Are you expecting a new little arrival? Congratulations!
Now, while some of you may be lucky and have a glowing pregnancy complexion over the course of the next nine months, others may unfortunately experience the opposite effect. As wonderful and exciting as becoming pregnant is your body is going through an enormous amount of change during this time. And with that you may experience a new skin condition, or even have an existing skin condition get worse.
Women who have a pre-existing skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea may also experience a change in their symptoms.
There will be many changes happening in your body as it deals with all of the pregnancy hormones and as your baby grows. The changes you may see in your skin include:
- Stretch marks
- Dry skin
- Moles (or existing moles changing)
- Skin tags
- Increased sensitivity
- Excess sebum which is an oily substance secreted by your sebaceous glands, which can lead to increased acne
- Flushed face
So, what skin care products are safe to use when you're pregnant? Which skin care ingredients should you be looking out for, and which ingredients are considered pregnancy safe? Here's a number of handy tips and information to help you create a pregnancy safe skin care routine.
Why do I Need Pregnancy Safe Skin Care?
It's best to be very cautious with what products you use whilst pregnant. Certain active skincare ingredients can be absorbed through the skin during pregnancy. Once absorbed and in your body’s circulation, they have the potential to cross the placenta and affect the developing fetus, so you should always research and look for pregnancy safe skincare whilst pregnant.
You should also use caution with what products you're using if you're breastfeeding. Whatever you eat, drink or use on your skin can be absorbed into your breastmilk and passed on to your baby. So it's just as important to be careful during pregnancy as it is afterwards when bub arrives.
Here are a few ingredients that you can safely use while pregnant and experiencing some of the most common skin problems.
Many women are prone to breakouts when they're pregnant and want to use active products to assist with this. If you're after a safe alternative to a retinoid product then glycolic acid is one of the most effective ingredients you can use.
You may be wondering if a 10% glycolic acid product is safe during pregnancy. While glycolic acid in large quantities isn’t recommended during pregnancy, it is safe in small doses - 10% and less. Glycolic acid is an exfoliant that naturally occurs in plants including sugar cane and citrus fruits.
Glycolic acid and azelaic acid are also great pro-aging ingredients as they also help with brightening skin, reducing fine lines, and reducing skin pigmentation.
Lactic acid is another sensitive skin hero ingredient and is the gentler, yet effective, exfoliator of the acids group.
Fruit enzymes found in some fruits and berries can break down keratin proteins that are attached to dead cells to help target congestion.
Skin that is also prone to breakouts will also benefit from pregnancy safe skincare products that help to deliver deep hydration, such as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide (Vitamin B3). Plant-based oils that help regulate sebum production such as Sage are also great ingredients.
If you are affected by hyperpigmentation then you may want to look into using these natural skin lighteners as they are safe to use whilst pregnant and can be found in pregnancy safe skin care.
Kakadu Plum is a small fruit that is found in Northern Australia. It is believed to have one of the world’s highest natural amounts of Vitamin C making it an excellent ingredient to help diminish the appearance of dark spots.
Liquorice is a powerful brightening antioxidant high in anti-inflammatories – making it great for post-inflammatory pigmentation and redness/scarring after breakouts.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant hero ingredient and safe to use during pregnancy. Not only does vitamin C repair environmental damage, boost collagen and elastin production but it also inhibits the overproduction of pigmentation.
Peptides are a string of amino acids that help make collagen and elastin, smooth fine lines, and minimise the appearance of pores.
Omega Fatty Acids (Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9) are unsaturated fatty acids. If you have sensitive skin or are prone to irritation then these could be a useful ingredient for you. They play a role in maintaining youthful, healthy-looking skin as well as helping with roughness, scaling and skin hydration.
Other pregnancy-safe antioxidants to try in your skin care products include:
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B3
- Green tea
Dry skin and stretch marks
In addition to drinking plenty of water, moisturizing products that have coconut oil, cocoa butter, and hyaluronic acid (HA) can improve hydration. Hyaluronic Acid helps to bind water molecules to the skin surface, giving all day long hydration and helping maintain that pregnancy glow. And when it comes to stretch marks, one strategy to prevent them is frequently moisturizing prone zones to help the skin stretch naturally as your bump (and baby) grow.
Sun protection is one of the most important things you can do for long-term wrinkle and skin cancer protection. But how you safely protect your skin during pregnancy is the big question.
The verdict on the safety of chemical broad-spectrum sunscreens is still out, so try mineral-based sunscreens that protect the skin by forcing the UV rays to bounce off the skin entirely. Mineral-based sunscreen ingredients include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which are safe to use.
Skin Care Products to Avoid During Pregnancy
When looking for pregnancy safe skin care products these ones are considered unsafe for use while pregnant and/ breastfeeding because they can either cause harm to a fetus when they enter the bloodstream and/ breastmilk or cause irritation in sensitive skin:
- Retinol (products containing retinoids, typically used for acne and anti-aging)
- Hydroquinone (a skin-lightening agent)
- Salicylic acid in high doses, in a chemical peel or taken orally
- Cosmetic treatments such as Botox, fillers and lasers
- Exfoliating treatments such as microdermabrasion, peels or exfoliation masks
Avoid products with these ingredients:
Avage, Fabior, Tazorac (tazarotene) Avita (tretinoin) Differin (adapelene) Panretin (alitretinoin), Retin-A, Renova (tretinoin) Retinoic acid, Retinol, Retinyl linoleate, Retinyl palmitate, Targretin gel (bexarotene)
AVOID: Retinols, or any vitamin A derivatives
These powerful substances are found in some anti-aging moisturizers and treatments for acne, pigment disorders, and plaque psoriasis. Retinoids (also known as tretinoins) are a type of vitamin A that speeds up cell division (quickening your skin's renewal) and prevents skin collagen from breaking down. This may sound great but retinoids are one of the skin-care ingredients that experts recommend that pregnant women stay away from. Some studies have shown that taking high doses of vitamin A during pregnancy can be harmful to an unborn child.
AVOID: Salicylic acid
Salicylic acid is a heavy hitter for treating acne. Its deep exfoliating action clears blocked pores to minimise bacteria and reduce congestion. When it comes to skincare for pregnant women though, it’s not on the ‘safe’ list in high doses so it’s best to skip this ingredient entirely.
Stay away from leave-on acne lotions, gels, and creams, as well as at-home peels, which can contain salicylic acid or retinoids. Steer clear of the oral form of the retinoid Accutane as well.
AVOID: Hydroquinone (Hyperpigmentation)
A depigmenting agent, hydroquinone is used to lighten darkened areas of skin by suppressing the formation of melanin in the skin. Research has shown hydroquinone to be problematic during pregnancy, so it’s one to avoid.
Limit use of products containing these ingredients:
Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) Azelaic acid, Benzoyl peroxide, Beta hydroxy acids (BHA), Beta hydroxybutanoic acid, Betaine salicylate, Citric acid, Dicarbonous acid, Hydroacetic acid, Hydroxyacetic acid, Hydroxycaproic acid, Salicylic acid, Trethocanic acid, Tropic acid, 2-hydroxyethanoic acid
LIMIT: Hydroxy Acids
Hydroxy acids such as beta hydroxy acid (BHA) and alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) are found in products to reduce signs of aging and to treat certain skin disorders, including acne, skin inflammation and redness. Because oral salicylic acid is not safe during pregnancy, doctors also recommend avoiding excessive or frequent use of skin products containing BHAs/AHAs. Small amounts applied topically to the skin are considered safe.
You can consult with your doctor or dermatologist to get the all clear with using this ingredient whilst pregnant. Please ensure you use sun protection since BHA/AHAs can cause sensitivity to sunlight.
AMPERNA® Skincare Ingredients
You can read all about the safe ingredients we use in our formulations by following the links below.
Please note the only AMPERNA® product NOT recommended to use while pregnant is the Pro+ Bio Resurfacing Retinol RX. Our alternate retinol for pregnant women is the Pro+ Bio Resurfacing Retinol ALT.
AMPERNA® Pro+ Bio Resurfacing Retinol ALT serum contains azelaic acid salt, niacinamide, liquorice root extract and zinc and copper gluconates to help calm redness and improve the skin’s texture. Hero ingredient bakuchiol is a great plant-based retinol alternative for super sensitive skin. It can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, help restore firmness, refine skin texture and help even out skin tone. AMPERNA®’s unique probiotic complex delivers good bacteria to your skin gently and effectively.
When it comes to skin health, Kiri, founder of AMPERNA®, helps many people suffering from a variety of skin and health conditions. You can book a Holistic Skin Coaching Service to discuss your skin concerns and develop a tailored plan to work towards healthy skin.