During pregnancy, you could drive yourself crazy Googling the safety details of the skincare products you use every day. With so much conflicting information, and so little solid research done on the subject, it can be frustrating.

All you’re trying to do is wash your face, and here comes Google telling you you’ll put a curse on your baby if your cleanser contains ulmus davidiana root extract.

But real talk, many popular skincare ingredients like retinol and salicylic acid can cross the placenta and pose risks to your baby, so it’s important to stay prudent.

Here we’ve rounded up seven of the most important skincare safety tips so you can keep your skin glowing, your baby growing and your sanity intact.

1. Switch from Retin-A, retinol or bakuchiol to vitamin C (10 to 15%)

Many of us rely on these ingredients to keep our skin clear and smooth, but unfortunately, retinol, Retin-A and bakuchiol are not pregnancy-safe. Luckily, vitamin C at 10 to 15 percent concentration is a-ok and will bring out that second-trimester glow. First-tri mamas, it’s coming! Stay strong.

2. Avoid all skin-lightening creams with the ingredient hydroquinone

Hydroquinone is an ingredient in many lightening creams that are used to treat melasma, a condition that causes darkened patches on the skin. While melasma is a common side effect of pregnancy, lightening creams with this ingredient are not considered safe. But good news, vitamin C can also be helpful in treating unwanted spots, and even better news, vitamin C is in tons of skincare products these days.

3. Avoid most topical acne medications

During pregnancy, salicylic, glycolic and beta hydroxy acids are out, but azelaic acid is in. Azelaic acid helps treat acne and rosacea and is not known to have adverse effects on mom or baby. For slight breakouts, dabbing toothpaste on your pimples might also do the trick.

4. Don’t use chemical hair removal productsProducts like Nair are not safe during pregnancy. Luckily, there are a variety of alternatives to removing body hair like tweezing, shaving, waxing and threading. You could also go full Harry and the Hendersons and grow it all out —full support!

5. Switch to mineral-based sunscreen

Mineral-based sunscreens that contain zinc and titanium as the active ingredients are not absorbed into the skin, and thus safer for pregnancy.

6. Avoid Essential Oils, Both Topically and in a Diffuser

The safety of essential oils during pregnancy is a controversial subject. Some sing their praises, while others warn you’ll go into labor at first sniff. However, essential oils do pose a toxicity risk if over-consumed, and the list of harmful varieties exceeds the safe ones. That said, we recommend erring on the side of caution and retiring your diffuser for the duration of your pregnancy (you can store it next to your wine).

7. Avoid topical CBD products

CBD is all the rage, and for good reason, but not enough research has been done on the safety of CBD during pregnancy. CBD stays in the bloodstream for two to five days, which can potentially cross the placenta. So store your CBD balm next to your essential oil diffuser and your wine, then use them for a well-deserved self-care session down the road.


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