For most expectant mothers being pregnant brings out an inner glow. For other mothers however, pregnancy can be filled with changes to their skin.
Acne, rosacea, wrinkles and skin discolorations are among the most common issues that many women will deal with during pregnancy. By using the right ingredients and avoiding others that can be harmful to your baby, moms can safely regain the luminescent skin they desire.
Cosmetics Cop Paula Begoun spoke with Seattle dermatologist—and new Mom—Dr. Heather Rogers to get the facts on which skin-care products are safe to use.
Acne during pregnancy:
- Consider exfoliating with an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) product and/or having a series of AHA peels instead of using salicylic acid.
- Instead of benzoyl peroxide, ask your physician for a prescription topical antibiotic, such as erythromycin or clindamycin, both of which are considered safe for use during pregnancy.
- Azelaic acid (brand name Azelex) is another prescription option for acne that is considered safe to use during pregnancy.
Rosacea during pregnancy:
- Metronidazole (the active ingredient in MetroCream and Lotion) is considered safe for use during pregnancy.
- Azelaic acid can help with acne and discolorations, but some find it effective for controlling symptoms of rosacea, too. It is safe for use during pregnancy.
- A gentle mineral sunscreen with titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide is advised for those with rosacea, whether they’re pregnant or not.
Anti-aging/wrinkles during pregnancy:
- Avoid prescription retinoids (e.g., Renova, Retin-A, Differin, Tazorac, and generic tretinoin) and over-the-counter products with retinol.
- There is no documented concern about common “cosmeceutical” ingredients (such as vitamin C, niacinamide, or peptides) being used during pregnancy.
- In-office treatments, such as a series of AHA peels and microdermabrasion, are generally fine during pregnancy. Discuss with your doctor the safety of intense pulsed light or laser treatments during pregnancy.
- Ongoing use of skin-care products loaded with antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients is highly recommended.
Skin discolorations (hyperpigmentation) during pregnancy:
- Apply a physical (“mineral”) sunscreen whose active ingredients are titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide, and make sure it is rated SPF 15 or greater. Note that many foundations and pressed powders with sunscreen contain these gentle active ingredients. You must apply sunscreen daily, rain or shine, and apply it liberally!
- Use an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) exfoliant daily or consider a series of AHA peels from your dermatologist.
- Consider using a product with hydroquinone during your third trimester (make sure to get your physician’s OK), but only a few times per week.
- Talk to your physician about a prescription azelaic acid product (such as Azelex). This drug is considered safe for use during pregnancy and can be effective for treating hyperpigmentation.
Although the information above isn’t meant to be exhaustive, it should give you a clear idea of what’s OK to use during pregnancy and what should be avoided. Most important, you can achieve your skin-care goals during pregnancy, and that’s sure to put your mind at ease!