What skincare is safe during pregnancy?

You are excited. Your life is about to change and grow your family. This does not mean that your skin has to take a back seat. Far from it. This blog will give you the tips and safe advice you need to keep you, your child and your skin healthy.

I am a GP with a specialist interest in aesthetic medicine and run my own aesthetic clinic. This includes medical grade skincare. I have done my research around what is and is not safe to use when trying to conceive , pregnant and breastfeeding.

Some skin conditions can worsen when pregnant such as acne. This is thought to be due to the change in your hormones.

Pregnancy safe skincare

The British Association of Dermatology(4),European Union Agency (2) and American College of Obstetric and Gynaecologists (ACOG,3) all agree some things are best left alone as have proven harm to an unborn and developing child. 

Skincare not safe (1):

  • All retinoid based skincare e.g. Retinol , Tretinoin, Roaccutane
  • Skin bleaching agents e.g. Hydroquinoine and Arbutin
  • All chemical peels including TCA and phenol peels
  • Salicyclic acid >2%
  • Benzoyl Peroxide > 5%
  • Certain antibiotics e.g. Tetracyclines
  • Certain chemical sunscreens containing oxybenzone (5)

The amount of topical retinol medication absorbed by the body is low. However, it is generally recommended that use of these medications be avoided during pregnancy.

ACOG (3)

That’s enough with what you cannot have. Let’s talk about what you can have to achieve glowing , healthy skin while being safe.

Breastfeeding safe skincare

       Skincare safe in pregnancy:

  • Fruit Facial acids e.g. Ascorbic acid/Vitamin C, Glycolic acid
  • Bakuchiol- A great ‘natural’ retinol alternative,e.g. Medik8 Bakuchiol peptides
  • Azaleic Acid-Great for acne sufferers and those with pigmentation issues
  • Topical antibiotic acne products e.g. Duac 
  • Low strength Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Low Strength Salicylic acid
  • Physical /Mineral based sunscreen
  • Some chemical sunscreens can be safe but I would recommend checking with the manufacturer e.g. Heliocare 360 is safe to use but Heliocare range is not.
  • Laser and light therapy for acne is also considered safe (1)

The main take take home message is that, where possible, avoid medicines in pregnancy and/or breastfeeding unless deemed necessary(1). It is always best practice to check with the skincare manufacturer if each product is safe to use if pregnant or breastfeeding. Also, consult your family doctor for safe advice. Better still, contact my clinic and I can design a pregnancy and breastfeeding safe skincare regime. Your skin can change throughout of pregnancy so be adaptable. It is an exciting time. Be safe with your choices in skincare.

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