Add double checking your skincare regimen to the list of things to do when you find out you are pregnant! While the majority of over-the-counter skincare products will be safe to use during pregnancy, there are a few ingredients that should be avoided.
There is no way to predict how the skin will react during pregnancy. Sometimes it causes or worsens acne; sometimes skin gets clear. Do not be afraid to treat acne with products as long as they are safe during pregnancy. Untreated acne can cause scarring if it’s severe and can negatively affect mental health. Consider seeing your dermatologist for acne that is painful or leaving marks on the skin.
- Use products with benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, hypochlorous acid, colloidal sulfur, azelaic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid or mandelic acid.
- Avoid both over the counter and prescription retinoids. Over-the-counter ingredients in this category to look out for are retinol and retinyl palmitate. Differin gel, an over-the-counter acne product containing the retinoid adapalene, should also be avoided.
Maintaining Healthy Skin
If you have been dedicated to a regimen to keep your skin healthy and beautiful, you don’t have to give that up but you may need to alter your products.
- Use Vitamin C or bakuchiol containing products for antioxidant protection, beneficial effects on collagen, and to help with brown spots.
- Continue to use sunscreen daily. Look for sunscreens that contain titanium dioxide and zinc. These are safe for use during pregnancy because they are not absorbed through the skin.
- Avoid anti-aging products that contain retinoids such as retinol and retinyl palmitate.
- Avoid lightning products that contain hydroquinone.
Dry & Itchy Skin
Dry skin is incredibly common during pregnancy due to hormone changes. Pregnancy can also trigger eczema.
- Use cream type moisturizers containing ingredients like glycerin, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, coconut oil, shea butter or cocoa butter
- Use colloidal oatmeal, calamine lotion or topical benadryl to help with itch. Over the counter hydrocortisone is considered safe in pregnancy but should be used sparingly.
- Avoid fragrance containing products which can irritate dry skin.
Stretch marks are a very common consequence of pregnancy due to the stretching and expanding of the skin to accommodate baby. From a dermatology perspective, there is no consensus on an effective ingredient to be used for prevention but we can certainly understand the desire to try!
- Use creams containing nut butters (cocoa, shea or jojoba), vitamins A and E, hyaluronic acid, oils (coconut, argan or rosehip), aloe vera, or peptides.
- Avoid essential oils that are controversial during pregnancy just to be safe. Avoid tea tree, rosemary, fennel, clary sage, marjoram, tarragon, caraway, cinnamon, thuja, mogwort, birch, wintergreen, basil, camphor, hyssop, aniseed, sage, tansy, wormwood, parsley seed or leaf and pennyroyal.
- Avoid formaldehyde, formaldehyde releasers and phthalates
If you have any doubt about the products you are using during pregnancy, be sure to check with your dermatologist or OB/GYN.