ Azelaic Acid - Again, very helpful and safe for use during pregnancy.
√Hyaluronic Acid - Not only does hyaluronic acid hydrate the skin, but it attracts and holds onto water so that you retain and receive deeper hydration.
X Essential Oils - There are certain essential oils that are proven to cause cramping/contracting when used in high concentrations. A very potent distillation of a material can bring out the best, but it can also cause sensitivities and risk. Risk is measured by concentration and exposure so with essential oils, risk is alleviated by diluting. They are often used to fragrance washes, lotions, etc. where the dilution is very high so risk is very low. The answer is not to throw out everything that contains essential oils, but to be aware of how much you are using on a daily basis.
Always speak with your physician about the products that you are using. Pregnancy is a unique and special time so be gentle and patient with yourself. If you have any questions about a pregnancy skincare routine, let us know here!