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Pregnancy Skin Care: What Is Safe and What to Avoid

Your Pregnancy skin care guide

Pregnancy changes so much about your health and lifestyle. It’s more than just avoiding sushi and alcohol. You also have to reevaluate your skin care routine when you’re pregnant.

Some ingredients in your favorite skin care products may not be safe to use anymore. Discover what’s safe and what you need to avoid in your skin care routine during pregnancy.

At a time when hormonal changes are guaranteed, taking care of your skin is crucial. And doing this in a safe and healthy way is in the best interest of both you and your baby. 

Discover our top skincare tips and advice for moms-to-be in this post.

Your Skin During Pregnancy

Knowing how pregnancy can affect your skin can help you prepare with your routine. Unfortunately, not everybody achieves that “pregnancy glow” everyone speaks about. 

And if you feel that being pregnant is taking a toll on your skin, you’re not alone. 

The three most common skin problems during pregnancy are dry skin, melasma (skin darkening), and acne. If you have a pre-existing skin condition, the hormonal changes you experience may make them better or worse.

Stretch marks, spider veins, and hair growth are also very common. Including a pregnancy-safe skin care routine into your daily schedule can help prevent these blemishes. Or, at the very least, it can diminish their appearance.

Skin Care Ingredients You Should Avoid During Pregnancy

The things you put in and on your body affect the baby as well. That’s why you need to make sure the skin care products you use don’t include harmful ingredients.

This is a list of common ingredients in various skin care products and brands that you should avoid during pregnancy:

  • Retinoids: These vitamin A derivatives can treat acne, reduce signs of aging, and restore the glow of your skin. You can find low-dose retinoid in over-the-counter skin care products and higher-dose kinds in prescription medication. However, the skin’s retinoid absorption has been linked to birth defects in babies, therefore all forms of retinoids are advised against during pregnancy.
  • Salicylic Acid: Salicylic acid is a very popular ingredient in acne treatment. However, if you take high doses of it, such as oral medication or peels, you should avoid it for the duration of your pregnancy and breastfeeding. With that said, a low dose of salicylic acid is perfectly safe to use even when you’re pregnant.
  • Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde has been linked to infertility and miscarriages in women. Although it’s a rare ingredient in skin care products nowadays, there are certain chemicals that release formaldehyde. You should avoid the following ingredients:
      • Bronopol
      • DMDM hydantoin
      • Diazolidinyl urea
      • Hydroxymethylglycinate
      • Imidazolidinyl urea
      • Quaternium-15
      • 5-bromo-5-nitro-1,3-dioxane
  • Ammonia: Certain hair dyes contain ammonia, which has carcinogenic properties. It’s best to opt for non-ammonia-based hair care products during pregnancy.
  • Phthalates: Just like formaldehyde, phthalates cause endocrine disruption. And cosmetics are the most common delivery method for phthalates into your system. Make sure to avoid it.
  • Chemical Sunscreens: Protecting yourself from the harmful rays of the sun is crucial to prevent skin cancer, sunburn, and signs of aging. However, you need to rethink your sunscreen during your pregnancy. Oxybenzone is one of the most common ingredients in chemical sunscreen. But, it’s an endocrine disruptor, meaning that it could have harmful side effects for both mom and baby.

How to Check for Pregnancy-Safe Ingredients

Discussing the safety of your skin care products with your OB/GYN is crucial. They can advise you on the latest studies and safety protocols. 

And be sure to mention if you’re taking any prescription medication for pre-existing skin conditions.

Next, you can always check the ingredient list of your favorite skin care products to make sure they don’t include harmful ingredients.

One of the easiest ways to check the safety of individual ingredients is to look them up on the Environmental Working Group (EWG) app called Skin Deep®

This organization rated over 87,000 chemicals on a scale of toxicity to create a reliable database.

Take care of your skin when you're pregnant

Your Pregnancy Skin Care Guide

While knowing what to avoid can help you steer clear of harmful chemicals, it won’t help you restore your skin barrier to a healthy state when hormones intervene.

These skin care tips for expectant mothers will help you target the individual skin care problem, and make sure you get that pregnancy glow everyone’s talking about.

Treating Acne During Pregnancy

Even if you’re not prone to acne, pregnancy can affect your hormones, which can result in breakouts. And if you’re familiar with acne, pregnancy can make it worse.

Since retinoids and salicylic acid are the most popular ingredients against acne, fighting pregnancy acne can be a bit of a challenge. 

Luckily, glycolic and azelaic acids are great alternatives. Glycolic and azelaic acid can reduce fine lines, oiliness, and skin pigmentation.

Still, you shouldn’t apply these products in large quantities. Stick to small amounts of over-the-counter products that contain glycolic and azelaic acid.

Preventing Signs of Aging and Wrinkles During Pregnancy

Topical antioxidants are a wonderful alternative to harmful anti-aging creams during pregnancy. Vitamins C, E, B3, and K can maintain your collagen and protect you from free radicals. And green-tea based products are also helpful in preventing wrinkles.

Dry Skin and Pregnancy

If the baby needs more water, it will pull it from your body. The result may give you drier skin.

As a result, it’s crucial to drink plenty of water. But, if you can’t avoid dry skin, use a pregnancy-safe moisturizer. This will come in handy for other skin care issues during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Stretch Marks and How to Avoid Them

Your body goes through a lot of changes during pregnancy. Your changing shape and growing belly sometimes happen so fast, that your skin can’t keep up. And if your skin is dry, tears called “stretch marks” can appear.

Taking vitamins to increase your collagen production and moisturizing often can help prevent them or diminish their appearance. Natural moisturizers such as coconut oil can be extremely beneficial to avoid stretch marks.

Stretch marks are a common occurance during pregnancy.

Protecting Yourself From the Sun During Pregnancy

Sun damage can increase the risk of skin cancer and lead to premature signs of aging. But, since chemical sunscreen isn’t safe during pregnancy, you need to look for alternatives to protect your skin against UV radiation.

Mineral-based sunscreen is the ideal solution. Sunscreens that include zinc-oxide or titanium-dioxide can bounce the UV rays off your skin effectively. Check out this list of pregnancy-safe sunscreens to choose from.

Get the Best Skin Care Recommendations During Pregnancy

Having the right products for your skin is crucial during pregnancy. At BIALife, we understand the delicate balance between choosing what’s right for your skin and what’s safe for your baby. 

As a BIALife member, you can get personalized skin care advice from the comfort of your home. 

Consult with your board-certified BIALife mentors, get product recommendations, and find support for your skin care process with a like-minded community.

Become a BIALife member today to get the best results from your skin care routine during pregnancy!

With love, Janelle & Shasa

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