We all have an idealized, perfect pregnancy. You will have the cute baby belly (and just the belly, the rest of you stays the same size), eat all of the organic foods and do pregnancy yoga. And the glow, you definitely expect that you will have the pregnancy glow!
As a mom of 2, I can tell you that this dream pregnancy doesn’t exist. Your favorite clothes no longer fit, your favorite drink is a no-go (for me that was a giant coffee, it might be something else for you), and your skin starts acting up.
But forget about using your go-to acne spot treatment. Why?
Pregnancy Safe Skincare is Not the Same as Normal Skincare
There are ingredients in your night cream and acne spot treatment that have not been proven safe for use during pregnancy, or even worse, have been linked to birth defects. However, it is very difficult to find out exactly which skin care ingredients you should avoid during pregnancy or while nursing. Can you use benzoyl peroxide? What about salicylic acid? And what is the deal with that hyaluronic acid that’s all over the place lately?
What I Did With My Skincare While Pregnant
Personally, I took the conservative route and avoided ingredients that have not been proven to be safe in pregnancy. You can decide for yourself (in conjunction with your OB or dermatologist) how conservative you want to be regarding ingredients. I’m lucky in that I can cheat and look up an ingredient’s pregnancy category in a drug book (my favorite is Lexi-Comp if that makes a difference to you).
You Should Work Closely with Your Doctor When Choosing Pregnancy skincare products
Dermatologist Dr. Ellen Marmur, author of Simple Skin Beauty says “be on the safe side and ask your OB/Gyn about anything that you think might be harmful.”
I also want to add that even if you’ve been reassured that something is safe, if it makes you uncomfortable, just avoid it. There are so many products on the market now, it should be easy to avoid an ingredient. It isn’t worth losing sleep over!
Here you’ll find posts addressing specific topics for pregnancy skin care. If you want to ask about whether a specific product is safe to use in pregnancy, you can respond to the product post or send me an email. I do not respond for just product names. You’ll need to give the ingredients list (hint: take a picture of your product!). It can take a long time to find these lists, and the lists can vary by country. I simply get too many requests to hunt down the lists myself.
Where to Start
First, I recommend starting with my Pregnancy Skincare eBook. Yes, you need to subscribe to my newsletter to get it, but it is otherwise free! I promise, I don’t email often, and when I do it is with helpful pregnancy beauty updates. The eBook describes my approach to pregnancy skincare, why I think you need a “core” of products that you use throughout your pregnancy.
This post is the “hub” of the pregnancy beauty safety posts, where you will find links to most of the posts. If you are going to bookmark a page, this is the page to bookmark!
Skin Care Ingredients to Avoid
I have two posts about the ingredient I recommend avoiding. Pregnancy and Nursing do not treat ingredients the same way. The placenta does screen things out, but in general it lets a lot more get through than when your body is creating breast milk. In addition, since the baby is still developing, there are some crucial points for organ development during pregnancy. Pregnancy is much more restrictive than nursing with which ingredients you can and can not use. When in doubt, discuss with your physician.
Skin Care Advice
Pregnancy Safe Skincare Products
Pregnancy Safe Makeup
You should worry about your makeup as well as your skincare, but you do not need to check the ingredients of all products. There’s more information in my pregnancy safe makeup post, but you really only need to worry about creams and liquids. Powders, wax based products (like eyeliner) and mascara aren’t things you need to worry about.
• Pregnancy Safe Beauty Products: My big list of skincare brands does have makeup in it! I’m slowly adding makeup to the skincare posts, but there are some brands included (such as MAC) which are mostly makeup.
Hair During Pregnancy
You do not need to worry about hair products. I’m going to say it again you do not need to worry about your hair products.
If you’re being very conservative, the only exception I would make is to check the ingredients of treatment products for the scalp. Typically those are applied and left on for several minutes before rinsing off.
• The Postpartum Recovery Kit: A great baby shower gift, everything embarrassing you’ll need for after the baby is born!