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Skincare During Pregnancy: What is Safe and What to Avoid

September 10, 2012

Pregnancy often falls during those frustrating years when you may still be battling a bit of youthful acne or oily skin, or you might be starting to worry about fighting early signs of aging. Many women rely on a variety of lotions, potions, creams, and ointments to battle a multitude of skincare woes, but during your pregnancy, you may need to modify your skincare routine.

Some ingredients are not considered safe to use during pregnancy, and dermatologists warn against using them during your term. Any anti-aging or anti-acne products that contain retinoids are generally regarded as unsafe for use during pregnancy, and these include any products that contain ingredients such as tretinoin, retinol, retinyl palmitate, adapelene, or tazarotene. In addition to retinoids, salicylic acid usage should be modified. A powerful exfoliant used in both anti-aging and anti-acne products, salicylic is most easily absorbed when used in peels and scrubs, or taken orally. Avoid any products such as these that contain salicylic acid or beta hydroxy acid (BHA).

Pregnancy-safe options are out there, and can used as temporary substitutes for your current favorites. If you’re looking for anti-aging products, try those that contain alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA), such as glycolic acid or fruit acids that provide exfoliation and a reduction in age spots and lines. Products containing antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E can also pack a powerful anti-aging punch. If you’re concerned with oily skin or acne, or if pregnancy has exacerbated an acne problem, talk to your dermatologist about non-invasive topical products that contain a low percentage of salicylic acid, or even a safe topical antibiotic.

And as for sunscreen, it’s recommended that you use a sunscreen product daily regardless of whether or not you are pregnant. Most commercial sunscreen products are safe to use during pregnancy. Chemical sunscreens such as avobenzone and oxybenzone are safe and allow for a smooth, non-sticky feel. Physical sunscreens such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are good for women with sensitive skin, though they are generally a bit thicker than chemical formulations. If you are experiencing pregnancy melasma, a darkening of areas of your facial skin, be sure to use sunscreen daily to reduce the progress of this condition.

And remember that there are a few tried, true, and safe options for healthy skin at every stage of your life! Plenty of water, a solid nightly sleep, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and limiting your stress levels are all great options for better skin and better health overall!

Photography courtesy of Flickr.

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