A Pregnancy Safe Skin Care Regime For Soon-To-Be-Moms

The body undergoes a lot of changes during pregnancy and so does the skin. It is very likely to get stretch marks, acne, rashes, itchiness, etc during this time. A proper skincare routine can help deal with these problems.

It is very essential to know what products or methods are safe for you to try especially during pregnancy. The most common question faced by expecting mothers is that of “how to take care of skin during pregnancy?”

A Pregnancy Safe Skin Care Regime For Soon-To-Be-Moms 1

Skin issues during pregnancy:

A lot of changes are experienced by pregnant ladies. Some are good like the “pregnancy glow” while others are not so good. A woman might face several skin issues during pregnancy. A few of them are:

  1. Melasma: It is hyperpigmentation of the skin. It is also known as the “mask of pregnancy”. Dark or tan patches appear on your face most commonly on the nose and cheeks. It occurs due to hormonal changes while going through pregnancy.
  2. Hormonal acne: Mostly occurs in the first and second trimester of the pregnancy. It happens because androgen levels are higher than normal.
  3. Dryness: Often extra dryness is experienced by pregnant women. It is also a result of changes in hormones.
  4. Stretch marks: These are also common in pregnant ladies. These are caused by stretching of the skin a lot in a short amount of time.
  5. Skin tags: Sometimes small, loose, harmless growth of skin can be seen anywhere on the body. Most often these occur under the arms and breasts. These can be removed after pregnancy as nothing can be done to prevent them.
  6. Linea nigra: It is the dark line that forms between the belly button and the pubic area during pregnancy.
  7. Cholestasis of pregnancy: Sometimes an itchy skin shouldn’t be ignored. Cholestasis of pregnancy is a liver disease. It results from high amounts of pregnancy hormones which affect the normal flow of bile in the gallbladder. This usually happens in the third trimester and causes severe itching all over the body. It is worse in palms and soles of the feet. It makes the pregnant lady miserable and experiences sleepless nights. A woman recovers from it after delivery.

Sometimes skin conditions are more annoying than anything in pregnancy. Since most of the skin issues are pregnancy-induced, they most likely go away after pregnancy. But sometimes these issues do not go away. In such a case, it is advisable to visit a dermatologist who can prescribe medications for such skin issues.

Safe pregnancy skin care regime:

Pregnancy embarks an important new chapter in a woman’s life. Growing a new human inside your body comes with a lot of emotional and physical challenges.

The baby inside you is like a sponge for the things you put on and inside your body. So it is very important to be mindful of what you choose for your skincare routine.

A Pregnancy Safe Skin Care Regime For Soon-To-Be-Moms 2

Cleansing: 

  • Start with gentle cleansing. 
  • Dermatologists recommend using glycerin-based cleansers.
  • If your skin is extremely dry then use a mild, moisturizing, soapless cleanser.
  • Wash your face twice a day to prevent your skin from over-drying.

Check out Rechecher’s Amino Acid Cleansing Mousse here.

Moisturizing and sunscreens:

  • The most important addition to your skincare routine is a moisturizer with at least SPF 15(sun protection factor).
  • The elevated hormones trigger the multiplication of pigment cells during pregnancy.
  • Sunscreens are best to avoid discoloration.
  • Always protect your skin from when going out or at the beach with sunblock of SPF 30.
  • Use lotions and creams with ingredients like avobenzone or Parsol 1789.

Acne and oil:

  • If you have oily or acne-prone skin you are probably going to have the worst breakouts during the first trimester.
  • The safest way to prevent this is to use products containing glycolic acid, witch hazel or alpha hydroxy acid.

Easy makeup:

  • When wearing makeup in the pregnancy months, go for minimal cosmetics. It will be easy as well as fast. 
  • Try to use a foundation that doubles as a concealer for covering under-eye circles and blemishes.
  • Go for lipsticks that contain moisturizing and sun protection.
  • For a polished look, use waterproof, washable mascara.

Choosing a safe skincare regime which is not only beneficial for yourself but also for your baby is very essential. Any harmful chemicals can be detrimental to your baby’s growth. Also, it is necessary for your skin, as the wrong products might lead to skin problems.

A big no to these ingredients:

When coming up with a skincare routine, it is essential to know beforehand what not to include in it. Oftentimes choosing the wrong products for skin care can be detrimental for you and your baby. 

During pregnancy your lifestyle changes in so many ways. The thing you choose to wear to the food you eat, all witness a 360° change. Some expecting mothers tend to change their beauty regimes in order to avoid harmful ingredients. It’s no wonder that the shampoo, body wash, moisturizer, or face serum you use every day might affect your growing baby.

Pregnant women need to be careful about what they put on their skin, as certain products are not safe. Products containing acne-fighting ingredients that are not safe include:-

  • Retinoids, over-the-counter retinol, retin-A;
  • Hydroquinone;
  • Benzoyl peroxide; 
  • Salicylic acid;

When shopping for beauty-related products, avoid the following ingredients in the products:-

  • Formaldehyde: Included in hair or nail products, eyelash glue. Similar variants are quaternion-15, dimethyl-dimethyl (DMDM), imidazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxide methyl glycinate, and 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, 3-diol (bronopol).
  • Aluminum chloride hexahydrate: Used in antiperspirants to avoid sweating. Aluminum chloride hexahydrate and aluminum chloride hydrate are its other names.
  • Dihydroxyacetone (DHA): Used for self-tanner sprays. It is harmful if inhaled.
  • Parabens: Avoid isopropanol, isobutyl and methyl parabens.
  • Phthalates: Used in products with synthetic fragrances and nail polishes. Especially stay away from diethyl and dibutyl.
  • Toluene: Used in nail polishes. Avoid products with methylbenzene, tuluol and antisal-1a.
  • Thioglycolic acid: Hair removal products use it. Different variants include acetyl mercaptan, mercapto acetate, mercaptoacetic acid and thiocyanic acid.
  • Beta hydroxy acids: It includes salicylic acid, 3-hydroxy propionic acid, trethocanic acid, and tropic acid.
  • Chemical sunscreens: The ingredients are named as avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, octinoxate, menthyl anthranilate, and octocrylene.
  • Diethanolamine (DEA): used in hair and body products. Be careful of diethanolamine, oleamide DEA, lauramide DEA, and cocamide DEA.
  • Retinyl palmitate
  • Dyes 
  • Artificial fragrance
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate 
  • Petroleum

Also, it is best to avoid professional treatments like chemical peels with salicylic acid, botox and laser treatments when you are expecting a child. In the case of organic products, salicylic acid is often listed as Willow bark.

Try to go for natural products made from natural ingredients. Recherche is one such brand that makes all it’s products from natural ingredients. It can serve as a better alternative if you ever get confused regarding safe products. Their products are cosmeceutical grade and not just cosmetic grade.

Skincare treatments to avoid during pregnancy

While we might want to pamper ourselves a little during pregnancy, you should take extra precautions when it comes to skincare treatments. Here are some tips on what types of skincare treatments to avoid when expecting. 

Can I get a facial during pregnancy? 

A facial treatment can also be good for the skin of expecting mothers. But be careful that it does not include :

  • Skin peels containing glycolic or beta hydroxy acids.
  • Instead, go for peel containing lactic acid which is a pregnancy-safe alpha-hydroxy acid.

Can I get a spray tan during pregnancy? 

It is not recommended for expectant mothers to get a spray tan. This is because the active ingredient in both professional spray tan as well as DIY self-tanners is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). 

Whilst the long term effects are yet to be known, it is best to avoid having DHA applied to large areas of your skin as it may cause harmful side effects for you and your baby.  

Can I use cellulite creams during pregnancy?

Cellulite creams and firming creams are not recommended during pregnancy. This is because most of these creams have three ingredients that expectant mothers should stay away from – retinols, DMAE and caffeine. 

As mentioned above, retinols have been linked to severe birth defects. Caffeine should only be consumed in limited amounts when pregnant.

What skincare products are safe during pregnancy?

pregnancy skin care
  • When choosing moisturizers look for products that contain ingredients light glycerine, hyaluronic acid, shea butter, etc.
  • Do not buy spray tans as these contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA). Since tanning products are applied to a large area of skin it is best to avoid them during pregnancy. As they are known to cause potential side effects to you and your baby.
  • A good choice for makeup is mineral makeup. In the pregnancy months, the skin may react unexpectedly to certain ingredients. Mineral makeup is free of ingredients that can irritate the skin such as fragrances and preservatives. Also, it contains titanium and zinc which act as a natural SPF.

Try to go for products with safer ingredients. Now you might get stuck as to what are safe ingredients. Do not fret we have covered it all up. Just keep reading on.

  • Products containing a low concentration of glycolic acid can be used as replacement for retinol.
  • Use mineral-based products containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide for sunscreens.
  • Look for vitamin c and fruit enzyme derived products for hyperpigmentation. Hydroquinone based hyperpigmentation products are strongly advised not to be used.

Should I use organic skincare products during pregnancy? 

If you do decide to make the switch to organic products, you should still make sure to check all the ingredients. Give a wide berth to products that contain retinols, vitamin A and salicylic acid/Willow bark as they are all known to cause birth defects. 

Remember to read all labels carefully before you use the product, even if it is organic. 

Pregnancy skincare for stretch marks

Stretch marks occur when the elastic fibres under the surface of your skin break due to your body growing faster than your skin. As your body grows during pregnancy it is likely that you end up with stretch marks on your belly and breasts. 

To keep stretch marks at bay, start moisturizing the areas where they are likely to develop the minute you know that you are expecting. This will help to maintain the skin’s elasticity. You can also keep your skin hydrated with rich cream and add skin-nourishing oil to your bath. 

After pregnancy, you can add a firming serum to your skincare routine. Choose one that has safe and naturally derived ingredients if you are breastfeeding. If you are unhappy with the way they look, a visit to the dermatologist soon after the baby arrives might be able to help. 

Pregnancy acne skincare

Pregnancy acne is a common problem during pregnancy that is caused by increased hormone levels. The higher levels of hormones increase your skin’s production of natural oils. You may be more prone to pregnancy acne if you have a history of acne. The worst breakouts usually occur during the first trimester. 

As pregnancy acne will resolve on its own after childbirth, the safest way to deal with it is good skincare. Here are some tips to help with pregnancy acne. 

  • Limit washing to two times a day.
  • Use oil-free, alcohol-free and non-abrasive, gentle cleaner when you wash.
  • Use a clean washcloth to gently wash your face.
  • Rinse with lukewarm water and gently pat dry.
  • Apply moisturizer.
  • Do not over-cleanse as this can stimulate the skin’s oil glands.
  • Avoid oily hair mousse or hair products near the hairline.
  • Use products containing glycolic acid, witch hazel or alpha hydroxy acid
  • Change pillowcases often.

Some general tips related to pregnancy skincare:

  • Have a healthy eating lifestyle. Avoid junk foods, fast foods, oily and unhealthy food. It is both essential for you and your baby. A healthy diet will not only be good for your skin but also for your baby’s growth.
  • Stay active. Don’t be lazy. Light evening walks, yoga, etc will prevent toxins build inside your body.
  • Do not let makeup build up on your skin and clog your pores. This will make your skin discolored.
  • Get ample of good night’s sleep. It helps you stay fresh and keeps your skin in healthy condition.
  • When a woman is pregnant, all things revolve around the life growing inside her. Both the mom-to-be and the baby requires an equal amount of care and nurture.
  • Only you know your skin better than anyone. So it’s you to decide what to apply to your body and face. The key is to focus on the basics.
  • The best skin care during pregnancy is the “gentle” skincare routine. The less harsh you are on your skin, the better it will be. Keep it simple, natural and minimal during the pregnancy months. It will be both good for you and your baby.
  • Lastly, stay happy. A good mood is essential for you as well as your baby.
WRITTEN BY

Coreenna Ong

Head of Research

Coreenna Ong has more than 20 years of extensive experiences in research and development, conceptualization, formulation, production process development and bring to market skincare products in the beauty industry. Ms Ong is currently the Director, Research and Development at Recherché skincare.

Recherché is a Singapore cosmeceutical skincare brand, with its products clean, green, plant-based and specially catered for Asian skin. It is also the pioneer in developing edible skincare actives to specifically address skin concerns.

Within just 2 years, Ms Ong’s research has led Recherché to win several awards and accolades for its products.

Ms Ong’s research focuses on harnessing the latest formulation technologies, knowledge and techniques to distil and extract nature's essence, and then apply them synergistically for maximum results.

She has authored 2 best-selling Beauty and Wellness books with Marshall Cavendish. The books had multiple runs and remained popular and in print circulation for several years. They are currently available in the Singapore National Library collection.

Ms Ong was also a Beauty columnist for Lianhe Zaobao, Singapore's largest Chinese-language newspaper publication, with huge regional presence. As its weekly expert contributor, she shared the latest research and technologies from the Beauty industry, and addressed the many skincare issues and concerns of the newspaper's readers regionally, including offering beauty tips, quick fixes and insider knowledge.

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