When you find out you’re expecting, you also expect to make a lot of lifestyle changes. We all know the basics - putting away your favourite wine, quitting smoking, weight & skin changes - Ok, let’s face it, your whole world changes!
While it’s more well known to cut out the “toxins'' you put INTO your body, having to watch what you put ONTO your body is just as important! So, tweaking your trusted skin care routine may come as a real shock. Wondering why you must do such a thing? Well, it all comes down to this: Whatever your body absorbs, your baby’s body absorbs too.
Let’s not jump the gun here, your current skincare regime may be perfectly safe during pregnancy! We’re going to help you determine whether or not you have some fine-tuning to do.
Skin changes during pregnancy
Let’s start with some of skin changes pregnant women can experience.
While some lucky ladies experience 9 months of that “pregnancy glow”, others may experience at least one of these annoying issues:
- Dry skin caused by changing hormones which unfortunately, cause your skin to lose elasticity & moisture.
- Melasma (darkening of skin). Again, usually caused by changing hormones, pregnancy can increase the Melanin in your skin. Melanin is the natural substance that gives colour to your hair, skin & eyes. Other contributing factors to Melasma during pregnancy is sun exposure and genetics (it may run in your family)
- Acne during pregnancy is caused by (you guessed it) hormones! Acne usually occurs during the first and second trimesters as the skin tends to over-produce natural oils (aka sebum). This can lead to clogged pores, inflammation and breakouts.
Skincare & Beauty Ingredients to AVOID During Pregnancy
There are MANY old wives’ tales, articles, myths & recommendations that roam the world of pregnancy do’s and don’ts. And whatever you’re unsure of or skeptical about, the best advice you can get is from your doctor or a medical professional.
But let’s just cover the basics. Here are the ingredients which are not recommended during pregnancy:
- Retinoids/Vitamin A - Vitamin A is a crucial nutrient that’s required for optimal skin, immune, reproductive, and eye health. However, studies show that prescription retinoids like Accutane, pose a risk of birth defects and is recommended to completely avoid vitamin A (whilst breastfeeding also).
Hydroquinone - Hydroquinone is a prescription product to lighten skin or reduce skin pigmentation that occurs from melasma, which can be brought on by pregnancy. This ingredient can be significantly absorbed into the body compared to others, so it is best to leave this one out.
Salicylic Acid - Before you freak out, this is concentrated for high-doses in an oral form. So technically, you can still use your favourite skincare product - as long as it’s 2% or less in strength. (If you’re still unsure, consult this with your doctor)
- Chemical Sunscreen - Although there is little evidence for this, it is still best to avoid sunscreens with the ingredient oxybenzone. But don’t worry, there are plenty of pregnancy safe sunscreen! Here’s one - Aspect Sun Envirostat ‘On The Go’
Skincare & Beauty Ingredients You Can Use During Pregnancy
Okay enough with the ‘Do-Nots’, let’s look at the bright side - Ingredients you CAN use when you’re pregnant!
It’s bad enough you need to cut down on your Salicylic acids & completely cut out your Vitamin A. But rest assured, you can still use these fabulous active ingredients in your skincare routine (with bonus product recommendations):
Niacinamide - You’re thinking it… Thank Goodness! Vitamin B3 or niacinamide is an absolute must have for pregnant women. Hydrates, reduces inflammation, regulates sebum production & great for pigmentation - What more could you ask for?
Here’s a good one for you to try - Aspect Dr Multi B Plus
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) - Although you may prefer more of a gentle exfoliating acid such as mandelic & lactic acids, AHA’s in your skincare are perfectly safe to brighten and resurface the skin.
Here’s a good mask to get rid of those dead skin cells - Aspect Exfoliating Clay Mask
Polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) - Still iffy about using AHAs? Here’s an even gentler option. Without penetrating the skin as deeply, PHAs are great for sensitive skin.
Here’s a serum that’s perfect for pregnancy (also a great alternative to Vitamin A) - Medik8 Bakuchiol Peptides
- Enzyme Exfoliants - Like PHAs, here’s another chemical exfoliant option that is even more gentle on the skin! Aspect Fruit Enzyme Exfoliating Mask
- Vitamin C - Another product you’re probably extra excited about - nothing beats that glow from Vitamin C. So unless not recommended by your doctor, Vitamin C serums are in fact safe to use whilst pregnant.
Here’s a great serum to try - Aspect Dr Active C Serum
See! Just because you’re pregnant doesn't mean you can’t have a killer skincare routine.
Just a reminder - Always check with a medical professional if you’re unsure.