Pregnancy-Safe Skin Care: What to Use and What to Avoid

The skin is the largest organ of our body and contains a variety of glands that produce hormones and other substances necessary for maintaining health. However, these glands can sometimes become irritated due to external factors, causing them to secrete excess amounts of certain hormones into the bloodstream. This can lead to various physical changes including hair loss, acne, and dryness. These symptoms are collectively known as pregnancy-related hormonal imbalances.

Skincare products can harm both mothers and babies if applied improperly. As pregnant women are at much greater risk of skin irritation, they should follow these guidelines to ensure that their skin is protected while using certain products:

  • Never use soap or other detergents on the face
  • Use a gentle cleanser only on the face (no eye makeup)
  • Avoid scrubbing the skin too hard
  • Avoid harsh chemicals like bleaches and hair dyesSkin changes during pregnancy

Skin changes during pregnancy

The skin can change dramatically over time. If we are not careful, it can take us by surprise.

Pregnancy is no exception, which means that your skin may undergo some noticeable changes. But fortunately, they’re not difficult to fix. So don’t panic when you encounter them, just remember these simple tips!


If you notice any swelling or redness around your nipples or breasts, this could be a sign of mastitis (inflammation) in both women and men. You should immediately consult a doctor. A cold compress or warm shower can help to relieve the pain. And if you feel too much pressure, apply a little petroleum jelly before bedtime.

Stretch marks

Stretch marks are generally caused by rapid weight gain or loss, poor diet, or hormonal fluctuations. Most stretch marks fade without intervention, but there are ways to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Try to eat well-balanced meals and avoid skipping breakfast. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Avoid alcohol while pregnant, and try to get at least eight hours of sleep each night. When you do have sex, use condoms to protect against STIs. And if you already have stretch marks, you can treat them using moisturizers like those containing retinol or vitamin C.


The hormonal fluctuations occurring from ovulation to birth can cause some women to suffer from breakouts of acne. This is caused by increased levels of estrogen and progesterone that occur throughout this period. As your body goes through major metabolic changes, hormones like estrogen and progesterone are released at higher levels than normal. These hormones stimulate oil glands to produce excess sebum, which then clogs pores and leaves women susceptible to acne. If you notice any pimples forming during this time, use anti-acne products containing salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or sulfur to treat them. Try not to wash your face too often because this could remove natural oils and dry out your skin.

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a condition where women experience symptoms of depression following childbirth. Symptoms include sadness, mood swings, anxiety, irritability, crying spells, poor sleep patterns, fatigue, and loss of appetite. PPD affects about 25% of mothers within two months postpartum.

Skin Care Products: Safe for Pregnant Women

The list below is compiled from my own research and experience with pregnancy skin care products and how they are safe for pregnant women and newborns.

Burt’s Bees Baby Lotion : This lotion has been tested for safety by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They passed their tests with flying colors! This product was developed specifically for use while pregnant and breastfeeding.

Nature’s Gate Body Butter: This body butter is not only safe for pregnant women, but also great for mothers who breastfeed. Its ingredients are 100% natural and do not contain parabens, petroleum, mineral oil, sodium laurel sulfate, artificial colorants and fragrances, phthalates, triclosan, DEA/TEA, glycol ethers, alcohol, propylene glycol, synthetic fragrance, oxybenzone, formaldehyde releasers, phenoxyethanol, benzophenone UV filters, gluten, yeast, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, shellfish, additives, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, propylene oxide, or any other ingredient you can think of.

Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap: This soap is completely free of harsh chemicals, sulfates, and lye. It contains no artificial dyes, perfumes, or flavors. In addition, this soap uses water and coconut oils as its base. Coconut oils have many health benefits for both mother and baby.

Shea Moisture Baby Shampoo & Conditioner: These products are non-toxic and have been proven safe for pregnant women and children. There is no smell and no residue left behind after washings.

Olay Regenerist Prenatal Hydrating Face Cream: Olay’s Prenatal Face Cream contains no preservatives, artificial colorants, or perfumes and is completely free of allergens. It is formulated without any of the following ingredients: mineral oil, petrolatum, lanolin, coal tar, neem extract, lactic acid, panthenol, hydroquinone, retinyl palmitate, retinoic acid, dimethicone, disodium EDTA, cyclopentasiloxane, stearalkonium hectorite, triethanolamine, polyethylene oxide, paraffinum liquidum, ethoxydiglycol, phytantriol, benzophenones, phenoxyethanol, triclosan or other antimicrobial agents.

Pacifica Clean Skin Cleanser: This cleanser is mild enough for even sensitive skin types and does not cause dryness or irritation. It can be used daily and provides gentle exfoliation to remove dead skin cells.

Skin care ingredients to avoid in pregnancy

Parabens: They are preservatives that have been linked to breast cancer and other adverse reproductive health effects.

Diethanolamine (DEA): This has similar effects to diethylstilbestrol (DES), a synthetic hormone that was given to women to increase their fertility rates in WWII.

Mineral Oil: This ingredient helps waterproof makeup but can clog pores over time if used too often.

Formaldehyde: This is a known carcinogen present in nail polish remover, hair spray, and embalming fluid.

Glycerin: This is a natural moisturizer that is found in many skin creams and cosmetic products. However, glycerin has the potential to cause irritation in people who are sensitive to it.

Hydroquinone: This is a common antioxidant that’s commonly found in anti-aging cosmetics and toners. If you’re looking for a hydroquinone alternative, try vitamin C.

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