Written by: Fareeha // Edited by: Rifat
You’re pregnant? You’re pregnant! First of all, let me take a moment to congratulate you on the wonderful news. Whether this is your first pregnancy or not, the journey of nine months, where you will grow and carry a whole new life inside of you is always going to be a special and memorable part of your life.
Now, while you are going to be busy ensuring that you are all up to date with your OB/GYN visits and are eating a healthy and nutritious diet for the little one you are carrying, it is important to take time out for yourself. Treating yourself to a bit of self-care is always a good way to unwind after a long day of picking baby names, right?
Like every other part of you, your skin is going to undergo a wide variety of changes during your pregnancy. And it is important that you are equipped with the knowledge of what you can or cannot use in your pregnancy skincare routine.
During the course of your pregnancy, hormones will play a crucial role in determining the changes in your skin.
If you have had spotless skin all through your life, you might, just might, get a crop of hormonal acne breakouts. While some ladies can experience an increase in oil production due to overactive sebaceous glands, some others experience “the mask of pregnancy” aka melasma/chloasma.
But not to worry, I’m here to guide you through the nitty-gritty of your pregnancy skincare routine to ensure a smooth sailing journey of nine months. Often times, pregnant or breastfeeding moms don’t know whether they should modify their skincare routine and this post will point you in the right direction.
Skincare Ingredients/Products to Avoid During Pregnancy:
- Salicylic Acid
- Benzoyl Peroxide
- Essential Oils
1) Vitamin A Derivatives/ retinoids
Use of Vitamin A derivatives during the course of the pregnancy has been attributed to genetic defects in the developing fetus. Be it topical medications (Adapalene, Tretinoin, Tazarotene and Retinol) or systemic medications (Accutane/Isotretinoin), retinoids need to be avoided strictly during your pregnancy and while you’re breastfeeding.
2) Salicylic Acid & Benzoyl Peroxide
High-strength of Salicylic Acid is a big no-no when you’re pregnant so it’s time to cancel those chemical peel appointments with your aesthetician. While lesser strength of both Salicylic Acid & Benzoyl Peroxide is considered OK by some but it’s better to err on the side of caution. If you’re struggling with acne, you should meet with your doctor so you can discuss your options.
3) Essential oil/aromatherapy oil
Essential oil-based products should also be skipped from your pregnancy skincare routine. Phototoxicity is also more common during pregnancy, which is why essential oils must be eliminated from your skincare routine.
Hydroquinone based products are commonly used as a treatment for melasma must strictly be avoided during pregnancy. During pregnancy your skin becomes sensitive and using such harsh treatments may also increase the risk of side effects and skin complications.
Limit your exposure to formaldehyde (commonly found in nail polish/used during gel manicures/used during certain chemical hair straightening salon procedures).
How to Make Your Skincare Routine Pregnancy-Safe?
While you may experience skin changes such as hormonal acne flare-ups, or increased pigmentation in your skin due to melasma, it is very much possible to control all of these conditions while keeping your skincare routine pregnancy safe.
Here are my top tips for tweaking your skincare routine during pregnancy:
If you are experiencing an increase in pigmentation on your skin during your pregnancy, it is important to ramp up your sunscreen application. Stick to zinc oxide and titanium dioxide based formulations and reapply them diligently throughout the day to keep your melasma from being aggravated by the sun. Also, keep yourself shielded from the sun with a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses and regular applications of your sunscreen.
Azelaic Acid and Vitamin C are excellent and safe ingredients that you should include in your pregnancy skincare routine to treat melasma and hyperpigmentation that often accompanies acne breakouts.
If you’re looking for azelaic acid products, check out the review of The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension, it works perfectly for clogged pores and redness.
Consult with your dermatologist before you incorporate a low strength glycolic acid-based product (face wash/toner) for added efficacy when it comes to combating pigmentation and discoloration and also get a milder exfoliation.
Hydrocolloid pimple patches are going to become your best friends during the course of your pregnancy when it comes to treating hormonal breakouts. Always keep a few at hand! If you want to know more about pimple patches, how they work and how to use them, check out this guide on pimple patches.
3) SKIN Hydration & repair
Look for serums and moisturizers that have ingredients that hydrate and strengthen your skin barrier. Some pregnancy-safe skincare ingredients that you need to look for in a moisturizer or facial oil:
- Ceramides (barrier strengthening)
- Centella Asiatica (anti-inflammation & hydration)
- Peptides (anti-ageing & hydration)
- Hyaluronic Acid (hydration)
- Shea butter (moisturization)
- Marula oil, Rosehip oil, Jojoba oil (to tackle dryness and soften the skin)
4) stretch marks
Don’t limit moisturization to the face only! During the course of your pregnancy, the elasticity of your skin will change, resulting in stretch marks. The best way to control them is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Moisturize your body with shea butter and cocoa butter based moisturizers to keep your skin supple and reduce stretch marks.
5) Professional skincare treatments
Consult with your OB/GYN before you consider undergoing any invasive skincare treatments such as injectables, Botox, heat/electrical current based therapies. Unless absolutely needed, it’s best to avoid them when you’re pregnant.
6) Work with your doctor
Once again, and I cannot stress this enough, you WILL need to work closely with your dermatologist and your OB/GYN through the duration of your pregnancy in order to determine the best plan of action for your baby, yourself and your skin. Each product that you apply to your skin must have the express approval of your doctors.
While you are going to be excited at the prospect of becoming a mum, it is important that you tweak and tailor your skincare routine in order to ensure that you are at your absolutely radiant best when your little bundle of joy finally arrives!