As much as we all love the fantasy of a natural pregnancy glow, the reality of skincare when you’re expecting is far more complicated. Pregnancy comes with complex hormonal changes. You may be among the lucky who can honestly say their skin has never looked better. But if you’re not, you’re likely dealing with brand new skin problems.
To add insult to injury, skincare is like every other aspect of your lifestyle during pregnancy. That is to say, there is a list of do’s and don’ts—products to avoid, products to embrace, and ingredients you’ve never had to worry about before. Goodness knows pregnant women are constantly bombarded with warnings about birth defects, and the world of skincare is no different.
It can be a little overwhelming, but look at this way: all these regulations ultimately give you an excuse to pamper your skin in ways you haven’t before. The rules are quick to learn, so get to know them and embrace them.
Here’s a quick breakdown on how to shop for your skin when you’re cleansing for two.
Skincare for Pregnancy Acne or Oily Skin . . .
If there’s one thing you already know about skincare during pregnancy, it’s probably that you should avoid retinol products. Retinoids show up often in skincare because they encourage cellular turnover. They also promote collagen, which makes retinol a powerful anti-aging ingredient. However, if you’re expecting, you want to steer clear of all retinoids, as they’ve been known to cause birth defects.
Instead, look for all-natural products that contain antioxidants and antibacterial properties to manage pregnancy breakouts. We especially love coconut oil for its lauric acid, which fights acne and inflammation. Not to mention, coconut oil has been known to prevent stretch marks. That’s a win all around, as far as we’re concerned.
If You Have Hyper-Pigmentation . . .
Also called “pregnancy mask,” hyper-pigmentation results from an increase in hormones that stimulate pigment production. The result is melasma, or discolored patches on the face. While hyper-pigmentation typically fades on its own after pregnancy, you may still be looking for a way to tone that melasma down in the meantime.
Many topical solutions include retinol and hydroquinone, both of which are best to avoid during pregnancy. Your best bet is to amp up your sun protection game to avoid even deeper pigmentation. That means hats, sleeves, and lots of SPF. You should also look for plant-based cleansers and toners with ingredients that fight discoloration. Olive oil is a particularly good one.
If You Have Eczema and Dry Skin . . .
Add eczema to the long list of experiences that can make pregnancy feel a little less magical at times. The good news is that it’s perfectly safe to use products containing glycerin when you’re expecting. And glycerin is a heavy-hitter when it comes to moisturizing dry and irritated skin.
Glycerin is a humectant. You don’t have to remember that word, just that it basically means glycerin draws water from the deeper layers of your skin up toward the surface. When used in combination with the occlusive oils and emollients found in plant-based oils, glycerin helps your skin gather moisture from every direction.
If You’re Struggling with Redness During Pregnancy . . .
Did you have any idea that the volume of your blood increases during pregnancy by as much as 100%? If you’re looking a little red in the face these days, it’s no wonder. And if you already deal with rosacea, pregnancy is likely to make those flare-ups worse.
Redness is yet another area where you might have run to retinol in the past. Now that you’re pregnant and have to go retinoid-free, we recommend fighting free-radicals by selecting natural ingredients that are high in antioxidants, such as citric acid. It’s also a good idea to return to those high-moisture, skin-soothing plant-based oils to reduce irritation.
Skincare Products to Avoid During Pregnancy: Anything With Nasty Chemicals
Our last word of advice is to keep chemicals out of your skincare routine. No matter what skincare challenge you’re facing, be sure to choose products that are natural and organic. Not only are chemical ingredients likelier to increase irritation, cause dryness, and irritate your skin, but they also come with harmful side effects ranging from eye irritation to stomach cancer. (Here’s a list of some of the most harmful chemicals in cosmetics.)
Pregnancy may not be the easiest time in your life, but it is undoubtedly special. This is a time to put self-care above all else, a time when you are undeniably entitled to give yourself the very best. While all the cautionary lists may seem overwhelming, consider this one your permission slip to truly pamper yourself with natural, skin-soothing products.
If you’re not sure where to start, we recommend Le Lores’ all-natural soaps and body washes. These products are certified organic, made with plant-based oils, and are made in France, adhering to the EU’s notably high standards for cosmetic products.
You are, after all, cleansing for two. If ever there was a time to set your standards sky-high, this is it.