Pregnancy Safe Skincare | Everything you need to know 2024

Pregnancy Safe Skincare: Pregnancy is an exciting and special time for expecting mothers. As your body goes through many changes to nurture your growing baby, you want to make sure you are taking good care of yourself and protecting your developing child. This includes being mindful of the skincare and beauty products you use.

When you’re pregnant, what you put in your body can be absorbed into your bloodstream and potentially reach your baby. This makes it crucial to choose safe skincare that contains only pregnancy-friendly ingredients that will cause no harm.

Choosing the right pregnancy skincare regimen can seem overwhelming at first. But have no fear! In this guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know to pick the best skincare and cosmetics for sensitive and changing pregnant skin.

Things to Avoid in Skincare During Pregnancy

When you see the word “pregnancy,” it should be an immediate red flag for certain harmful ingredients to avoid at all costs during this precious time. Here are the major things you want to steer clear of when selecting pregnancy-safe skincare and beauty products:

Chemical Sunscreens

Sun protection is very important during pregnancy, as melasma and dark spots can easily develop thanks to hormonal changes. However, chemical sunscreens contain ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, and octocrylene that can be absorbed into the bloodstream and potentially cause harm.

The safest sunscreen bets for pregnancy are mineral or physical sunblocks with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. These sit on top of the skin to deflect UV rays instead of being absorbed. Look for SPF 30 at minimum for sufficient protection.


Retinoids like retinol, tretinoin, tazarotene, and isotretinoin are forms of Vitamin A that can be way too harsh for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Topical retinoids have been linked to birth defects. So it’s imperative to stay away from them during pregnancy and while nursing.


Hydroquinone is a popular skin-lightening agent used to treat things like melasma, acne scarring, and age spots. However, there are concerns over its safety with unborn babies. Skip hydroquinone and opt for natural brightening alternatives like vitamin C, niacinamide, licorice root extract, etc.

Chemical Exfoliants

Say no to chemical exfoliants like AHAs (glycolic, lactic, mandelic acids), BHAs (salicylic acid), and enzymes (bromelain, papain) during pregnancy. These work by increasing skin cell turnover, which can irritate and dehydrate extra-sensitive expecting skin.

Essential Oils & Fragrance

Pure essential oils, artificial fragrances, and perfumes contain compounds that may disrupt hormones and cause other issues for the mom and developing baby. It’s wise to avoid them by choosing unscented skincare products during pregnancy.


Phthalates are chemicals often added to beauty products and fragrances to help retain the scents, colors, and flexibility of plastics in packaging. However, they can interfere with hormones like estrogen and potentially be absorbed through the skin.


Parabens like methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben are commonly used preservatives in skincare and makeup. But these have weak estrogen-like properties that make them concerning during pregnancy.


Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives like quaternion-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, and Diazolidinyl urea should not come into contact with vulnerable pregnant skin as they may cause sensitivity.


The solvent toluene helps enhance nail polish application and finish. However, repeated exposure to nail products is risky during pregnancy due to potential developmental toxicity. Look for toluene-free nail polish instead.


Similar to toluene, the solvent xylene in some cosmetics can potentially disrupt fetal development and cause birth defects. So it’s safest to avoid xylene exposure throughout pregnancy.


Lead is very toxic and linked to miscarriage, preterm birth, and other serious issues. Lead in makeup and hair dyes is uncommon now, but it’s still smart to check ingredient lists and choose lead-free cosmetics only.

By steering clear of ingredients like these during pregnancy, you can protect delicate baby-growing skin while keeping your little one safe too. When in doubt, consult your doctor on any skincare or beauty products before using.

The Best Pregnancy Safe Skincare Ingredients

Now that you know what to avoid, let’s look at some of the top skincare ingredients that are safe and beneficial during pregnancy:


Glycerin is a hero humectant that attracts moisture to the skin and acts as an emollient. This helps hydrate dry, stretched pregnant skin. Look for glycerin in lotions, creams, and cleansers.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is another fantastic hydrating ingredient that holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water. It plumps skin and provides comforting relief from tightness and itching.


Natural colloidal oatmeal is ultra-soothing and anti-inflammatory, making it ideal for Sensitive, irritated pregnant skin. It also helps strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier. Look for it in cleansers, creams, masks, etc.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera gel is renowned for its cooling and calming properties. It hydrates while helping heal and prevent pregnancy acne, dermatitis, stretch marks, and more.

Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil closely mimics the skin’s natural sebum to balance oil production without clogging pores. It provides a protective layer of moisture that keeps mama and baby skin supple.

Shea Butter

Ultra-moisturizing shea butter absorbs well while locking in hydration and improving skin elasticity. This makes it key for preventing stretch marks and masking that pregnant glow.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that neutralizes damaging free radicals and protects skin cell membranes. It’s also very moisturizing to prevent stretch mark formation.


Also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide improves skin texture, tone, and barrier function while fighting inflammation and hyperpigmentation like melasma.

Green Tea Extract

The polyphenols in green tea are fantastic antioxidants that defend the skin against UV damage, inflammation, and free radical formation. This keeps skin healthy.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C brightens dull skin and fades dark spots by limiting excess melanin production. It also boosts collagen to maintain skin elasticity during stretching.

The Best Pregnancy Skincare Products

Now let’s look at some recommended skincare products that are formulated with pregnancy-safe ingredients to care gently for mom and baby:

Face Wash

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is a top choice for cleansing sensitive pregnant skin without stripping or drying. It contains glycerin and vitamin B5 to hydrate as it removes dirt, oil, and makeup.


Thayers Alcohol-Free Unscented Witch Hazel Facial Toner softens, balances, and hydrates without irritating sensitive pregnant complexions. It contains aloe vera along with antioxidant vitamin E.


The Naturium Niacinamide Serum 12% Plus Zinc 2% helps refine skin texture, fade dark spots, and repair the moisture barrier to keep Mama’s skin glowy.


The Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer With Hyaluronic Acid is ultra-gentle with ceramides and glycerin. It provides light, fragrance-free hydration suitable for pregnancy.

Eye Cream

The fair + plant by L’Oreal Paris Lavender Oil Eye Cream quenches thirsty under the eyes while calming puffiness and dark circles.

Night Cream

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Face Moisturizer is creamy yet lightweight with colloidal oatmeal, aloe, shea butter, and ceramides to nourish skin overnight.

Body Lotion

Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Moisturizing Body Oil softens and prevents stretch marks with a blend of natural oils like jojoba, almond, lemon, and vitamin E.

Belly Butter

Maternity Belly Butter by Nine Naturals repairs elasticity and prevents stretch marks and itching with shea, cocoa butter, vitamin E, olive oil, and more.

Body Wash

The Honest Company Sweet Orange Vanilla 2-in-1 Conditioning Body Wash cleans and hydrates delicate skin with naturally derived cleansers.

Lip Balm

Aquaphor Healing Ointment is a rich, fragrance-free formula that hydrates and protects chapped pregnant lips.

Nourishing Face Mask

The Yes to Coconut Ultra-Hydrating Facial Mask soothes and moisturizes with coconut water, shea butter, and hyaluronic acid to plump thirsty skin.

Exfoliating Scrub

Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub gently exfoliates and moisturizes with certified organic shea butter, safflower seed oil, and vitamin E.


Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+ provides broad-spectrum protection with zinc oxide, aloe vera, and natural oils. It’s gentle for all skin types.

Pregnancy Acne Treatment

The Peter Thomas Roth Therapeutic Sulfur Masque clears breakouts and purifies congested pores with 10% sulfur and soothing kaolin clay.

Stretch Mark Cream

The all-natural Mommy Knows Best Stretch Mark Cream improves elasticity to help prevent and minimize pregnancy stretch marks.

Face Moisturizer with SPF

Australian Gold Botanical Tinted Face Sunscreen SPF 50 provides lightweight hydration, antioxidants, and mineral SPF protection.

Pregnancy Skincare Tips and Routine

Now that you know the top pregnancy-safe skincare products, here are some helpful tips for keeping skin healthy during those 9 magical months:

  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated from the inside out. This is key for skin elasticity.
  • Cleanse gently using fragrance-free washes to prevent irritation and sensitivity.
  • Exfoliate 2-3 times a week to reveal fresh, glowing skin – just avoid harsh scrubs.
  • Apply body oil and belly butter daily to nourish, prevent itching, and minimize stretch marks.
  • Use mineral sunscreen on your face and body every day for protection against melasma.
  • Indulge in a soothing facial mask once a week to calm stressed skin.
  • Monitor skin for any breakouts, rashes, or dermatitis, and treat gently with safe products.
  • Take lukewarm showers instead of hot to avoid drying out pregnant skin.
  • Use humidifiers to add moisture back into the air and your skin during winter months.
  • Get a comfy pregnancy pillow and sleep on your side for better circulation and less facial compression.
  • Avoid direct high heat from things like fireplaces and space heaters that dehydrate the skin.
  • Eat a balanced diet with plenty of healthy fats, protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals for your best complexion.
  • Stay positive and relaxed as anxiety and stress can worsen pregnancy breakouts and melasma.

An ideal pregnancy skincare routine would look something like this:


  • Gentle Cleanser
  • Hydrating Toner
  • Vitamin C Serum
  • Face Moisturizer with SPF
  • Lip Balm


  • Makeup Remover (if needed)
  • Gentle Cleanser
  • Hydrating Serum or Night Cream
  • Nourishing Eye Cream
  • Body Oil and Belly Butter

Give your skin some extra TLC with this safe and soothing pregnancy skincare regimen. Always consult your dermatologist before trying any new products while expecting. With the right care, you can maintain a gorgeous, healthy, mama-to-be glow!

Frequently Asked Questions About Pregnancy Skincare

Here are answers to some of the most common pregnancy skincare questions expecting mothers have:

Is it safe to use retinol or retinoids during pregnancy?

No, retinoids like tretinoin and isotretinoin are not considered safe for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. They can potentially cause birth defects. It’s best to avoid them and use gentle alternatives like bakuchiol, vitamin C, niacinamide, etc.

What ingredients should I look for in pregnancy skincare?

Some of the top pregnancy-safe ingredients are glycerin, hyaluronic acid, oatmeal, aloe vera, jojoba oil, shea butter, vitamin E, green tea extract, and niacinamide. Steer clear of retinoids, hydroquinone, chemical sunscreens, essential oils, and parabens.

Can I get facial treatments done during pregnancy?

Most facial treatments and extractions are not recommended during pregnancy as they can trigger inflammation or introduce bacteria. Very gentle exfoliating treatments may be ok but always check with your dermatologist first.

When should I start using stretch mark creams?

It’s ideal to begin applying stretch mark prevention creams like belly butter and body oils during the first trimester. This helps maximize skin elasticity early on before rapid stretching occurs.

How can I treat pregnancy acne breakouts?

Look for over-the-counter acne spot treatments with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. You can also ask your dermatologist about prescription topicals that are safe during pregnancy to clear stubborn breakouts.

Will melasma or dark spots go away after pregnancy?

Melasma is often called the “mask of pregnancy” and it may fade and improve after giving birth. Always use SPF protection to prevent it from getting worse or recurring. Chemical peels and certain lasers can also help treat melasma post-pregnancy.

Enjoy Your Healthy, Glowing Pregnancy Skin

Pregnancy can be such an exciting and beautiful time in a woman’s life. By taking special care of your skin and using only safe, nourishing products, you can maintain a gorgeous, radiant expectant mother glow.

Keep your complexion clear, supple, and hydrated throughout your pregnancy journey. Choose skincare free of retinoids, hydroquinone, chemical sunscreen filters, fragrances, parabens, and other concerning ingredients. Look out for hydration like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, aloe, and oatmeal instead.

Get in a good routine with pregnancy-safe cleansers, moisturizers, oils, SPF, and targeted treatments. Drink lots of water, eat a balanced diet, and get plenty of rest. Avoid direct high heat and unnecessary skin stressors.

With the proper pregnancy skincare regimen, you can look as healthy and radiant on the outside as you feel on the inside. So embrace that gorgeous mama glow as you nourish the new precious life growing within you. Congratulations!

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