Pregnancy Skincare Routine: Essential Things To Note

Skin changes are really common in pregnancy. In fact, the type, duration, and intensity of these changes vary for each woman. See also advanced maternal age. Nevertheless, you need to keep a close eye on your skincare routine while pregnant because some of the ingredients used to combat these skin changes may not be healthy for your baby.

This is because some of the ingredients may be absorbed into the body, cross the placenta, and cause harm to a developing baby.

Pregnancy Skincare Options

In this article, you’d find some of the common skin changes during pregnancy, why you should avoid certain skincare routines during pregnancy, and the right products to use in this period.

Common Skin Changes During Pregnancy

Pregnancy-related skin changes do happen. Just like many other changes that come with pregnancy, the hormones are culpable. These skin changes may also be a result of increased oil secretion and increased sensitivity to the sun, which happens during pregnancy.

Although some moms-to-be get to enjoy a perfect skin tone while expecting, others may experience some serious skin changes in this period.

In most cases, these changes include:

  • Dark and dry skin
  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis

Why You Need To Avoid Certain Skincare Products

What you put on your body during pregnancy is just as important as what you put in your body (that is, your pregnancy diet). In fact, we recommend that you pay close attention to both angles. This is really important because your body can absorb some harmful ingredients from your skincare products. Even if these potentially toxic ingredients do not harm you, they may cross the placenta and affect your baby’s development.

pregnancy skin

What causes this difference?

These products may not be harmful to an expecting mother because your body has the ability to break it down and excrete it. On the other hand, your developing baby, whose system is not strong enough, may not be able to break these products down. Instead, they accumulate and cause harm to your baby.

Thankfully, not all the ingredients in your skincare product cause harm to your baby. In fact, researchers have identified most of these harmful chemicals. As you’d expect, we’ve compiled all that juicy info for you.

Keep reading to find out!

Skin Care Products To Avoid During Pregnancy

1. Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid has anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful in the treatment of acne. Recent studies have shown that high doses of anti-inflammatory substances which include salicylic acid can be dangerous to your developing baby.

However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has stated that salicylic acid in low doses is safe for your baby.

2. Retinoids

Retinoids are useful by-products of vitamin A in the body. They are generally used for good skin, eye, and reproductive health. They have proven to be very useful in combating acne, common skin changes before and during pregnancy.

High doses of both oral and topical retinoids in the body have been associated with an increase in birth defects and should be avoided during pregnancy.

If you’re using products rich in retinoids to combat acne, it is important that you stop the medications about 1-2 months before trying to get pregnant.

3. Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone is a potent ingredient in products used to lighten dark skin (hyperpigmentation). Research to justify the relationship between hydroquinone and increased birth defects is limited but hydroquinone is absorbed in high percentages so it is advisable to limit exposure to it during pregnancy.

4. Chemical Sunscreens

Oxybenzone is a common substance used in ultraviolet (UV) filters in chemical sunscreens. Although it has skin-protective effects, this chemical also has several adverse effects. For example, oxybenzone has the ability to alter the normal function of the endocrine system.

pregnancy safe sunscreen

Experts recommend that you avoid using oxybenzone-containing sunscreens because this compound is harmful to developing babies.

In this article, you’d find all the info you need to select the right sunscreen to use during pregnancy.

5. Phthalates

Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system. Even though it’s a popular ingredient of many skincare and beauty products, studies show that phthalates can cause serious reproductive and hormonal dysfunction. It is better to avoid their usage during pregnancy.

6. Formaldehyde

The truth is, the use of formaldehyde as a preservative and disinfectant in beauty and skincare products has diminished, because it is a known carcinogen (cancer-causing substance). According to the Centre for Disease Control, formaldehyde also increases the risk of infertility and miscarriage.

As a result, we recommend avoiding formaldehyde-based products while pregnant.

Safe Pregnancy Skincare Products To Try

Some of the safer alternatives include:

1. Water

Drinking a lot of water can help to combat dry skin during pregnancy. In addition, moisturizing products rich in cocoa butter, coconut oil, peptides, and hyaluronic acid are also useful.

pregnancy skincare routine

2. Zinc oxide

Mineral-based sunscreens are better during pregnancy than chemical-based sunscreens. Some of these minerals are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. They help to deflect the sun rays before they get to your skin.

3. Vitamin C

Antioxidants such as vitamin C can help to treat wrinkles and prevent aging skin during pregnancy without fear of causing any harm to your baby.

Other antioxidants that are safe for use during pregnancy are vitamins B3, E, K, and green tea. Products containing physical exfoliants such as salt or sugar can also be used during pregnancy.

4. Glycolic acid

As opposed to retinoid-containing products used for acne and dark skin, glycolic or azelaic acid is a better alternative. This beneficial product reduces fine lines, brightens the skin, and enhances skin pigmentation.

However, glycolic acid in large doses is not safe during pregnancy.


Giving up your skincare routine completely during pregnancy is not the answer. What you should do is look through this article again to discover the skincare products that would leave your skin fresh and healthy all through this journey.

You’ve got this, Mama!


Pina Bozzo, Angela Chua-Gocheco, and Adrienne Einarson (2011). Safety of skin care products during pregnancy. Canadian Family Physician; 57(6): 665–667. Accessed on 11th November, 2021 from

Cécile Marie, Sophie Cabut, Françoise Vendittelli, and Marie-Pierre Sauvant-Rochat (2016). Changes in Cosmetics Use during Pregnancy and Risk Perception by Women. International Journal of Environmental Research; 13(4): 383. Accessed on 11th November, 2011 from