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Skincare During Pregnancy | Best Safe Beauty Products Guide

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Safe skincare during pregnancy is very important for both you and your baby. 

That’s because you want to have a healthy and well-developed baby.

So, this means that you should avoid harsh chemicals and bad ingredients at all costs! 

You probably know this already, but there are a lot of bad, harmful ingredients in our daily cosmetics. These become even more dangerous once we get pregnant.

In my opinion, pregnancy is a very exciting yet challenging time, especially if you are experiencing skin issues. Every woman is different, so you never know how pregnancy will change your skin. I had very bad dark spots around my eyes, they just disappeared long after I gave birth. 

Before we jump into this article, let me tell you a massive “congratulations” on your pregnancy! 

Being a mum is definitely something amazing. However, for some of us, pregnancy can be more challenging, especially in those first few weeks. So hang in there mummy, you are stronger than you think! 

What skincare to avoid during pregnancy?

A pregnant woman in white lingerie and an open shirt stands by a sheer curtain, gently touching her belly and smiling while looking down.

When it comes to maintaining that pregnancy glow, it’s crucial to know what to avoid during these special months. 

After reading many articles and talking to board-certified dermatologists, I’ve learned that while pregnancy hormones do a lot of work, not all skincare ingredients are safe. 

Knowing which ingredients to steer clear of is key to taking care of your skin and your baby. Therefore, I put together a list of 17 skincare ingredients to avoid during pregnancy:

  1. Retinoids: these Vitamin A derivatives, found in many anti-ageing and acne products, are linked to birth defects. This category includes retinol, retinoic acid, and isotretinoin (found in oral medications like Accutane).
  2. Hydroquinone: Used for skin lightening, hydroquinone has high systemic absorption, and while there are no conclusive studies showing harm during pregnancy, it’s better to avoid it due to the lack of definitive safety data.
  3. Salicylic Acid: Commonly used for acne, high doses, especially in oral form, are linked to risks. Topical salicylic acid in small amounts might be safe, but it’s generally recommended to avoid high-concentration products like peels.
  4. Benzoyl Peroxide: Though less studied, benzoyl peroxide is often recommended to be used with caution during pregnancy. Low concentrations might be permissible, but it’s wise to consult with a healthcare provider.
  5. Formaldehyde: Found in some nail polishes and hair treatments, formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and can cause respiratory issues.
  6. Chemical Sunscreens: Ingredients like oxybenzone and avobenzone are linked to hormonal disruption. Opt for physical sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide instead.
  7. Essential Oils: Some essential oils can be harmful. For example, rosemary and clary sage oils may trigger contractions, while others, like tea tree oil, lack sufficient data on their safety during pregnancy.
  8. High-dose vitamin C: While low concentrations are typically safe, high doses of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in skincare can be irritating and should be used with caution.
  9. Botox and Fillers: Cosmetic treatments like Botox and dermal fillers are not recommended during pregnancy due to a lack of safety data.
  10. Hydroxy Acids: Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) should be used with caution. Glycolic acid and lactic acid in low concentrations may be safe, but it’s best to avoid stronger peels.
Two pages listing skincare ingredients to avoid while pregnant are shown. Text reads, "Get the SKINCARE TO AVOID while pregnant PDF, download for free in my Free Printables Vault.
  1. Phthalates: Often found in fragrances and various skincare products, phthalates are endocrine disruptors and have been linked to developmental issues in fetuses.
  2. Tazorac (Tazarotene): This is a topical retinoid used for acne and psoriasis. It is classified as Category X by the FDA, indicating a high risk of birth defects and should be avoided.
  3. Aluminum Chloride: Found in some antiperspirants, aluminium chloride can be absorbed through the skin. Although research is limited, it is generally advised to avoid high-concentration products during pregnancy.
  4. Dihydroxyacetone (DHA): The active ingredient in many self-tanners, DHA has not been extensively studied for use during pregnancy. Although topical use is likely safe, inhalation during spray tanning is a concern, so it’s best to avoid these products.
  5. Sodium Benzoate: Commonly used as a preservative in cosmetics and skincare products, high concentrations of sodium benzoate can be irritating and potentially harmful. While small amounts are generally considered safe, it’s best to use products with lower concentrations or avoid it altogether during pregnancy.
  6. Linalool: A common fragrance ingredient that can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. While not directly linked to pregnancy complications, it is best to avoid products with high concentrations of linalool.
  7. Limonene: Another fragrance ingredient that can cause skin sensitivity and irritation. It can also oxidize to form potentially harmful by-products. Avoiding products with limonene is advisable during pregnancy.

At first, it felt overwhelming, but as I learned more, I felt empowered to make safe choices for myself and my baby. 

The key takeaway? Always patch-test pregnancy-safe alternatives and consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about specific products or ingredients.

📌 Related article: Best Pregnancy Books | What to read during pregnancy

Which skincare brand is safe for pregnancy?

A dropper bottle with pink liquid and three small tubes in pink, peach, and white on a white, textured fabric background.

Choosing beauty products during pregnancy can be tricky. With all the hormonal changes, it’s important to be mindful of what we apply to our skin for both our own health and our baby’s. 

Thankfully, some ingredients, like azelaic acid and shea butter, are safe and effective. Azelaic acid helps with acne and pigmentation, while shea butter provides deep hydration for stretching, itchy skin. 

These ingredients can help create a pregnancy-safe skincare routine that is both effective and luxurious.

Having all these in mind, if you’re looking for what skincare brand is best for pregnancy, here’s a small list of brands to check out.

  • Belli Skincare – vegan, cruelty-free & pregnancy-safe skincare.
  • EarthMama Organics – has products for both mom and baby. If you’re looking for pregnancy deodorant, body wash, nipple butter, post-partum care products, lactation teas, and more.
  • Erbavia Organic Skincare – from farm to bottle – Erbavia has organic products, chemical-free pregnancy and maternity skincare products.
  • The Spoiled Mama – OBGYN approved, safe, non-toxic and vegan products. Besides beauty products, you’ll find teas for nausea, lactation, labour prep and more. 
  • The Body Shop – has pregnancy safe products, but please double-check ingredients first.
  • CeraVe – not all products are pregnancy safe, please check ingredients first.
  • check out Cristine from 15 Minute Beauty, who has come up with a huge list of pregnancy-safe skincare products.

📌 Related article: Ultimate FREE Hospital Bag Checklist for Baby

Best Safe Beauty Products Guide

A pregnant woman in a white sports bra looks at herself in a bathroom mirror, touching her face with both hands.

So with all being said, here is a list of pregnancy-safe skin care products. I’ve added some products I used while pregnant and even after pregnancy too, while breastfeeding. 

They, slowly, became some of my favourite skincare products that I probably won’t stop using, that’s how much I love them.

For your convenience, I also categorized and listed them under the main steps of a normal skincare routine.

A quick tip: before you go out and buy a bunch of products, go through the ingredients of the products you already own using the pregnancy safe ingredient checker. This could save you a small fortune!

You can also search your products ingredients using this cool tool, from which you will copy the ingredients and paste them into the pregnancy safe ingredient checker. 

Skincare During Pregnancy for Your Face

Skincare During Pregnancy | Best Safe Beauty Products Guide 1

Pregnancy safe cleansers & makeup removers:

Pregnancy safe scrubs & exfoliants:

Pregnancy safe toners:

Pregnancy safe moisturizers:

Pregnancy safe sunscreens:

Pregnancy safe serums & treatments:

Pregnancy safe makeup brands:

📌 Related article: Why Should You Choose An Online Birthing Class

Skincare During Pregnancy for Your Hair

A person applies hair oil from a dropper to the ends of their hair.

Pregnancy safe shampoo & conditioners:

Pregnancy safe hair masks:

Pregnancy safe hairstyling products:

No styling products are safe for pregnancy use. So I was extremely disappointed because I couldn’t use my Batiste any more. It’s a total lifesaver if you have an oily scalp. 

You should avoid dying your hair while in pregnancy. To be honest, I still dyed my hair twice in nine months. 

Skincare During Pregnancy for your Body

A pregnant person applies lotion to their bare belly while holding a small container in their other hand.

Pregnancy safe body washes:

Pregnancy safe lotions & stretch mark creams:

Pregnancy safe deodorants:

📌 Related article: My Pregnancy Transformation – photo & video

General Tips for Choosing Pregnancy-Safe Products

  • Check for harmful ingredients: Avoid products containing parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, retinoids, and certain essential oils.
  • Opt for fragrance-free: Fragrances can contain hidden chemicals that may not be safe.
  • Read labels carefully: Look for products labelled as free from parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, and other harmful chemicals.
  • Choose natural and organic: Products labelled as natural or organic are often safer.
  • Consult your healthcare provider: If in doubt about any product or ingredient, always consult with your healthcare provider.

Understanding Skin Changes During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, many people talk about the famous pregnancy glow. But with all the hormonal changes, you might notice other skin changes too. 

These can include itchy skin in the third trimester, fine lines, dry skin, and even varicose veins. 

Our bodies are constantly changing. The good news is that understanding how these skin changes are linked to hormones can help. For me, shea butter have been safe and effective choices. 

As our bellies grow and our skin stretches, it’s important to not only choose the right skincare products, but also to embrace these changes with patience and knowledge.

Conclusions

A pregnant woman dressed in white stands in front of sheer curtains, gently holding her belly with one hand.

Pregnancy brings both beauty and challenges, especially in maintaining that pregnancy glow. 

Hormonal changes can lead to dry skin, fine lines, and other skin issues, making it crucial to adjust your skincare routine. It’s important for both your skin’s health and your baby’s safety. 

Following advice from a board-certified dermatologist, using pregnancy-safe ingredients like azelaic acid, shea butter, and mineral-based sunscreens can make a big difference. Hormonal changes can also increase skin sensitivity to the sun, so switching to mineral sunscreens is essential for protection. 

Avoiding certain ingredients like topical retinoids and retinyl palmitate is crucial due to their potential risks. For acne, choose products free from endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Natural moisturizers can help with dry, itchy skin and support your skin’s barrier during these months. 

As we appreciate the changes in our bodies, let’s also take care of our skin with love and attention, ensuring a safe and radiant pregnancy journey.

Now it’s your turn, please share in the comments what other product you would add to this list. I’m sure that other moms to be will highly appreciate any ideas you might have. 

Happy pregnancy!

Xx Kinga 

FAQs about Skincare During Pregnancy

Pregnant woman in a white tank top applying lotion to her belly while sitting on a sofa, holding a bottle of lotion.
  • Is vitamin C serum safe during pregnancy?

    Vitamin C is very safe to use on your skin while pregnant. Just be careful to other ingredients that might be used besides vitamin C. Check out Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum which has clean ingredients. 

  • Can I use retinol while pregnant?

    The short answer to this is “no”. I already mentioned it on the list of ingredients to avoid while pregnant. Keep in mind that it’s not recommended to use while breastfeeding. 

  • How to check if skincare ingredients are safe for pregnancy?

    Check out this pregnancy safe ingredient checker from Gravida Beauty. All you need to do is enter the ingredients and submit. 

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