Pregnancy Skincare: What NOT to Do

PhotoCredit: The Jasmine Brand

Hello Beauty Lovers,

I was inspired to write this post after my pregnant client asked me for chemical peel to treat her hormonal acne, and I refused.

She did not understand why she had to change her skincare regimen with her pregnancy, and it seems like a lot of women don’t know this.

Pregnancy is a very delicate time in a Woman’s life, you have to be careful about everything you eat and do, as it affects the life of the baby growing inside of you. While there are lifestyle changes to be made, such as not drinking Alcohol, coffee, smoking, etc, it is also VERY important to pay attention to what you apply on your body.

Our Skin is our largest organ and absorbs whatever we put on it (depending on the product’s molecular structure) straight into our bloodstream. So with pregnancy (or planning to be pregnant) it is important we avoid certain products that when absorbed, might harm the health of the baby.

Skin Discoloration, Hormonal Acne, Itchy Skin and Stretch marks, these are some of the common skincare concerns of pregnant women, while these issues might be of concern, it is important to understand what ingredients to Avoid when pregnant. Below are some products to avoid when pregnant.

Products to Avoid When Pregnant

1. Retinoids: If your skincare product contains any of the following in this ingredient listing, it is considered a Retinoid.

-Differin (adapelene)

-Retin-A, Renova (tretinoin)

-Retinoic acid


-Retinyl linoleate

-Retinyl palmitate

-Tazorac and avage (Tazarotene)

Retinoids are mostly found in Anti-aging products and Acne medications and act as exfoliant that helps with skin regeneration. Retinoids because of how potent they are, have been known to cause birth defects, Doctors generally consider them unsafe for pregnant and nursing mothers. So if you’re pregnant, or plan to be, it is best to shelf your Retinoid products until you’re in the clear.




2) Salicylic Acid

– I was quite surprised to learn that this ingredient, one of my all time favorites for fighting Acne, has been considered unsafe for Pregnant and Nursing mothers. Salicylic acid or Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) is in the aspirin family, and is known to cause birth defects and various pregnancy complications in High Doses.

I have asked some Doctors if face washes with 2% Salicylic Acid are considered safe to use, and I have been told that this is not a problem since the product does not sit on the face long enough for it to be absorbed. The general rule when it comes to Salicylic Acid is to stay clear of creams, chemical peels, or masque that require having the product sitting on the skin for a period of 15 minutes or more.

3) Soy Products found in Natural Skincare

– Or in the form of Lethicin, Phosphatidylcholine, Soy or Textured vegetable protein (TVP) in the ingredient listings are known to be No-No’s for Pregnant Women. Soy has been found to have Estrogenic effects.

4) Acne Medications

– There’s still a huge debate as to whether ingredients in Acne medications, such as Benzoyl Perioxide, Sulfur and Resorcinol are considered safe. The advice that I’ve received considering this situation is to stay clear of creams, masques and peels that require having the product “sit” on my face. So when in doubt, ask a Doctor or just avoid altogether.

5) Hydroquinone

– This is a Huge NO-NO when Pregnant. Hydroquinone has been shown to absorb very easily into the bloodstream and is considered a carcinogen, so it’s best to stay clear of this product.

6) Formaldehyde

– Formaldehyde is a very toxic chemical found in house cleaning products,  hair straightening treatments or relaxers, nail polishes and eyelash glue. Formaldehyde can also be listed in the ingredient box as quaternium-15, dimethyl-dimethyl (DMDM), hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, and 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol).

7) Parabens

– Parabens are often used in cosmetic products as preservatives, and of the past couple of years, have been known to toxic to the skin when applied in high does. For a safe pregnancy be sure to keep away from propyl, butyl, isopropyl, isobutyl and methyl parabens.


Skincare NOT to do when Pregnant

1) Avoid using products with questionable or NO ingredient listings

2) Stay clear of Essential Oils at Spas, essential oils are known to be very potent and able to penetrate into the bloodstream

3) Do not get chemical peels when pregnant, unless it is Lactic or Glycolic acid, which have been shown to be safer.

4) Stay clear of cosmetic procedures like Botox and Lasers

5) Stay Clear of Dyeing your Hair or getting Relaxers in your hair


**Remember if you have any questions, you should consult your Doctor**


Article Courtesy of


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