A. Best Acne Treatments for Pregnancy
Like your body, your skin has a mind of its own when you are pregnant. “Pregnancy brings with it a lot of hormonal changes, and one of the things you can experience is an increase in the activity of the sebaceous glands in your skin,” says Dr. Kecia Gaither, director of perinatal services and maternal-fetal medicine at NYC Health + Hospitals / Lincoln in New York. This means an increase in oil production, which can clog your pores and cause rashes. The bad news: your favorite local treatment or acne wash may not be safe right now, which makes treating acne a little more difficult during pregnancy.
“It is important to note that anything you put on your face, whether topical, will be absorbed by the skin and can harm the baby,” said Shari Sperling, DO, certified dermatologist and founder of Sperling Dermatology in Florham Park, New Jersey. When in doubt, she says, you should consult your doctor before putting anything on your skin during pregnancy.
1. Which acne treatment should you avoid during pregnancy?
Some skin care ingredients are potentially risky for babies and have been linked to birth defects, says Dr. Gaither. Some ingredients you should avoid are:
- Retinols and retinoids. Dr. Gaither advises pregnant women to stop using prescription retinoids and over-the-counter retinol products. (Oral derivatives of vitamin A, such as isotretinoin, should not be used in any way if you are thinking of becoming pregnant or if you are pregnant.)
- Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. There is some debate about whether these common acne fighters are safe. Many doctors say you should avoid them, but the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says that they can do well in small doses. For safety reasons, ask your doctor before using products with these ingredients.
Professional tip: take a bag with your skincare products at your next gynecological appointment, says Dr. Gaither. Your doctor can see the list of ingredients and advise you better than simply telling you which products you have used.
There are still acne treatments that you can use during pregnancy. Remember that each skin is different. If you have noticed a sudden change in your skin, your gynecologist and dermatologist should be your first point of contact for a treatment plan and you should always consult them before trying a new product. Here are anti-acne products suitable for pregnancy to help you get rid of existing pimples, prevent new rashes and remove dark spots to give you that baked bread that everyone talks about.
2. Best cleanser for oily skin
a. Removing Cetaphil Pro oil from foam detergents
It is tempting to look for a strong acne cleanser, but pregnancy is a time to take care of your skin. “Cetaphil cleansers are great because they clean the skin completely, while being non-abrasive, soft and safe for sensitive skin,” says Dr. Pardal. She recommends this line, aimed at oily skin. The foamy texture washes the contaminants without leaving any heavy residue. The bottle comes with a pump so that the foam can flow easily.
b. CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser
Your skin now needs a light touch. “You want to be very kind to your skin during pregnancy,” says Dr. Pardal. “Look for cleansers for sensitive skin that are not comedogenic.”
She likes the CeraVe moisturizing facial cleanser. The formula not only frees the skin from the dirt and makeup that clogs the pores, but also contains three ceramides that strengthen the skin barrier (this prevents the entry of potential irritants), as well as hyaluronic acid, an ingredient that attracts water to maintain the skin hydrated and bouncy. This item is sold in a pump bottle.
3. Best SPF Moisturizer for Acne in Pregnancy
a. Juice Beauty SPF 30 moisturizer without oil
Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy make melasma – a skin disease that causes brown spots on the face – more likely, but exposure to the sun can also trigger these unwanted dark spots. This means that you need to apply an SPF moisturizer every day. If you have acne, you may fear that using acne will clog your pores, but the Juice Beauty SPF 30 oil-free moisturizer will no longer cause rashes. It contains mineral-based SPF that contains 20 percent zinc oxide to block harmful ultraviolet rays. It is sold in a small tube that can be easily stored in the bag.
4. Best Exfoliating Mask For Acne In Pregnancy
a. Caudalie Glycolic Peel Mask
If you need to intensify your anti-acne routine during pregnancy, glycolic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid) is safe to help balance your skin. “Glycolic acid acts as an exfoliator,” explains Dr. Pardal. “It removes dead skin and oil build-up and reduces bacteria, which in turn can help to cleanse the skin.” Caudalie Glycolic Peel Mask is a 10-minute treatment twice a week (hello, self-care!) That can be used on all skin types. If you have sensitive skin, do a small test on an inconspicuous area first to make sure you don’t get a reaction.
5. Best night cream for acne in pregnancy
a. Kiehls Ultra Facial Gel-Cream without oil
Kiehl’s Oil-Free Ultra Facial Gel-Cream is oil-free and non-comedogenic, an important catchphrase for skin care bottles (translation: does not clog pores). The gel-cream texture is quickly absorbed by the skin and retains moisture. In addition, you will appreciate that it does not contain parabens, a preservative that some pregnant women try to avoid.
6. The best patches for acne in pregnancy
a. Invisible Mighty Patch + Hydrocolloid Acne Pimple Patch
These practical plasters cover your imperfection with a thin, invisible hydrocolloid protection that absorbs pus to help speed healing and prevent deformation so that no red spots remain. Dr. Gaither gives permission for hydrocolloid patches during pregnancy – just make sure that the one you choose is not medicated, as some brands contain salicylic acid that your doctor may want to avoid. These patches are not medicated and are designed to fit well with the skin, no one will know they are there – you can even apply concealer on them.
7. Best nighttime treatment for acne in pregnancy
a. The suspension of 10% common azelaic acid
According to the AAD, azelaic acid is considered safe for use during pregnancy. This ingredient helps to kill acne-causing bacteria and decreases the production of keratin, which prevents the protein from accumulating and clogging the pores. As an antioxidant, azelaic acid is also an effective skin lightener, which can help reduce discoloration or leftover acne scars. Future mothers highly praise this formula for keeping the leaks at bay.
8. Best local treatment
a. The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil
Sometimes the basics work best. Some research suggests that tea tree oil can help improve mild to moderate acne. “A few drops of the tea tree directly on the stain can be a good option if you are looking for a safer local treatment,” says Dr. Pardal. To avoid irritation, first dilute the oil with water. Body Shop tea tree oil reduces inflammation in angry, red pimples. Herbal scent is also a good stimulant. The size is tiny, but a little helps a lot.
B. Your Guide to a Pregnancy-Safe Skin Care Routine
Although it is best known that you need to keep your favorite wine (sorry!), It can be a real shock when you don’t need to use your trusted skin care products. But all eyes are on your skin products for a good reason: certain ingredients can be absorbed by your body and therefore also by your baby’s body. Rest assured that most personal care products (OTC) sold without a prescription are perfectly safe, but there are some ingredients that can be harmful to your child. So, here’s the good news: you can find a balance between keeping your future mom’s glow and protecting your baby.
Whether you are looking for a safe product to reverse an unwanted skin change caused by pregnancy (yes, unfortunately it does) or reviewing the safety of your current treatment plan, this breakdown of what a healthy skin care routine should be it seems – as well as what specific ingredients to avoid – it is for you.
1. Changes in skin during pregnancy
Let’s be honest: pregnancy-related skin changes occur in many people. Hormones can be the culprits – or you can blame another one of those “normal” quirks that come with looking like a future mom. While some lucky women will experience the absolute perfection of their complexion for 9 months, others will, at some point, have at least one new or less favorable skin problem. The most common are:
- Dry skin
- Darkening of the skin (a condition called melasma or colasma)
People with pre-existing skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis or rosacea, may also notice a change in their symptoms (for better or worse). And because your body is “involved” with the pregnancy, irritating changes in the skin can affect other areas as well – think of stretch marks, spider veins, growth and even hair loss.
2. Main skin care ingredients to avoid during pregnancy
Before we get on our list, we need to point out that evidence-based data on the safety of certain products in pregnancy is limited. In almost all cases, clinical studies in pregnant women that can even prove that certain ingredients are harmful are an ethical ban.
However, some animal, anecdotal or case studies have shown some serious fetal effects associated with some common skin care ingredients. This is the basis for our recommendations. All of which raises big questions about which cosmetics are really safe to use during pregnancy. Based on this, most experts (and therefore, us) prefer caution.
Vitamin A is a vital nutrient needed for optimal skin health, immune system, reproduction and eye health. Once absorbed or absorbed by the skin, your body converts it to retinol. Over-the-counter products contain less retinoids, while prescription drugs like Retin-A (tretinoin) and Accutane (isotretinoin) contain much higher doses. The amount of retinoids absorbed from topical products is probably small, but birth defects have been associated with higher doses.
For this reason, women of childbearing potential are recommended to take Accutane:
- Use two forms of birth control
- Often monitored by your doctor for pregnancy and compliance
- Remove the medication 1–2 months before trying to get pregnant
b. Salicylic acid in high doses
Salicylic acid is a common ingredient used to treat acne because of its aspirin-like anti-inflammatory properties. However, a 2013 study concluded that products that provide high doses of salicylic acid, such as exfoliants and oral medications, should be avoided during pregnancy. However, low-dose topical OTC products containing salicylic acid have been reported as safe by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
Hydroquinone is a prescribed product used to lighten the skin or reduce skin pigmentation caused by melasma and chloasma that can be caused by pregnancy. There is no proven link between severe birth defects or side effects and hydroquinone. Since the body can absorb a significant amount of hydroquinone (25 to 35 percent according to this article) compared to other ingredients, it is best to limit exposure (if any) during pregnancy.
Phthalates are endocrine disrupting chemicals found in many beauty and body products. Serious reproductive and hormonal disorders have been associated with exposure to phthalates in animal experiments. Cosmetics are the main source of phthalate exposure, and the most common phthalate you can find in beauty products is diethyl phthalate (DEP).
Formaldehyde is rarely used more as a preservative and disinfectant in beauty products because it is a known carcinogen and can increase the risk of infertility and miscarriage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, there are chemicals that release formaldehyde commonly found in cosmetics with similar potentially dangerous effects. As noted by the environmental working group, this includes:
- Hydantoin DMDM
- Diazolidinyl urea
- Imidazolidinyl urea
f. Chemical sunscreens
Oxybenzone and its derivatives are the most commonly used UV filters in sunscreens. It has been shown to be effective for skin protection, but the potentially adverse health and environmental effects of oxybenzone put it in a less favorable position. As oxybenzone is a well-known endocrine disruptor, the concern with using it in pregnancy is that it can interfere with hormones and cause permanent damage to the mother and child.
A 2018 animal study found that exposure to oxybenzone during pregnancy in amounts that people normally use causes permanent changes in the mammary glands and lactation. Other animal studies have linked the chemical to permanent fetal damage that may be linked to the development of neurological disorders in adulthood, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Safe alternatives to skin care ingredients
Here are some alternatives to safely overcome some of the most common (and frustrating) skin problems in pregnancy.
a. Acne and hyperpigmentation
If you are prone to rashes or suddenly go back in time with youthful skin flashbacks, there are some safer alternatives to using retinoid products while you wait for them. One of the most effective is glycolic acid.
Glycolic acid in large quantities is not recommended during pregnancy, but it is probably safe. Reliable source in small quantities, often found in over-the-counter beauty products. Glycolic acid and similar substances like azelaic acid can also help to reduce fine lines, brighten the skin and improve skin pigmentation. In addition to topical benzoyl peroxide and topical salicylic acid, ACOG advocates glycolic acid and azelaic acid as safe for treating acne during pregnancy.
b. Anti-aging / wrinkles
Just as they work like magic to stimulate the immune system and fight free radicals in the body, topical antioxidants such as vitamin C can safely increase the vitality of the skin, protecting it from damage and maintaining collagen.
Other pregnancy-safe antioxidants that can be tried on your skin care products include:
- Vitamin E.
- Vitamin K.
- Vitamin B3
- Green tea
c. Dry skin and stretch marks
There is no doubt that pregnancy demands a lot from the body. So if your future baby needs more water at some point, it will remove it from your body. In addition to hormonal changes, this can cause dry skin.
Moisturizing products that contain coconut oil, cocoa butter, peptides and hyaluronic acid (HA) can not only drink a lot of water, but also improve hydration. And when it comes to stretch marks, a strategy to avoid them is to moisturize the areas that are often prone to the skin to stretch naturally as your belly (and baby) grow.
d. Sun protection
Sun protection is one of the most important things you can do for long-term protection against wrinkles and skin cancer. But how to safely protect your skin during pregnancy is the big question.
The judgment on the safety of broad-spectrum chemical sunscreens has not yet been finalized. So try mineral-based sunscreens that protect your skin, forcing ultraviolet rays to completely reflect on your skin. Mineral-based sunscreens include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. And don’t forget this wide-brimmed hat for a modern shade.
4. Pregnancy safe skin care brands
In the overwhelming sea of beauty products on the market, there are several brands dedicated to skin care and personal care safe for pregnancy.
Here are five to check:
- Belli Skin Care
- Earth Mama® Organics
- Organic Herbs for Skin
- The spoiled mother
5. How to check if your skin products are safe
First, discuss the safety of your skin care products with your dermatologist and gynecologist, especially if you are taking prescription drugs or are concerned about a pre-existing skin condition. Then, you can search the ingredients list of your products for ingredients that have been verified by us or other ingredients that are relevant to you. A very reliable resource for learning more about skin care and the safety of personal product ingredients is the Environment Working Group (EEC).
Since personal care products are not heavily regulated, the EWG has developed a database of more than 87,000 personal care products, each with a safety rating. The safety assessment is made referring to the ingredients of each product with more than 60 toxicity and regulatory databases.
Giving up your beloved skin care regimen is not easy, but we know that you will do everything possible to keep your child safe. This includes avoiding products that could be harmful to you or your baby during pregnancy – with indications that prescription drugs containing retinoids are more likely to cause serious birth defects. On the positive side (literally), you can use our list of pregnancy-safe skin products to glow with certainty and know that you are making healthier choices for your future baby. Consult your gynecologist or dermatologist for information on your specific concerns and goals regarding skin care during pregnancy.