Best Skincare Products to Use During Pregnancy
Unfortunately, being pregnant doesn’t mean you get to push pause on all your skincare woes. But as we mentioned earlier, you will have to hit the pause button on some of the miracle workers you usually swear by… So how will you get rid of those under eye bags after a sleepless night full of baby kicks and heartburns? How about those fine lines and varicose veins that seem to be rearing their ugly heads? Here, we gift you with an exhaustive list of pregnancy-safe skincare products to tackle all your everyday skin concerns.
Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products: Dark Circles and Puffiness
Dark circles under your eyes can be caused by a couple of things: fluid retention, inflammation, sleep deprivation, and hormonal changes that cause dilation of blood vessels. The same goes for puffiness. These hormones, though!
Pregnancy-Safe Ingredient: Antioxidants
Antioxidants protect your skin from free radical damage. They can enhance your skin’s overall appearance by improving the texture and pigmentation in your skin. They also help prevent against collagen breakdown from free radicals that comes from things like UV damage, blue light from screens, and pollution.
If you want to pack your skincare routine with antioxidants, look for products that contain vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B3, or green tea. Check out Revision Skincare Vitamin C lotion, Skin Medica Lumivive, or our fave, La Roche Posay AOX SPF 50.
The first step is to stay hydrated — drink lots of water. Then make sure to keep the eye area hydrated: eye creams with vitamin C, vitamin K, and hyaluronic acid are great, and Deborah Spalla (skincare expert and founder of Skin Deep) also recommends products with caffeine in them. Wake those eyes right up (#butfirstcoffee)! Here are a couple of creams and serums that will help with hydration and pigmentation — to get your under eye glow back!
Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products: Dry Skin
You may find that your skin will get extra dry during pregnancy. Why, you ask? I’m tired of saying it: hormones. Sigh. Plus, the extra blood flow and fluids your body’s working to produce for sustaining baby actually suck moisture from your skin.
Isn’t pregnancy beautiful?
Once again, your best bet is to drink lots and lots of water. Once you hydrate from the inside out, the way to lock moisture right in is with your skincare routine. Here are a few products we love:
Toner and Serum
Cream and Moisturizer
Masks and Treatments
Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products: Aging
Though your face may plump up during pregnancy, ultimately filling up fine lines, hormonal shifts may cause your skin to lose elasticity. This is bad news for those who already worry about wrinkles and fine lines. To add insult to injury, you won’t be able to use the products that best help with signs of aging.
Pregnancy-Safe Ingredient for Aging Skin: Bakuchiol
This star ingredient is apparently blowing up in the skincare world right now. A gentler alternative to retinol, bakuchiol is a plant extract that carries the same benefits and none of the irksome side effects. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and also encourages faster cell turnover. This is a great way to fight signs of aging without any irritation. What’s more, it’s safe to use during pregnancy!
Many brands have already jumped on the bakuchiol bandwagon: Ole Henriksen, Biossance, Beautycounter, Boscia, REN Clean Skincare, and Naturopathica.
What can you do about those unwanted lines that won’t quit? Here are a couple of products that may help.
Cleanse and Exfoliation
Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products: Dull, Uneven Skin Texture
Oftentimes, with aging skin comes dull, uneven skin tone and texture. That is, once again, because collagen production tends to slow down with time, and our skin doesn’t regenerate as quickly as it used to. The best way to give your skin a hand? Exfoliate!
Exfoliation aids skin cell turnover, which results in brighter, smoother, more even skin. Note, however, that the process can be a bit harsh on the skin; and since many women say that their skin tend to be more sensitive during pregnancy, you want to ease into it.
If you’re worried that your skin is too sensitive and reactive to use either acid, you can opt for oils that are packed with antioxidants — they can definitely help bring that glow back.
Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Ingredients: Glycolic & Lactic Acids
Glycolic acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) — it brightens dullness and improves skin texture.
Pixi Beauty makes a great line of products with glycolic acid, which help to brighten and keep the skin nicely exfoliated. The Skin Sisters use their Glow Peel Pads (with 20% glycolic acid) a few times per week and the Pixi Glow Tonic (5% glycolic acid) for daily use. Paula’s Choice also makes a great 10% glycolic body treatment, called Skin Revealing Body Lotion, that’s fantastic for smoothing out those little bumps on the backs of your arms (which may actually become more prominent during pregnancy!).
Note, though, that those with sensitive skin may want to use glycolic acid more sparsely or look for products with a lower concentration (trust me, going straight to a 20% solution can burn!). You can also start with a low concentration (5 or 10%) and gradually work your way up to a higher one.
Lactic acid is a very gentle AHA acid used in over-the-counter skincare products. It’s great even for sensitive skin, and helps brighten, exfoliate, and even stimulate collagen production.
The Ordinary is an affordable brand with a cult following that offers several different serums with Lactic acid. Am-Lactin is an easy-to-find, over-the-counter brand we recommend for smoothing out rough and cracked heels during pregnancy.
According to Spalla, getting facials and other types of safe skincare treatments during pregnancy is a great idea. “It’s so good to be proactive with your skincare, especially during pregnancy. You want to stay ahead of any issues that may arise.”
Microdermabrasion and dermaplaning are safe during pregnancy, and most facial masks are also okay to use. Just make sure that whoever takes care of your skin knows you are pregnant to avoid chemicals, like benzoyl peroxide and Retin A. In addition, women shouldn’t use any electrical skincare modalities, such as infrared light facials and other high frequency and galvanic types of facials. Not understanding what all of this means? Then you probably don’t have to worry about them. 😉
Spalla recommends women go 3-4 weeks in between their facial treatments.
Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products: Sun Protection
To be clear, being pregnant doesn’t increase your risk of developing skin cancer. But you may have so much on your plate that you’re more susceptible to forget best sunscreen practices (aka reapply every 2 hours). So we don’t want to repeat ourselves, but you know… we think it’s worth doing so: put. on. sunscreen.
If you can keep up with it, the Skin Sisters suggest going for sun-protective clothing instead. They love Coolibar; and many of their patients swear by their UPF 50 Sun Wrap during pregnancy.
Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Ingredient: Zinc Oxide
Sun protection is important, no matter what. But it’s even more so during pregnancy, as your hormones make you more susceptible to skin discoloration and hyper-pigmentation.
During her pregnancy, Brooke from the Skin Sisters loved using Revision Skincare TruPhysical and Pretty Mommies Protect & Reflect SPF (a better deal) for sun protection on her face.
For face and body, we both love the All Good Brand and EltaMD. We’re huge fans of mineral sunscreen as well — for everyone in the family. See also: best sunscreens for kids.
Here are some of our favorite facial sunscreens:
Are you breastfeeding? Go to the next section of our skincare guide to find out what regimen you should follow. No longer breastfeeding? We’ve got our absolute favorite retinol products there too.