Skin changes during pregnancy can leave you perplexed. You may get a gorgeous glow, or you might have to deal with excess acne breakouts, heightened skin sensitivity or pigmentation. Therefore, you might want to take additional care of your skin during pregnancy.
And why not when extra skincare would take just a few more minutes than usual? MomJunction gives you some simple tips and shares a list of products you can try for your skincare during pregnancy.
Easy Skincare Tips During Pregnancy
Understand that all the pregnancy-related skin changes are completely normal and temporary. You just have to take a few measures to feel better:
- Follow skincare regimen twice a day: Begin with a basic regimen of cleansing, toning and moisturizing the skin twice a day. This helps to prevent acne, accumulation of dirt, aging spots, and fine lines and removes the traces of makeup. It also clears the pores and adds glow to the skin (1).
- Protect your skin from the sun: You need broad-spectrum protection (which effectively works against UVA and UVB radiations). Stay indoors during the sunny time of the day and apply sunscreen every day whether it is rain or shine.
- Avoid products with toxic ingredients: Chemicals such as parabens, toluene, phthalates, formaldehyde, salicylic acid, beta-hydroxy acids, dihydroxyacetone (DHA), and aluminum chloride, could harm your skin. Before you use any skin products, check for the ingredients and avoid products with harmful ingredients (2).
- Stop using acne medication: If you are on topical or oral acne medicine, stop them once you get pregnant. Drugs containing Retin – A, Accutane, and other retinoids are absorbed through the skin and pass into the fetal bloodstream. They are known to cause birth defects (3) related to brain, face, and heart.
- Address the stretch marks: Stretch marks are inevitable and can’t be completely prevented or erased. However, with care you can reduce their intensity and spread. Massage your belly, breasts, and hips every day using body butter such as shea butter, or natural body oil such as olive oil or almond oil (4).
- Take up gentle exercises: Moderate exercises such as brisk walking, low impact aerobics, and yoga improve blood circulation and flush out the toxins through sweat. Thus, nutrients are supplied to the skin, making it supple and healthier.
- Increase fluid intake: One of the beauty rules is to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. It boosts blood circulation and eliminates toxins.
- Limit your makeup: Your skin undergoes changes due to hormonal fluctuations. Therefore, try not to put an extra burden on the skin by using heavy make-up, especially those products which have synthetic ingredients. If necessary, wear a water-based and light makeup, which you can wash easily. Do not apply heavy products as it clogs the pores and causes breakouts.
- Avoid over-exfoliation: You may want to exfoliate your skin to avoid breakouts. But avoid it during pregnancy when the skin is sensitive and there is an increased risk of scars. Also, do not pick or pop a pimple.
- Relax well: Not just the external measures, you need to take care of your skin internally too. Relax and take enough rest and sleep. Get mild facials and prenatal massage done to reduce your stress levels.
- Eat well: A healthy diet is necessary for your overall health, including skincare, during pregnancy. Have a balanced diet. Eat raw salads containing tomato, cabbage, lettuce, lemon, dates, apple and walnuts, omega oils such as eggs, fish and nuts, predominantly essential vitamins and minerals. These foods clear the toxins, hydrate the skin and keep it glowing.
As we said, following the above tips isn’t difficult at all. They give your skin a healthy glow that makes you comfortable throughout the pregnancy.
Skincare Ingredients To Avoid During Pregnancy
Although most of the commonly used skin products are safe, certain ingredients are good to avoid. They are:
- Retinoids: Studies have observed a possible link between retinoids, such as Retin-A, renova, differin, avage, retinols, retinylpalmitate and tazorac, to birth defects as the ingredients get absorbed into the skin. Also, they aggravate cell turnover making the skin susceptible to sun damage and pigmentation (5).
- Hydroquinone: The skin whitening agent gets absorbed into the body on topical application. Avoid idrochinone, and quinol/1-4 dihydroxy benzene/1-4 hydroxy benzene (6).
- Aluminum salts: These are used in antiperspirants. Avoid aluminum chloride hexahydrate and aluminiumcholorohydrate.
- Chemical sunscreens: Avobenzone, octisalate, homosalate, octocrylene, oxtinoxate, oxybenzone, oxtocrylene and menthylanthranilate are the ingredients that you might want to avoid during pregnancy.
- Beta hydroxyl acids: Salicylic acid, tropic acid, 3-hydroxypropionic acid and trethocanic acid are some of them.
- Diethanolamine (DEA): Oleamide DEA, cocomide DEA and lauramide DEA are found in body and hair products.
- Formaldehyde: Found in nail polishes, eyelash glue and hair straightening treatments. Check for hydantoin, quaternium-15, dimethyl-dimethyl (DMDM), diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, bromopol and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate.
- Toluene: Methylbenzene and toluol are present in nail enamels.
- Thioglycolic acid: Acetyl mercaptan, thiovanic acid and mercaptoacetic acid are found in hair removers (7).
If you have already been using any product that is known to be harmful, do not worry. Just stop using it. You can still take care of your skin while avoiding harmful ingredients because there are safe products to use during pregnancy.
Safe Skincare Products For Pregnant Women
Choose the products that are specially formulated to meet the needs of pregnant women. Here is a list of such products you may consider buying.
1. Teddie Organics Rosehip Seed Oil
This oil moisturizer helps soothe dry skin, slows down aging, and reduces fine lines. It also works effectively in protecting your skin from scars, burns, and stretch marks.
- Effective for dry and itchy skin
- Can be used as a carrier oil
- Free of parabens, phthalates, and petrolatum
- Does not leave any residue
- Smells rancid
- Does not absorb quickly
2. Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46
Everyday use of this mineral sunscreen containing zinc oxide helps treat melasma that appears on the forehead, upper lip, and cheeks. It includes a pregnancy-safe component, niacinamide that works on redness and discoloration.
- Light-weight and silky in appearance
- Calms and protects acne-prone skin
- UVA/UVB protection
- Oil-free and non-comedogenic
- Free of parabens and fragrances
- May cause an allergic reaction in some
- Not ideal for super-sensitive skin
3. ArtNaturals Essential Bath and Body Wash
The naturally refreshing tea tree body wash is specially formulated for deep-cleansing, renewing and refreshing the skin. It combines the scents of tea tree oil, peppermint, eucalyptus, and other essential oils.
- Anti-fungal, antiseptic and anti-germ
- Free of parabens, phthalates, petrolatum components
- Cruelty-free and certified vegan
- Aromatic, invigorating body wash
- Not ideal for extremely sensitive and dry skin
- Some users may not like the packaging
4. Bliss of Greece 100% Pure Nature’s Moisturizer
Ancient Greek remedy oil is a blend of olive, sweet almond, grapeseed and lavender oils along with gluten and vitamin E. You may use it for your skin, hair and nails.
- 100% organic moisturizer
- Evens the skin tone and lessens pigmentation
- Offers lasting moisturizing effect for rough and dry skin
- May not suit sensitive skin
- Some might find the scent strong
5. Burts Bees 100% Natural Mama Bee Nourishing Body Oil
This lightweight oil is a blend of vitamin E, lemon and sweet almond oils that help to recondition the skin throughout the pregnancy. It keeps your skin soft and supple making you feel refreshed.
- 100% natural nourishing body oil
- Can be applied all over the body
- Free from parabens, phthalates, and petrolatum
- Has a strong lemony scent
- Not effective for stretch marks
6. Ivory soap
This classic and original bar is free of heavy perfumes and dyes and is therefore gentle over the skin. It cleanses your skin and leaves it hydrated and smooth.
- 99.44% pure and clean
- Forms good lather
- Free from parabens, phthalates, and artificial colorants
- Smells musty
- Dries out sensitive skin
7. BRIOTECH Topical Skin Spray
The electrically-charged versatile misting spray is made of three simple ingredients salt, water and hypochlorous (HOCl). HOCl is an oxidizing agent that boosts the skin’s natural healing responses.
- Contains no additives, preservatives or buffers
- Free of parabens, sulfates, oils, alcohol, and fragrances
- Hypoallergenic and non-irritating
- Could cause dryness of skin
- Has a slight chlorine smell
8. Image Skincare Vital C-Hydrating Serum
This is a comforting serum with primary ingredient vitamin C that boosts collagen production. It thus gives skin a plump effect and makes it firmer. It also protects the skin from harmful UV radiations. Another vital ingredient vitamin E optimizes the moisture balance in the skin.
- Suitable for all skin types
- Pleasant fragrance
- Brightens and tightens the skin
- Rejuvenates even the dullest and tired skin
- May not be ideal for oily skin as it is highly moisturizing
9. Beauty by Earth Organic Makeup Remover
This natural makeup remover makes removes the stubborn makeup on your skin. Formulated with organic aloe vera, witch hazel, cucumber extract, green tea extract, and sweet orange essential oil, it can even remove waterproof makeup.
- Ideal for any skin type
- Free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, artificial fragrances, and mineral oils
- Moisturizing and hydrating
- Gluten-free and cruelty-free
- Can cause burning sensation to sensitive eyes
- Not ideal for removing mascara
10. Majestic Pure Arabica Coffee Scrub – All Natural Body Scrub
The Arabica coffee scrub is specially formulated with coffee beans to work on stretch marks, cellulite, acne and eczema. It is blended with exfoliating oils, salts and brown sugars that moisturize and regenerate the skin.
- 100% natural
- Excellent for skin detox
- Hydrates, nourishes and protects the skin
- The coffee aroma smells amazing
- May not be suitable for sensitive skin
- Could cause dryness
11. OZ Naturals Vitamin C Facial Cleanser
It is an antioxidant-rich facial cleanser formulated with hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, rose hip oil, goji berry and super form of vitamin C. It stimulates the skin’s rate of exfoliation and leaves the skin brighter, clearer and smoother.
- Suitable for all skin types
- Deeply moisturizes the skin
- Contains no alcohol, parabens and preservatives
- Cold-pressed and cruelty-free
- Smells rancid
- May not work for extremely sensitive skin
12. Life-Flo Pure Grapeseed Oil
It is rich in essential fatty acids including oleic, linoleic, palmitic, stearic and palmitoleic, all of which offer emollient properties to the skin and hair. It nourishes, tones and tightens the skin without causing any breakouts and clogging pores.
- Suitable for all skin types
- Quickly absorbed into the skin
- Can be applied directly to the skin, or used as a base for creams, lotions and massage oils
- Cold-pressed and food-grade oil
- Great base for aromatherapy
- Not 100% organic
- Smells a bit rancid
13. Eminence Organics Monoi Age Corrective Night Cream for Face & Neck
The corrective cream-cum-moisturizer prevents sagging skin, reduces fine lines and wrinkles that develop with age. It will, therefore, give the skin smoother, younger and plumper look.
- Suitable for normal to dry skin types
- Offers antioxidant protection
- Improves skin’s hydration
- Unpleasant smell
- Not ideal for super sensitive skin
- Thick consistency
14. Aria Starr Coconut Milk Body Scrub
This is a richly formulated scrub made of sweet coconut milk, vitamin E and six essential oils. It gently exfoliates and moisturizes the skin giving it a radiant glow. It offers deep hydration, and leaves your skin smooth and supple.
- 100% natural formula
- Effective for skin infections
- Offers protection from UV radiations
- Forms no residue
- Not ideal for sensitive skin
- Salty consistency and feels hard on the application
15. Cetaphil Gentle Makeup Removing Wipes
Made of aloe vera, green tea and chamomile, these are ultra-soft makeup remover wipes. They remove the dirt and impurities from your face and provide a soothing cleansing experience.
- Dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested
- Free of parabens and fragrances
- Hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic
- Leaves skin fresh and smooth
- Not ideal for dry skin and sensitive eyes
- Too thin and flimsy wipes
Think of pregnancy as a time to refresh your skincare routine with safer skin products. It is now time to pamper your changing skin and give it all the care and nourishment it requires. Avoid harmful ingredients, and stay away from colors, dyes, and tattoos to keep your skin safe during pregnancy.
Do you have any skincare tips to share? Let us know about them in the comment section below.
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2. Protect yourself: Avoiding harmful chemicals in personal care products; NIH
3. ChanapaTantibanchachai; Retinoids as teratogens; The Embryo Project at Arizona State University
4. K. Korgavkar and F. Wang; Stretch marks during pregnancy: a review of topical prevention; British Journal of Dermatology (2014)
5. All about retinols and retinoids part 2: retinoids; Estelle Skin Care and Spa Institute (2017)
6. Hydroquinone; National Center for Biotechnology Information
7. Beauty ingredients to avoid during pregnancy; A:care; Abbott