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Skin Care in Pregnancy

One of my most commonly asked questions is “How should I adjust my skin care during pregnancy?” This can be a scary time if you’re not sure what you can and cannot use and I often see people give up and just oils or nothing at all.

There are many effective skin care ingredients that are deemed safe to use in pregnancy and a few that should be avoided. When you are armed with these facts you can maintain an effective and protective regimen during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Ingredients to avoid during pregnancy:

  1. Vitamin A Derivatives. This includes oral isotretinoin which carries a Black Box Warning for birth defects. In addition, topical retinoids like retinol, tretinoin, adapalene and of course tazarotene.
  2. Salicylic acid should be avoided in concentrations over 2%. This includes avoiding in office treatments like most peels. Always tell your provider and aesthetician if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive.
  3. Hydroquinone. For lightening and brightening effects turn to other ingredients like the ones mentioned below.

Ingredients to continue:

  1. Glycolic acid in over-the-counter concentrations.
  2. Vitamin C is a great addition for antioxidant protection and brightening properties.
  3. Azelaic acid is one of my favorite pregnancy-safe ingredients for tackling acne, rosacea and pigmentation.
  4. Mineral SPF is an essential for every skin care routine and especially during pregnancy.

This is not personalized medical advice. Always consult with your OBGYN.

Some things to keep in mind with pregnancy… We are talking about the most precious thing: a human life, so extra caution is taken during these times. Some of these ingredients pose a low risk and minimal absorption but why take that risk? It’s simply not worth it.

In most regimens I recommend an exfoliating and gentle cleanser, vitamin C, moisturizer and daily mineral SPF. Protecting your skin from the sun is your best weapon against “the mask of pregnancy” or melasma so please continue your mineral SPF. Despite protection, many women still develope melasma during pregnancy, don’t fret. We can work on this with prescription topicals once you’ve finished breastfeeding!

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