Pregnancy Safe Skincare

Thankfully, most skin care and beauty products are safe for pregnancy (with the exception of some retinoids and Vitamin A). That said, it’s essential to weed out ingredients that could be harmful.

Salicylic acid may absorb into the bloodstream and is a no-no, as is benzoyl peroxide and retinol (both of which reside in FDA category C). Experts like Casey favor pregnancy-safe exfoliants with lactic or glycolic acids, plus brighteners like azelaic acid.


Many women are unaware that what they put on their skin can impact their fetus, making it crucial to understand pregnancy safe skincare. Even the most straightforward routine may need an overhaul to avoid ingredients that could cause unfavorable changes in the skin. Fortunately, the vast majority of products are safe to use, although it is best to consult with a dermatologist and OB/GYN for more information about specific concerns.

During pregnancy, the immune system undergoes significant adaptations to support the developing fetus, which can make it more susceptible to infections and environmental stressors. For this reason, it is important to prioritize a pregnancy safe skincare regimen that includes a gentle cleanser, mineral sunscreen, and moisturizing cream. Additionally, you should try to minimize the presence of allergens and irritants such as fragrances, artificial dyes, parabens, and phthalates that can disrupt hormones and lead to other health issues.

Sunscreens should include a minimum of SPF 30 and be free of oxybenzone, octocrylene, and octinoxate, which are chemicals that can damage the skin and potentially disrupt the hormone balance. In addition, you should look for a serum with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C to hydrate and brighten the skin. You should also avoid retinoids, high percentages of salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide, which have been shown to interfere with the development of the fetus.


As you start to build your pregnancy safe skincare arsenal, look for a face moisturizer that hydrates and protects without the ingredients that are a no-go during pregnancy. Dermatologists Divya Shokeen and Lauren Penzi both recommend steering clear of products that contain retinoids, hydroquinone and any other ingredient in the category C (unproven to be safe), as well as those with fragrance or essential oils that are a no-go for pregnant women (helichrysum, camphor, sage).

Fortunately, there are plenty of options out there, from simple Vaseline and Aquaphor to nourishing facial moisturizers that use skin-kind ingredients such as shea butter and hyaluronic acid, as well as those with added benefits like restorative lipids, amino acids and prebiotics. Vitamin C serums are also generally considered pregnancy-safe, but steer clear of high levels of salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, both of which have been linked to congenital malformations.

For those with acne-prone, aging or sensitive skin, there are a range of options as well, including gentle cleansers that are free from irritants and parabens (Dr Sam’s Flawless Cleanser is one such option) as well as exfoliating pads that are pregnancy and breastfeeding-safe. STUNN Collective’s face pads, for example, are formulated with Pregnancy safe skincare products AHAs and BHAs to brighten skin and fight visible signs of aging without any harsh chemicals or ingredients that might be harmful during pregnancy.

Eye Creams

Despite their reputation for targeting fine lines and puffiness, eye creams are actually best used to protect the delicate skin around your eyes. Using pregnancy safe products that contain ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and peptides, can help to keep your eyes hydrated and minimize signs of aging and environmental damage.

Expecting mothers often have to be very selective about the products they use for their skin, as there are a number of common skincare ingredients that have been linked with potential harm to both mother and baby. Retinoids are one such ingredient that skin care company is typically avoided during pregnancy, along with oxybenzone, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, hydroquinone, some essential oils and certain fragrances.

While breastfeeding is less concerning in terms of avoiding potentially harmful ingredients, it’s still wise to exercise caution since a significant amount of what you apply topically will eventually make its way into your breast milk. To avoid this, opt for natural and organic skincare and makeup products that are labeled as fragrance-free, and consider switching to mineral makeup lines.

Overall, I recommend sticking to a basic routine that can work throughout your pregnancy and then adding in special treatments that address any specific concerns that come up. You might need to switch between products depending on what your OB recommends and the unique hormonal fluctuations you may experience (for example, some women might get a flare-up of acne or melasma during certain trimesters). A beauty pro can also help you narrow down pregnancy safe skincare options that will work for you.


There’s no one size fits all pregnancy skincare routine, but most expectant moms-to-be can agree on a few key essentials to help keep skin soft and happy. That means daily sunscreen and moisturizers, as well as a serum or two that address specific concerns like acne and signs of aging.

Melasma is a common skin pigmentation issue that can occur during pregnancy or shortly after birth, and the most effective products for treating and preventing it are those with high levels of vitamin C. For this, we recommend Revision Skincare’s blockbuster C+ Correcting Serum Complex 30%, which blocks melanin formation at the molecular level to prevent pigmentation spots from forming.

Dryness is another pregnancy-related skin concern that many women struggle with, and it’s also a common cause for breakouts. To soothe and hydrate, consider adding a serum containing hyaluronic acid to your pregnancy safe routine. It’s an ingredient that’s proven to increase moisture content in the skin, as well as improve the appearance of wrinkles by plumping out skin cells.

The good news is that most skin care ingredients and products don’t need to go through the same approval process as pharmaceuticals, so most over-the-counter options are considered pregnancy-safe. Just be sure to avoid products containing salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or other potentially harmful ingredients such as retinols.