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Best Practices: Pregnancy-Safe Skincare

Pregnancy is an exciting time in life, but with the excitement comes quite a few changes. Some of these changes show up on your skin - and some in your skincare routine.

Common Pregnancy Skin Concerns

While the pregnancy glow is great, so many of us also experience an onslaught of new or worsened skin conditions while the little bun is in the oven. Most commonly, that includes:

  • Hormonal acne
  • Melasma
  • Dry or oily areas
  • Hyperpigmentation

The majority of these concerns are due to changes in hormone levels that occur with pregnancy. The good news: many of these skincare concerns fade away after the baby is born. The other good news: we can use skincare to address these concerns during pregnancy, we just have to put some of our favorites on the shelf until we are no longer pregnant or breastfeeding.

Pregnancy Safe Skin Care: What Skincare to Avoid While Pregnant

While pregnant mamas may want to default to their traditional skincare routine to tackle these issues, they need to take a peek at their products first - for the safety of mama and the growing baby.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) advises those expecting to shelve any products that contain the following natural or synthetic ingredients:

  • Retinoids (including Isotretinoin, retinols, Retin-A, Renova, Differin, Avage, retinyl palmitate and tazarotene)
  • Tetracycline
  • Hydroquinone
  • Salicylic acid (in over 2% concentrations)
  • Dihydroxyacetone
  • Heavy concentrations of benzoyl peroxide
  • Select essential oils (including basil, juniper berry, jasmine, cypress, chamomile blue and rosemary)
  • Additional Vitamin A derivatives

ACOG also advises against products containing parabens, BPA and/or ammonia (I advise against these - pregnant or not!).

Can You Get Botox While Pregnant?

Many women often ask me, "Can I get Botox while I'm pregnant?" Unfortunately, treatments like Botox are also out of the question for mothers-to-be. But don’t worry mama, you’ll be back in the Botox chair soon!

Pregnancy-Safe Skin Care Ingredients 

While the list above may seem exhaustive of all products (especially when you’re trying to fight off acne and melasma!), I promise there are many safe alternatives!

ACOG deems the following ingredients safe:

  • Glycolic acid
  • Topical salicylic acid
  • Topical benzoyl peroxide
  • Azelaic acid
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Arbutin
  • Kojic acid
  • Hyaluronic acid

Recommended Prenatal Skincare Routine

Between these safe ingredients and lifestyle maintenance (staying hydrated, a nutritious diet and avoiding touching your face), there is hope for pregnancy skin woes!

I have created two specific Lineups on the shop for my pregnant and nursing mamas (because restrictions on skincare don’t change much when you’re breastfeeding). The Safe Mama Get Clear Lineup is a complete morning and evening lineup for those experiencing acne. This lineup utilizes safe concentrations of glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, tea tree oil, activated charcoal and hyaluronic acid to keep the skin calm and clear. Both Safe Mama lineups also give you the option to add The One, which takes pregnancy skincare to the next level! The One is aptly named so because it is one serum with a “do it all” formula. When it comes to clearing the skin, The One works to deeply hydrate, which creates balance in the skin and prevents acne! It is also effective in protecting the skin from bacteria as it is full of antioxidants that reinforce the barrier of the skin. In short, The One is creating clear skin from the inside and out!

The Safe Mama Let’s Glow Lineup contains three (potentially four if you add The One) active products aimed specifically towards skin brightening. This is game-changing for mamas experiencing a hormonal onset of melasma or hyperpigmentation, and this set of products can easily be worked into any skincare regimen. Vitamin C, glycolic, salicylic, arbutin, and kojic acid all work together to combat melasma, hyperpigmentation and dull skin. In the Safe Mama Let’s Glow Lineup, The One can be added OR can replace C Glow (our Vitamin C product). The One has the antioxidant properties of C Glow, but also a whole lot more when it comes to gentle resurfacing! The same antioxidants that help brighten the skin also activate base cells, increase cell turnover and improve collagen production. While this gentle resurfacing is taking place, the skin is also receiving deep nourishment and hydration. This keeps the skin clam and prevents another trigger of melasma, inflammation.

I battled with a bad case of melasma during my first pregnancy (pre-PFAM skincare). I was determined to keep that at bay during my second pregnancy, as well as treat my underlying (and unrelenting) acne-prone skin. So, I used a bit of a combination of the lineups. Here’s exactly what I used (with the addition of where I would have used our newest product The One if I’d been lucky enough to have it during my pregnancy):



A consistent skincare routine with safe and clean ingredients is key for keeping skin clear, calm and glowing during your three trimesters and beyond. All the products within these Safe Mama Lineups are free of parabens, dyes, fragrances. They are also all gluten-free and vegan.

If you have any questions about your skincare routine and if a product is safe to use while you are pregnant, it’s always best to consult with your own obstetrician!

Dr. Zoe

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