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Nurture Your Skin Safely During Pregnancy

By: Therese Anne Limbana

Pregnancy brings joy, anticipation, and an abundance of change. However, there are certain side effects as well that you must endure for the ultimate prize of motherhood. Common adverse symptoms include nausea or fatigue; however, you can also develop some dermatological conditions like acne or hyperpigmentation.[1] Most of these symptoms go away with over-the-counter options.

Why Choose Skin Products Safely during Pregnancy?

The effects on the skin are due to hormonal changes during pregnancy. Therefore you should only choose healthcare products that are gentle and non-toxic. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends using a heavy moisturizer during pregnancy to help keep the skin soft.[2] The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) recommends that you should speak with a healthcare professional before applying any products to stretch marks.[3] There are some ingredients such as retinoids, salicylic acid, hydroquinone, and phthalates that you should steer clear of during pregnancy.


Retinoids are often used to treat cystic acne. However, their use has been associated with congenital disabilities in fetuses. Several studies have investigated the role of retinoids in pregnancy. A review of 654 pregnant women who were exposed to topical retinoids showed that retinoid was not associated with any major abnormality in new-born; however, the authors did not find conclusive evidence to support the safety of retinoid in pregnancy.[4] Similarly, another study published in 2020 reported that adverse effects of retinoids are unlikely during pregnancy but authors were reluctant to endorse its use in pregnancy based on available data.[5] Therefore, it is advisable to avoid any products that contain retinoids in them.

Recommended Beauty Products for Daily Regimen

Thankfully, there are numerous safe and effective skincare options. Here are some common US beauty products that you can incorporate into your daily skincare regimen:

  • Cleansers: Look for gentle, soap-free cleansers to remove impurities but not essential moisture. Consider products that include chamomile or aloe vera.
  • Moisturizers: Opt for hydrating moisturizers with ingredients like shea butter, cocoa butter, and hyaluronic acid. These ingredients help maintain skin elasticity and prevent dryness.
  • Sunscreens: Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30. Sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are generally considered safe options.
  • Natural Oils: Use natural oils like coconut oil, almond oil, and jojoba oil.

How to Choose Safe Skincare Products?

Here are some of the tips that you can follow for a safe and effective routine:

  • Always read product labels.
  • Consult a dermatologist for personalized skincare advice.
  • Keep your skincare simple because pregnancy is already a complex time.

Take Away

The best skincare advice during pregnancy – keep it simple. You should use products that do not have any harmful ingredients in them. It is better to go for natural options than try complex products during pregnancy. If you develop any serious dermatological condition, consult a healthcare professional.

About the Author:

Therese Anne Limbana
Therese Anne Limbana

Therese Anne Limbana was born and raised in the Philippines. She migrated to the US to work as a nurse and served as a front-liner during the global pandemic. She aims to be a dermatologist and has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications in dermatology and psychiatry. You can visit her site at

[1] Acne in pregnancy: A prospective multicenter, cross-sectional study of 295 patients in Turkey International Journal of Dermatology

[2] Skin Conditions During Pregnancy American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)

[3] Stretch Marks: Why They Appear And How To Get Rid Of Them American Academy of Dermatology Association

[4] Pregnancy outcomes following first‐trimester exposure to topical retinoids: a systematic review and meta‐analysis British Journal of Dermatology

[5] Teratogen update: Topical use and third-generation retinoids Birth Defects Research