If you’re a first-time mom, you know that the list of do’s and don’t is long. You’re doing everything to keep yourself healthy, safe and supportive of your body, while making sure that your baby is as safe as possible. In the process, pregnancy books and websites will make it seem like you have to toss out every single product in your beauty kit and that every ingredient is scary to use. But taking all your favorite skincare products out of the assortment may not be warranted either, you may just have to do some rejigging.
First, talk to your doctor and your dermatologist
This isn’t the time to play fast and loose with what you know from the internet. There are a lot of ingredients that aren’t the best to use when you’re pregnant, and you may not always check the back of the bottle before using it on yourself. If you do have specific issues you’re trying to fix, a dermatologist may be able to prescribe certain medical-grade products that are safe and efficient to use.
You’ll want to take some products off your roster
Retinoids, which are considered the gold standard to fight acne and fine lines, are not safe during pregnancy because they can affect embryonic development and result in birth defects.
Popular anti-acne and anti-pigmentation ingredients like salicylic acid are mostly frowned upon too, because studies have not been done on its pregnancy safety.
Essentially, most ingredients that can enter the bloodstream through topical application should be skipped, so chemical sunscreens, antibiotics and hydroquinone are better left for post-pregnancy, according to most doctors.
You’ll want to add some in too
There are safe alternatives to all your favorite products. Loved retinol’s anti-ageing properties? Bakuchiol, a plant-based ingredient works with the same kind of receptors and helps to improve the look of pigmentation, elasticity and firmness. For brightening, lactic, azelaic and glycolic acid are considered safe, and they improve cell turnover without causing any peeling or redness.
Focus on sun protection
Melasma can be due to hormonal changes during pregnancy and can be made worse from sun exposure. The brown or gray-brown patches can appear most often on the cheeks, forehead, nose and chin, so sun protection is necessary. There might not be too much information about chemical sunscreen usage, so it is best to use a physical sunscreen with broad spectrum zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that protects the skin by deflecting UV rays.
Hydrate dry skin
Hydrating and moisturizing the skin is super important. Look to coconut oil, cocoa butter, peptides and hyaluronic acid, which work in tandem to improve elasticity and leave the skin supple. Find your stomach feeling itchy, uncomfortable and dry? Lather on balms, oils and creams on the area to soothe and help the skin stretch naturally (aka help prevent the look of stretch marks).
Give yourself grace!
When you’re pregnant, your body is going through a lot. While some women may be blessed with a “pregnancy glow”, others struggle with melasma, raging acne and terribly itchy skin. It helps to remind yourself that you’re growing a baby and your body (and skin’s) needs might be changing, so allowing yourself to figure out your new regimen within the new constraints might just take a little trial and error. Oh, and those stretch marks? They’re only a sign of major transformation.