It’s a very significant time in your life. You’re literally creating a human being within you. Worrying about the ingredients in your skin-care products is one of the biggest pregnancy stressors. You may not be able reach for your favorite products during pregnancy, which can cause skin problems such as dark spots and acne. We reached out to experts to help us navigate this difficult time. They can tell you which ingredients to avoid and which ones to choose when treating pregnancy skin.
What Happens to Your Skin During Pregnancy?
According to a NYC-based board-certified internist, between 50 and 70 percent of pregnant women develop melasma. This is also known as the “masks of pregnancy”. When you are pregnant, your oil production can fluctuate. According to Vanessa Coppola (a board-certified nurse practitioner who also owns ), “This can lead to either a beautiful glow, or hormonal acne.” “The good news about hormonal acne is that it usually disappears within six months after birth.”
Moles can get darker too, says Dr. Christine Choi Kim, a board-certified dermatologist based in L.A. “It’s important to continue your regular skin checks, even while you’re pregnant,” she adds. Eczema, dry skin and other conditions can become worse during pregnancy. Kim says that if you have a new rash after pregnancy, your OB/GYN should evaluate you and your dermatologist.
What Ingredients Should You Avoid Using While Pregnant?
Coppola says that it is best to bring your products to your doctor, nurse practitioner or midwife so they can discuss what is safe and what is not. Most experts agree that breastfeeding should be stopped until the following ingredients are removed.
- Vitamin A derivatives (retinol, retin-a, etc.): Coppola adds that these ingredients should be avoided during pregnancy and in the first postpartum period.
- Hydroquinone: Ask your doctor for safer products.
- Tazorac and Accutane: Coppola says that the list of some topical forms are safe, but it is best to speak with your healthcare provider.
- Chemical sunscreen: Choose a physical sunscreen instead.
- Essential oils like tea tree oil: Coppola says that there are safer options you can use during pregnancy to treat skin conditions like hyperpigmentation and breakouts as well as excessive dryness.
For those struggling with dull skin, Coppola suggests using a chemical exfoliator like lactic or glycolic acid, two pregnancy-safe ingredients. Akram also says that vitamin C and hyaluronic acid are safe to use during pregnancy. For patients with severe acne, Dr. Kim recommends products that contain either azelaic or glycolic acids. She adds that topical niacinamide can also be used to treat inflammation and is safe to use.
Kim recommends that you use a mineral-based sunscreen with titanium oxide or zinc oxide at SPF 30 and higher. Dr. Posina recommends products that contain ceramides and lipids for pregnant women who are suffering from dryness. She recommends bakuchiol as an alternative to retinol.
You can create a plan to meet your skin-care requirements and keep you glowing during the most rewarding experience of your life: the future birth of your baby.