One of the things I struggled with most during pregnancy was acne. Deep, cystic acne that really hurt. Which didn’t seem fair when added to my very swollen ankles and 24/7 nausea. It was also difficult for me to find safe skincare to use during my pregnancy. So, here is some information to consider when it comes to safe skincare, and as always, double check with your healthcare provider if you’re concerned about any product you’re using.
Products/Procedures to Avoid
Retinoids are a type of vitamin A that are meant to help prevent acne, wrinkles and other skin issues. Which you’d think would be great during pregnancy, but they can actually be harmful. Oral retinoids (like Accutane) have been found to cause birth defects. And, while there’s no evidence that topical retinoids have the same result, most doctors will recommend that you avoid them entirely, just to be safe. If you don’t want to use topical retinoids, avoid the following:
- Avage, Fabior, Tazorac (Tazarotene)
- Avita (Tretinoin)
- Differin (Adapelene)
- Panretin (Alitretinoin)
- Retin-A, Renova (Tretinoin)
- Retinoic acid
- Retinyl linoleate
- Retinyl palmitate
- Targretin gel (Bexarotene)
Cosmetic and/or Laser Procedures
Doctors advise that you avoid procedures like Botox, Dysport, or fillers of any kind. You should also avoid invasive laser treatments. Because there have been no studies about the impacts of these procedures on pregnancy, most health care professionals will encourage you to avoid the unnecessary risk to your unborn child.
Prescription Strength Acne Medications
In general, you should avoid the following acne treatment medications during your pregnancy:
- Doxycycline (generic names: Oracea, Vibramycin, Doza, Atridox)
- Minocycline (generic names: Dyancin, Minocin, Solodyne, Myrac)
- Spironolactone (generic name: Aldactone)
- Tetracycline (generic names: Sumycin, Actisite, Panmycin)
- Isotretinoin (generic names: Accutane, Amnesteem)
- Tazorotone (genenric names: Tazorac, Avage)
These medications all fall under the FDA’s “X” category for pregnancy. Which you can read more about here.
Products to Try
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
While it’s true that most non-prescription products found at your local drugstore are safe to use during pregnancy, using an AHA is your safest bet. Glycolic acid is the most common AHA, and is derived from sugar cane. Even though it’s considered the most effective product to use for pregnancy skincare, it’s still a good idea to make sure that you’re not using too much, or at too high of a concentration. Typically, products with a 10% or less concentration are safe to use. But don’t be afraid to consult your OB or Dermatologist if you’re unsure.
Eliminating the amount of chemicals you’re exposing your skin to can also be helpful during pregnancy. Two of the brands that come up most often are Eminence and Juice Beauty. Both brands depend on plant-based ingredients that have not been treated with pesticides or other chemicals. No parabens, synthetic fragrances or artificial dyes are used, which is a bonus for your skin. Sometimes all you need are high-quality products with fewer ingredients. You can also ask your dermatologist for her recommendations.
At the end of the day, you might have to fight a bit of a battle with your skin to get your baby here. I know I did, but I felt at peace about the decisions I made for myself and my baby. And you will too! Luckily, technology and products are being developed every day that help provide help and relief. Remember to listen to your mama instinct, and never hesitate to consult an expert!