Skin Care during Pregnancy: What Products to use & Beauty Tips

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Being pregnant is hard enough without having to worry about the effects of what you are putting on your skin. Your hormones go haywire during pregnancy and you just can’t predict if the products you use for your skincare routine will have an effect on your health.

While pregnancy is associated with the glow of the woman, there are plenty of other ways to can ensure that your skin is taken care of.

Using Skincare Products in Pregnancy

There are many products that make up our skincare routine. From moisturizers to sunscreens cold creams, there are many ‘essentials’ that we cannot do without. However, most of these products are made from strong chemicals such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and hydroquinone. While there isn’t consensus on whether these products cause any harm to you while pregnant, there are a few things you should keep in mind when using these ingredients.

  • Hydroquinone: This ingredient has not been tested on either humans or animals during pregnancy which is why you will not find an answer as to whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or not. However it is best that you avoid this compound while you are pregnant and even when breastfeeding.
  • Benzoyl Peroxide: This is a common ingredient used to fight blemishes. In low concentrations of less than 5%, it is safe for usage by pregnant women.
  • Salicylic Acid: This is considered to be one of the best exfoliants available. However, avoid it when it comes in the form of professional peels as they have a high concentration of the ingredient. You can use it in low concentrations of less than 2%.
  • Sunscreen actives: While many people warn against using sunscreen during pregnancy there is no research to support this claim. In fact, many dermatologists recommend that you do use sunscreen while pregnant. If your skin is sensitive, then use a sunscreen with gentle mineral actives.

Which Product Ingredients Are Safe For Skin Care During Pregnancy?

There are a few ingredients that you must keep in mind when selecting products to use while you are pregnant. They have been tested and are safe for you and your baby.

  • For acne: If you are facing pregnancy related acne due to the changes in hormone levels, you can use products that contain rosehip seed, lactic seed, azelaic acid, and alpha hydroxyl acids.
  • For hyperpigmentation: Melasma is caused by staying out in the sun and the change in hormone levels during pregnancy. You can use products that have azelaic acid or topical vitamin C.
  • For wrinkles: The remedy for wrinkles and fine lines are products with hyaluronic acid or vitamin C. Most doctors will recommend that you do not opt for Botox treatments while you are pregnant.
  • For free radical damage: The best way to correct free radical damage is by using products that have topical vitamin C or E.

When you are pregnant it is best that you stick to a beauty routine that is basic and simple. Here are some of the ways you can ensure that your skin is taken care of while your baby develops:

  • Cleansing

When it comes to using facial cleansers in pregnancy, you should stick to products that are not residue or glycerine based. In case you have extremely dry skin you must use a soap-less rinse-off cleanser that will hydrate your skin. Do not wash your face more than two times a day. Try to find a pregnancy safe body wash that will keep your skin supple.

  • Moisturising and sun protection

You must, at all costs, remember to use a moisturiser with SPF 15 and broad-spectrum coverage. You are bound to find a pregnancy safe moisturiser that will suit your needs. Do not forget to check the ingredients and make sure that you use it every day.

  • Makeup

Use products that have multiple uses. A foundation stick that doubles up as a concealer is ideal. Use mascara for a polished look and if you can’t do without a lipstick, use one that moisturises. Using skin lightening products during pregnancy is not recommended as they contain many chemicals that could be harmful.

Skin Care Products To Avoid During Pregnancy

There are a few products that are best avoided when pregnant. Here we talk about common products and how safe they are:


While many people will tell you otherwise, you must use sunscreens every day irrespective of the weather. Some dermatologists will tell you to use them even if you are staying indoors all day. However, some sunscreen ingredients which one must avoid while pregnant are titanium oxide and zinc oxide since they get absorbed by the skin.

Hydroxy Acids

Acids like BHA and AHA are used in toners, cleansers, and exfoliants that claim to help with aging. Salicylic acid is one of the most common BHAs and is the only one studied for its effects on pregnancy. As long as you use products that have a low dosage of salicylic acid, you should be fine. However, do not undergo facial and body peels as they have a high concentration of the ingredient.


Soy-based products are generally preferred by a lot of women as it is a natural product and is vegan. However, the estrogenic component of this ingredient can make melisma even worse. Use products that have active soy as the estrogenic components will be taken out.


Retinoids are a type of vitamin A that speeds up cell division and are used in creams that target anti-aging and acne. An excess of vitamin A during pregnancy has shown to be harmful to the foetus. Retinoids, when taken orally, can cause birth defects. However, retinoids in topical application have not shown any adverse effects on the baby’s health. Doctors recommend that you do not use this ingredient as an extra caution.

Acne Products

With the changing oestrogen levels, most pregnant women will experience acne even if they’ve had clear skin before. Your doctor can recommend a topical antibiotic for the same. You must remember that face products to avoid during pregnancy include BHA or retinoids.


Topical steroids are recommended for minor inflammations, rashes, and itches associated with eczema, dermatitis, and insect bites. These creams are considered safe to be used during pregnancy. However, do let the person prescribing the medication know that you are pregnant. To be doubly sure, check the safety of the product with your doctor.

Hair Removers & Minimizers

Using creams to remove unwanted hair or to delay its growth can be a blessing especially when your mobility and flexibility is compromised as your pregnancy progresses. Fortunately, you can definitely use these products if you follow the directions. Do an allergy test as you can develop new allergies due to your pregnancy.

Some cosmetic ingredients to avoid during pregnancy are:

  • Aluminum chloride hexahydrate is found in antiperspirants. Check the label for this product.
  • Diethanolamine or DEA is found in hair and other beauty products.
  • Dihydroxyacetone or DHEA is found in spray tans and can cause damage if inhaled.
  • Formaldehyde is found in hair straighteners, eyelash glue, and nail polishes.
  • Phthalates are found in some fragrances and nail polishes.

Make up

There are a few make-up products that need to be avoided during pregnancy as they contain chemicals that can hurt your skin during this fragile period. Try to get products that are specially marked “non-comedogenic” or “non-acnegenic” which means that they are oil-free and do not end up clogging pores.

Avoid cosmetics that contain retinol or salicylic acid (found in some makeup for acne-prone skin).

Here’s a list of some products that affect the baby by getting absorbed by the skin. These include the likes of:

  • Differin (adapelene)
  • Panretin (alitretinoin)
  • Retin-A, Renova (tretinoid)
  • Retinol
  • Retinoic acid
  • Retinyl linoleate
  • Tretinoin

What Treatments For Skin Care You Should Avoid In Pregnancy?

  • Tanning: This treatment could increase the core temperature of your body significantly. The tanning beds use UVA light which could break down folic acid which is important for the development of your baby.
  • Body wraps: Avoid these as they will increase your core body temperature.
  • Peels: Chemical peels contain high levels of various chemicals including salicylic acid.

Best Skin Care Tips For Pregnant Women

  1. Drink plenty of water: This will allow your body to flush out all the toxin and give you clear skin.
  2. Sleep: The first trimester is marked by fatigue. Getting enough sleep is key to combatting this issue.
  3. Maintain the right weight: Consult your doctor on the ideal weight you should gain every trimester and eat a healthy diet that will help you reach that goal.
  4. Exercise: There are certain exercises that pregnant women must engage in such as Lamaze or yoga that focus on prenatal health.
  5. Avoiding stretch marks: Some women are more disposed towards getting stretch marks than others. Make sure that you use stretch marks cream daily to prevent this.     

When To Consult A Dermatologist?

You should visit a dermatologist for the same reasons you would if you weren’t pregnant. If you have any rashes, itchy patches, flaking skin, or bumps, do not hesitate to make an appointment with a skin doctor.

Most pregnant women know that what they use on their body affects their child’s development. However, what you put on your body is also important. In case of any doubts regarding a product, do not use it until your doctor gives approval.