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Dermatologists and Their Best Advice for Skincare While Pregnant

As if skin care isn’t usually confusing enough, once you’re pregnant it becomes even more difficult. There are hormonal fluctuations giving you acne, dry skin, and where is that pregnancy glow everyone talks about? Throw in needing to avoid certain skin care ingredients while pregnant and it gets even more difficult. Here I’m sharing dermatologist advice for pregnancy. They’re the best experts to run to if you are having any issues. Is a product safe? How to deal with all of these blemishes? Do not feel timid, a dermatologist is the best expert to have in your corner!

Dermatologist Advice for Pregnancy

“They have to avoid salicylic acid and any retinoids. It’s very important to use a broad spectrum sunscreen to avoid melasma the mask of pregnancy.”
Debra Jaliman, MD is a board certified dermatologist with a private practice in New York City.

“I always recommend that our pregnant patients check with their OB with regard to any product that they use. This is because everything you apply or come into contact with may affect not only you but your baby. During pregnancy it is always wise to avoid products that contain retinoids or salicylic acids.”
Avery Kuflik, MD is a board certified dermatologist with a private practice in New Jersey.

“Pregnancy is a time when special care should be taken to keep the skin healthy. While most commonly used products are completely safe, there is handful of ingredients considered harmful to a growing baby. Some of those include Retinoids and Salicylic Acid.”
James C. Marotta, MD is a double board certified ENT and Plastic Surgeon who practices in Long Island.

“Your skin care routine is likely to change when you are pregnant. Since hormones are changing during pregnancy, you can develop skin issues that you never had before. Some women tend to break out more and get oily skin when pregnant. You should start to use a mild cleanser and keep your skin moisturized so it will not get dried out.

“You should avoid any products with salicylic acid and retinoid when you are pregnant. High forms of salicylic acid has been known to cause birth defects, in small doses it can be okay but it is probably best to just avoid it while you are pregnant. Always check with your OB/GYN before starting any new products.”
David E. Bank, MD from The Center for Dermatology in Mt. Kisco, NY

“Stick to the basics-a gentle cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen; stop all products with retinols, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or hydroquinone unless directed by a doctor.”
Rahat Azfar, MD of Vanguard Dermatology in New York City.

Guide to Skin Care while Pregnant or Nursing

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Don’t forget to check out the other articles in my Pregnancy and Nursing Skin Care Guide!

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About Me

I’m a doctor, a mommy and a bit of a beauty addict. If you let me, I can take 2 hours to get ready in the morning. Really. I'm on a quest for faster beauty that works!

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22 Comments

  1. 8.28.18
    Sally said:

    Hi, I just came across your blog and some of the ingredients on the avoid in pregnancy list have scared me as I’m already 16 weeks pregnant. I have been using glycolic acid and also false tan,. The nhs website says it’s comsidered safe to use false tan when pregnant but I note you say you have seen conflicting info on this? I haven’t found anything to say it’s unsafe.
    Could u please tell me if the following are safe in your opinion

    Vital Balm Cream
    star star star star star 55 Reviews
    $45.00

    DESCRIPTION
    INGREDIENTS
    HOW TO USE
    *Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, *Mango Seed Butter, *Honey, *Indian Senna Seed Extract (Botanical Hyaluronic Acid), *Shea Butter, *Olive Oil,*Avocado Oil, *Jojoba Seed Oil, *Borage Seed Oil, *Evening Primrose Oil, *Sea Buckthorn Oil, *Vitamin E, †Broccoli Seed Oil, *Witch Hazel, *Ashwagandha, *Turmeric, *Rose Hips, *Goji Berry, *Calendula, *Black Cohosh, *Elderberry, *Bladderwrack, *Marshmallow Root, *Ginger, *Fenugreek, *Chickweed, *Licorice, *Raspberry Leaf, *Dandelion, *Sage, *Eyebright, *Milk Thistle, *Rose Petal, *St. John’s Wort, *Cat’s Claw, *Cinnamon, *Lavender, *Ginkgo Biloba, *Gum Arabic, §Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate, †Blue Tansy Essential Oil, †Ylang Ylang Essential Oil, †Lavender Essential Oil, *Vanilla Extract.

    Our Indian Senna Seed/Cassia Angustafolia extract is made in-house along with all of our herbal extracts and infusions.

    *CERTIFIED ORGANIC

    †ORGANIC

    ‡WILDCRAFTED

    §NON-GMO PLANT SOURCED

    No Animal Testing

    Made in the USA

    We do not include the natural essential oil constituents breakdown as listed on product boxes or bottles on our website. This list of possible allergens is present on product boxes or bottles because it’s required for sales in the European Union only. For your information, these are components of natural essential oils on our product boxes, they are not synthetic isolates added to the formulations, they are already within the essential oils that are in the products. The EU requires these constituents to be listed out separately on product p

    Josh rosebrook Active infusion serum
    *Avocado Oil, †Marula Oil, *Jojoba Oil, *Hemp Seed Oil, *Sunflower Oil, *Apricot Oil, *Evening Primrose Oil, *Almond Oil, *Grape Seed Oil, *Sea Buckthorn Oil, *Goji Berry, *Raspberry Leaf, *Black Cohosh, *Rosehip, *Calendula, *Milk Thistle, *Bladderwrack, *Ginger, *Licorice, *Chickweed, *Elderberry, *Marshmallow Root, *Fenugreek, *Cats Claw, *Lavender, *St. Johns Wort, *Cinnamon, *Gingko, *Vanilla extract, †Ylang Ylang essential oil, †Rosemary essential oil, †Eucalyptus essential oil.

    Sunday Riley good genes
    Agave Tequilana (Blue Agave) Leaf, Cypripedium Pebescens (Orchid), Opuntial Tuna (Prickly Pear) Fruit, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract & Saccaromyces Cerevisiae (Yeast), Glycyrrhiza Glabra Extract, Lactic Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Coconut Oil), Butylene Glycol, Squalene, Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, PPG-12/SMDI Copolymer, Stearic Acid Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) extract , PEG-100 Stearate, PEG-75 Meadowsol, Lemongrass Extract, Arnica Extract, Triethanolamine, Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Steareth-20, DMDM Hydantoin.

    Drunk elephant Marula oil
    Virgin Marula Oil: Helps nourish and rejuvenate skin for a youthful glow while providing critical antioxidants and omegas 6 and 9, thanks to its super-absorbent qualities.

    100% Unrefined Sclerocraya Birrea (Marula) Kernel Oil.

    • 8.28.18
      15mins said:

      I’ve found a few sites here and there that say it’s ok to fake tan while pregnant, but my OB didn’t consider it to be safe and as it accumulates in your body (such as your liver) I’d need convincing evidence to say it is fine to fake tin while pregnant.

      Most of these brands can be found in my list of pregnancy safe skincare products. Drunk Elephant and Sunday Riley specifically are included there, if your product is NOT listed, then it isn’t safe. I have already reviewed the entire lines.

      Vital Balm Cream and the serum are not safe due to licorice.

  2. 9.23.18
    Britney said:

    Hi there,

    What are your thoughts about deodorants? Do you recommend any or feel that any would be unsafe to use?

    • 9.25.18
      15mins said:

      So, I’ve started looking at them and the problems is that they’re pretty much all fine. The aluminum salt is actually safe according to the research, and I haven’t found a deodorant/antiperspirant yet that I would recommend avoiding during pregnancy. So use your favorite, you’re probably fine!

  3. 3.4.19
    Amanda Preston said:

    This website is awesome!!
    I have 2 products that I’m wondering if they are safe in pregnancy….

    Biotherm Skin Best Wonder Mud
    AQUA, KAOLIN, GLYCERIN, ALCOHOL DENAT., ISONONYL ISONONANOATE, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, PRUNUS ARMENIACA SEED POWDER, PHENOXYETHANOL, GLYCERYL STEARATE CITRATE, CETEARYL GLUCOSIDE, CAPRYLOYL GLYCINE, STEARYL ALCOHOL, XANTHAN GUM, STEARIC ACID, TOCOPHEROL, PALMITIC ACID, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, LIMONENE, VITREOSCILLA FERMENT, LINALOOL, GERANIOL, MYRISITIC ACID, MOROCCAN LAVA CLAY, CITRIC ACID, HAEMATOCOCCUS PLUVIALIS EXTRACT, SODIUM BENZOATE, CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, POTASSIUM SORBATE, PAEFUM, (+/-CI 77891, MICA, CI 77491, CI77510).

    Guerlain Abeille Royal Eyetech Eye Sculpt Serum

    Water, Glycerin, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Pentylene Glycol, Mel (Honey), Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Beheneth-25 Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Royal Jelly, Albizia Julibrissin Bark Extract, Polyacrylamide, Phenoxyethanol, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Sorbitol, Tetrasodium Edta, Tocopheryl Acetate, Algin, Caffeine, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Peg-8, Laureth-7, Sodium Citrate, T-Butyl Alcohol, Adenosine, Biosaccharide Gum-2, Cellulose Gum, Citric Acid, Sodium Metabisulfite, Sodium Lactate, Sodium Benzoate, Siegesbeckia Orientalis Extract, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide.

    • 3.5.19
      15mins said:

      Both look ok to me

  4. 3.9.19
    Vesela Vaclavikova said:

    Hello doctor,

    I am really happy I came across your blog. I love every article.

    Could you, please, tell me if these ingredients are safe?

    AQUA / WATER
    BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII BUTTER / SHEA BUTTER
    GLYCERIN
    DIMETHICONE
    NIACINAMIDE
    PARAFFINUM LIQUIDUM / MINERAL OIL
    CETEARYL ALCOHOL
    BRASSICA CAMPESTRIS OLEIFERA OIL / RAPESEED SEED OIL
    AMMONIUM POLYACRYLDIMETHYLTAURAMIDE / AMMONIUM POLYACRYLOYLDIMETHYL TAURATE
    PEG-100 STEARATE
    GLYCERYL STEARATE
    PEG-20 METHYL GLUCOSE SESQUISTEARATE
    CERA MICROCRISTALLINA / MICROCRYSTALLINE WAX
    PARAFFIN
    SORBITAN TRISTEARATE
    DIMETHICONOL
    MANNOSE
    DISODIUM EDTA
    CAPRYLOYL GLYCINE
    VITREOSCILLA FERMENT
    XANTHAN GUM
    PENTAERYTHRITYL TETRA-DI-T-BUTYL HYDROXYHYDROCINNAMATE
    SODIUM BENZOATE

    Thank you!

    • 3.9.19
      15mins said:

      Looks ok

  5. 3.25.19
    Miranda said:

    Hi there

    I am interested to know your thoughts on shampoo and conditioner/mask use during pregnancy. I have walked into a minefield I realise where my kerastase shampoo has salicylic acid in it, and my favourite hair mask Retinyl Palmitate and malic acid. What is your advice on using these?
    Many thanks

    • 3.25.19
      15mins said:

      I’ve been told by derm and OB not to worry about hair products, though I’m more of the mind that if you’re applying them just to your hair they’re fine, the ones that you leave on your scalp for any period longer than a few minutes I would worry about.

  6. 5.19.19
    Tziporah NEWMAN said:

    https://www.oxoorganic.com/how-it-works/
    Ingredients listed in link

    This says pregnancy safe hair straightening please advise thank you

    • 5.19.19
      15mins said:

      I don’t comment on hair products.

  7. 6.9.19
    Lorraine said:

    Hi, what would you recommend for seborrheic dermatitis while pregnant? I had been using Betaderm for my scalp, and Ketoderm for my face before I was pregnant. Thank you in advance.

    • 6.9.19
      15mins said:

      If you’re at the point of needing steroids like that, I would go and talk to your dermatologist for sure. Some of the ingredients we say to avoid are ok when used under a doctor’s supervision.

  8. 7.3.19
    Caroline said:

    Hello, your blog is amazing! When I read that hyaluronic acid is ok in skincare products, I wondered if doing face fillers with it would be ok too? I booked an appointment to have it done for the first time but just found out I’m pregnant…

    • 7.3.19
      15mins said:

      I would likely recommend against fillers while pregnant, but talk with the physician about their recommendations as that is their specialty.

  9. 7.15.19
    Brittany said:

    Are all makeup remover wipes safe to use during pregnancy? I always wash my face after using them, but I still worry they could be harmful in some way. I can’t seem to find much on this topic, and I would definitely appreciate some advice on it!

    Thank you!

  10. 6.8.20
    E said:

    Hi!

    Searched your site for these first; are any of these foundations safe for pregnancy?

    1) Kjaer Weis Cream Foundation:
    mica, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) seed oil*, caprylic/capric triglyceride, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil*, zea mays (corn) starch*, cera alba (beeswax)*, copernicia cerifera (carnauba) wax*, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil*, polyglyceryl-3 diisostearate, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, camellia sinensis leaf extract, tocopheryl acetate, glyceryl stearate, talc, gallic acid
    May Contain: ci 77891 (titanium dioxide), ci 77491 (iron oxides), ci 77499 (iron oxides), ci 77492 (iron oxides)

    2) Kosas Tinted Face Oil:
    coco-caprylate/caprate, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, octyldodecanol, persia gratissima (avocado) oil, silica, kaolin, mica, oryza sativa (rice) bran extract, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, helianthus annuus (sunflower) extract, tocopherol, limnanthes alba (meadowfoam) seed oil, camellia oleifera (tea) seed oil, rosa canina fruit oil, rubus idaeus (raspberry) seed oil [+/-:titanium dioxide (ci 77891), iron oxides (ci 77491, 77499, 77491, 77492)]

    3) Vapour Soft focus foundation:
    camellia oleifera (camellia) seed oil*, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, silica‡, ricinus communis (castor) seed oil†, cera alba (beeswax/cire d’abeille)*, isocetyl stearoyl stearate†, tocopherol (vitamin e)†, commiphora myrrha (myrrh) oil†, citrus bergamia risso (bergamot) oil (bergaptene-free)†, wildcrafted boswellia carteri (frankincense) gum†, ocimum sanctum (tulsi/holy basil) leaf extract*, nelumbo nucifera (lotus) leaf extract*, propanediol†, pentylene glycol†, phenethyl alcohol†, polyglyceryl-2-caprate†, glyceryl caprylate†

    May Contain:
    mica, ci 77891/titanium dioxide, ci 77491, ci 77492, ci 77499/iron oxides

    • 6.8.20
      15mins said:

      All 3 look ok for pregnancy and nursing

  11. 9.2.20
    RB said:

    Hi Doc- thanks for all of this incredible information. I just found out I am pregnant, and I’ve been living on this site the past few days!

    I’d like to hear your thoughts on fragrance as an ingredient. It’s in a lot of my skincare products – some of which are listed as safe for pregnancy on this site – however I’ve read a few articles which state it’s unsafe. Below is a clip from a Byrdie article I recently came across. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks so much!!

    “Fragrances are usually made up of other harmful chemicals, like parabens, benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and more that are linked to cancer and nervous system issues,” says Dendy Engelman, MD. “Short-term, they can cause irritation and redness on the applied area. Look for these terms to clue you in that a product contains a fragrance: parfum, perfume, linalool, limonene, eugenol, citronellol, geraniol, or cinnamal. Fragrance-free products are mostly labeled as so.”

    • 9.2.20
      Christine said:

      You don’t need to worry about them in pregnancy except for the sensitization issues, as it’s a great time for developing allergies or just reacting to ingredients. Some of these (eg- linalool, limonene) are just things found in orange peels.

      You need an insane exposure to start worrying about things like cancer from a fragrance ingredient from a topical product. Yes, they’re linked to cancer and other issues, but it’s a link and not a causation. It also takes very high doses you won’t get with a normal product that you’re using correctly.

      I wouldn’t worry greatly about these ingredients, but in general I recommend avoiding things that are very fragranced due to the allergy/reaction issues as there’s a much higher risk of that being an issue.

      Note, for the same reason but even more so, chose your baby’s skincare products very carefully, they’re super sensitive to fragrances. There’s a well known baby brand (often at Target, the first name is a big state on the west coast…) that has a huge number of fragrances and extracts. Babies will also react with rashes to fragrances in their laundry detergent. Go for a fragrance free product (we use All Free and Clear at my house, Tide also makes a good Free and Clear version) rather than the “baby detergent” that comes in the pink container (it’s a super fragranced product, often grandmas try to buy it for you. Just say no.). I’m trying to be circumspect in my brands to avoid here, but you likely know the ones I mean 🙂