Skincare During Pregnancy

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Your Guide to Navigating Skincare during pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time of incredible change, both physically and emotionally. And while that "pregnancy glow" might be a real thing, it's not always smooth sailing for your skin. Hormonal fluctuations can lead to acne, hyperpigmentation, or sensitivity. This is a time when hormones have the wheel, so managing conditions vs. solving the root cause is a more realistic approach. Add to that the concern of how to treat the skin safely as an additional worry that no mom-to-be need be troubled with, which is why we have your skin needs covered here.

It’s important to clarify that there isn’t technically a product that can be labeled
conclusively “safe and unsafe” without tests on pregnant women and fetuses to prove such (which no one is jumping to do). But, because a product is not declared ascertainly “safe” does not imply that it is “unsafe”.

 

The No-Go List:

Let's talk about what to avoid. Certain ingredients are best left on the shelf while you're expecting. Here are the primary ones:

  • Retinoids: These powerhouses for wrinkles and acne are a no-go during pregnancy. Studies suggest a possible link to birth defects.
  • Hydroquinone: This skin-brightening ingredient is another one to skip, due to a higher percentage of absorption.
  • Salicylic acid: While low doses in washes or spot treatments are considered safe, high concentrations of salicylic acid are best avoided (as in chemical peels or anything >2%)

 

Safe Swaps:

Don't despair! There are more available pregnancy-safe ingredients than not.
Specifically helpful are:

  • Niacinamide: This multi-tasking wonder helps control oil, brighten discoloration and is also helpful for skin sensitivity.
  • Vitamin C: This antioxidant protects against free radical damage and can assist with brightening.
  • Glycolic acid: This gentle AHA exfoliates the skin to reveal a brighter, smoother complexion. (AHA considered safe under 10%, and not lower than pH 3.5)
  • Lactic acid: Another gentle AHA, lactic acid is great for sensitive skin and is naturally brightening.
  • Azelaic Acid: this AHA is helpful for redness, brightening and discouraging acne formation.
  • Benzoyl Peroxide: This topical treatment is often paired with other ingredients but is effective on its own as well. It is considered safe during pregnancy to manage the bacteria associated with acne. It is best used last in the night time routine to avoid potential skin irritation.

 

Top 3 Skin Concerns associated with Pregnancy:

  •  Acne: The fluctuation of hormones often causes an increase in oil production that is the catalyst for acne in pregnant women. Those with a history of acne are more likely to develop acne while pregnant. There are some limitations on therapies, but topicals such as hydroxy acids, benzoyl peroxide, along with LED therapy are helpful.

 

  • Hyperpigmentation: The presence of a Melanin Stimulating Hormone during pregnancy adds to the difficulty of overactive melanin stimulation. For some, the discoloration reduces after pregnancy and in some cases the pigmentation can be left behind. As with all forms of hyperpigmentation a multi-faceted approach is most successful. We provide a defense with antioxidants, pigment brightening and inhibiting products as well as vigilant sun protection. There is no brightening without sunscreen!

 

  • Increased facial redness: With increased blood flow and inflammation, facial redness can result. Consequently, the aim is to cool and calm the skin. Anti-inflammatory ingredients in skincare can assist to some degree. (as with many symptoms associated with pregnancy, we cannot totally erase their presence).

 

Safe Treatments:


Pregnancy is a great time to have professional help from an Esthetician in managing skin concerns as well as enjoying some extra care and relaxation. Make sure to communicate with your esthetician that you are pregnant, as well as any needs for comfort (like laying inclined rather than flat in a treatment).

Treatments that are appropriate during pregnancy:

Dermaplaning

LED  (for the face)

Facials

As always, consult your doctor with any product questions during your pregnancy.
Citations:


American Academy of Dermatology:
https://www.aad.org/member/clinical-quality/guidelines/acne


Mayo Clinic:
https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/acne-during-pregna
ncy-treatments-causes


https://www.cfp.ca/content/57/6/665 (College of Family Physicians Canada,
2011)


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8884185/pdf/jcad_15_2_49.pdf
(Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 2022) 

 
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