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You may already have a cabinet full of products you swear by to keep your skin beautiful and glowing, but once you conceive, your skin can change dramatically. You need a pregnancy-safe skincare routine to nourish and protect your skin during this time.

We put together this guide to help you navigate the world of skincare ingredients and give you tips on creating an effective routine that’ll keep your skin healthy and radiant.

But first, let’s talk about why you may not be able to use your regular skincare products while you’re expecting.

Table Of Contents

Why You Need A Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Routine

pregnancy safe skin care

Growing a baby is a beautiful process, but it also comes with changes to your body that can affect your skin. Increased hormone levels disrupt your skin’s delicate balance, speed up dehydration, make your skin more sensitive, and decrease your skin’s ability to resist dirt, wind, and UV rays.

But that’s not all — the products you use on your skin can also impact your growing baby. Harsh chemicals and certain ingredients in skincare products have been linked to birth defects and other complications.

With all these considerations, you may discover that your old reliable routine isn’t so reliable anymore. You need a revamped skincare routine that is safe for both you and your baby.

Let’s start by evaluating some common skincare ingredients.

Skincare Ingredients For Pregnancy

Your skin is your largest organ. It absorbs chemicals and ingredients from skincare products into your bloodstream, which can then reach your baby. That’s why it’s essential to be mindful of what you put on your skin during pregnancy.

Ingredients To Avoid

While you’ll want to check with your healthcare provider about specific ingredients, here are some common ones that pregnant women should steer clear of:

  • Retinoids and retinol: These Vitamin A derivatives can cause birth defects.
  • Salicylic acid: This ingredient is related to aspirin and oral salicylic acid has been linked to pregnancy complications and birth defects, so doctors often caution against the use of any products containing this ingredient.
  • Chemical sunscreens: These contain oxybenzone, avobenzone, and other chemicals that can enter the bloodstream and potentially harm your baby. Instead, opt for mineral sunscreens that use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
  • Phthalates: Scientists have linked these chemicals to hormone disruptions and birth defects.
  • Hydroquinone: While scientists haven’t established a specific problematic link, many doctors suggest avoiding this skin-lightening ingredient during pregnancy since so much of it gets absorbed into the bloodstream.
  • Parabens: These chemicals act as a preservative and can also mimic the female hormone estrogen. They may interfere with fetal development or lead to a premature birth.

As soon as you find out you’re expecting, read the labels on your skincare products. You may be surprised to discover that some of your go-to products contain some of the above ingredients. If they do, you’ll want to stop using them ASAP.

What To Look For

safe skin care routine during pregnancy

Now that you know what to avoid, let’s discuss what you should look for in your skincare products during pregnancy.

Here are some terms to watch for:

  • Fragrance-free: Since phthalates make fragrances last longer, selecting fragrance-free products can help you avoid those chemicals.
  • Natural or organic: These products often have more plant-based ingredients, which are generally considered safer for pregnant women. Just check the labels to make sure no harmful chemicals are hiding in the ingredient list.
  • Dermatologist tested: This can give you peace of mind that the product has undergone safety testing.
  • Hypoallergenic: This label indicates a product is less likely to cause an allergic reaction, which is especially important during pregnancy, when your skin may be more sensitive.

If you find a product that looks like a good fit, consider asking your doctor about it. Then, start with a small patch test to see if you have any adverse reactions.

Though the labels above can help you select a relatively safe product, everyone is different — so something that may not bother your friends could irritate your skin. A patch test can help you feel confident in your skincare choices.

A Simple Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Routine

With a better understanding of ingredients, you can now confidently select products for use during pregnancy. But what types of products do you need?

Here’s a simple pregnancy-safe skincare routine to keep your skin (and baby!) healthy.

1) Wash Your Face (And Body)

Pregnancy hormones can make your skin break out in acne like a teenager. Keeping your face clean can help minimize breakouts.

Use a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser, like our Organic Cleansing Gel with Olive Oil and Aloe, twice a day to remove dirt, oil, and makeup. Avoid harsh scrubbing or exfoliating products, which can irritate your skin.

2) Moisturize In The Morning

pregnancy safe skin care

Nothing feels as good as a rich moisturizer after a shower. Even when you’re not pregnant, that’s enough of a reason to moisturize.

Keeping your skin moisturized while pregnant can be tricky, but it’s even more important. On top of all the hormones that can irritate your skin, parts of your body are growing, expanding, and stretching.

This can lead to tight, itchy skin that can make your pregnancy more frustrating than it needs to be.

We suggest applying a pregnancy-safe moisturizer, like our Multi-purpose Balm with 3 Avocado Extracts in the morning and at night to keep your skin soft and supple.

Pregnancy-safe moisturizers are specifically formulated with natural ingredients like avocado peptides and ceramides to keep your skin hydrated and healthy. Additionally, they should be hypoallergenic, compatible with breastfeeding, and safe for mom and baby.

3) Make Hydration A Part Of Your Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Regime

Though they sound similar, moisturizing and hydrating are two different things when it comes to skin care. The main responsibility of a moisturizer is to set a barrier between the air and your skin to keep water from evaporating.

Hydrators, on the other hand, are formulated to actually increase the water content of your skin. Ideally, you would want to apply a hydrator first to put moisture into your skin, followed by a moisturizer to seal the hydration throughout the day.

Used together, they form the foundation of any good pregnancy-safe skincare routine and can help keep your dry skin looking and feeling better.

We like to keep our skin hydrated with Mustela’s Organic Hydrating Cream with Olive Oil and Aloe. This lightweight, restorative formula leaves both baby and adult skin soft and supple.

4. Exfoliate Once A Week Before Bed

Woman with pregnancy safe skin care routine

Exfoliating is important for your skin, whether you’re pregnant or not. It removes the microscopic dead cells that can clog your pores. With those dead cells gone, and the new, fresh skin uncovered, your moisturizer and hydrator can penetrate deeper to where they’re most effective.

One of our favorite exfoliants is baking soda. It’s all-natural, affordable, won’t harm your baby, is gentle on your skin, and can be used on any part of your body. Here’s a great recipe for using baking soda as an exfoliant.

Ingredients:

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Vitamin E oil (optional)

Instructions:

  • Add 1 tablespoon baking soda to a small glass bowl.
  • Mix in a few drops of water (it doesn’t take much).
  • Add a drop or two of Vitamin E oil (optional).
  • Mix well.
  • If the mixture is too thick, continue adding drops of water until you’ve created a paste.

Before applying the baking soda paste, splash some lukewarm water on your face to prepare the skin. Then, apply the baking soda by rubbing in small circular motions.

Continue to massage the baking soda into your skin for 3 minutes, taking care not to get it in your eyes or mouth. Finally, rinse your face with lukewarm water until all the baking soda is removed and pat dry with a clean, soft towel.

We suggest exfoliating twice per week.

5) Treat And Prevent Stretch Marks

For expectant and postpartum moms, treating and preventing stretch marks is an important part of a pregnancy-safe skincare routine.

Products like Mustela’s Stretch Marks Cream, Stretch Marks Oil, and Stretch Marks Serum work to keep skin soft and supple. This helps minimize the scarring and fine lines that may form as your skin stretches to make room for your baby.

We recommend massaging a stretch mark treatment into vulnerable areas like your stomach and hips every morning and evening for at least two months postpartum. Begin this routine early in your pregnancy to help prevent stretch marks.

6) Apply Sunscreen Daily

Those pregnancy hormones we’ve been talking about can also make your skin more sensitive to the sun. The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends everyone wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day, even if they’re not pregnant.

When shopping for sunscreen during pregnancy, look for fragrance-free formulas that use minerals like zinc oxide to block the sun’s rays. Your sunscreen should also be broad-spectrum, which protects from UVA and UVB rays.

Mustela’s SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Set is a great option. It includes three different application methods:

  • Lotion
  • Stick
  • Spray

Each version has our 100% mineral sunscreen that’s non-nano and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. Use it on any skin not covered by clothing.

Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Tips

Mom with a pregnancy safe skin care routine

Taking care of your skin during pregnancy is essential for you and your baby. A simple skincare routine, as described above, will help you maintain hydrated, glowing skin from now until your little one arrives.

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is important for overall health and can help keep you hydrated from the inside out. During pregnancy, water is even more crucial.

It can help alleviate common pregnancy symptoms like constipation, headaches, and fatigue. Plus, staying hydrated can make your skin more supple and less prone to dryness or irritation.

Get Enough Sleep

We know this is easier said than done, especially as your pregnancy progresses, but getting enough sleep is crucial for healthy skin. Lack of sleep can lead to dark circles under your eyes and make your skin look dull and tired.

Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night. And remember that while you’re in dreamland, your body is busy repairing and rejuvenating your skin cells. This process can’t happen if you’re not getting enough sleep.

Embrace Skinimalism

Pregnancy is not the time for complicated skincare routines. Instead, embrace the concept of “skinimalism.” This minimalistic skincare movement helps you pare down your routine to the essentials.

As a skinimalist, you’ll stick to gentle, pregnancy-safe products for each stage of your skincare routine. Add targeted treatment products as needed, but don’t go overboard. Embrace the mantra, “Keep it simple.”

Using too many products or ingredients can do more harm than good, especially when your pregnancy hormones are in flux.

Here are some benefits of embracing a simple skincare routine for pregnancy:

  • Fewer products mean less risk of irritation or allergic reactions
  • Saves you time and money since you won’t need as many products.
  • Frees up mental space — with so many other things to focus on during pregnancy, simplifying your skincare routine can help reduce stress and overwhelm.

Safely Treat Hyperpigmentation

Many women experience hyperpigmentation during pregnancy. Whether you’re dealing with melasma on your face or linea nigra on your stomach, you need a safe and effective way to treat this condition.

While you may be tempted to reach for the lightening cream, harsh chemicals aren’t the answer, especially when you’re growing a baby.

Instead, focus on staying in the shade (since sun exposure can worsen hyperpigmentation) and use lotions that have Vitamin E to help lighten the spots.

Eat A Balanced Diet

The food you eat has a direct impact on your skin’s health. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can give your skin the vitamins and nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

If you’re already eating a healthy pregnancy diet, your skin thanks you. If you’re not, now is the perfect time to talk to your doctor and make some tweaks. They can help you develop a healthy eating plan that’s good for your baby and your skin.

Remember It’s Only For 9 Months

If your skin is driving you crazy and you’re feeling frustrated with treatment options, remember that pregnancy is only temporary. Skin changes with pregnancy are common, and they typically subside after giving birth.

So try to be patient and don’t stress too much about finding the perfect solution. Before you know it, your precious baby will be here, and you’ll be back to your usual skincare routine.

Mustela: Safe For Use During Pregnancy And Beyond

Mustela: Safe For Use During Pregnancy And Beyond

Mustela has the products you need to create a pregnancy-safe skincare routine. Try our:

Our products are made with natural ingredients that have been rigorously tested for safety and effectiveness. You can feel confident using Mustela during your pregnancy and beyond, so give our products a try and give your skin the care it deserves.