Pregnancy Safe Skincare:  Help your Skin Thrive into Parenthood

Pregnancy Safe Skincare: Help your Skin Thrive into Parenthood

With Mary Krempa, RN, DNC, CANS at Bay Area Cosmetic Dermatology


Anyone who has ever carried a child will always remember the moment when they first found out they were pregnant.

The joy, the anxiety, the research, the planning, and the feeling that everything is about to change forever.

Luckily, Bay Area Cosmetic Dermatology knows how to help your skin thrive during this transition and recover quickly from this life-altering experience. 

Pregnancy affects every organ in your body to do what, according to an article published in 2019 by Science Advances, is the equivalent of running an ultramarathon. Maternal blood volume increases 30-50% causing increased facial redness; increased relaxin hormone levels cause joints to loosen and a loss of muscle tone in the esophagus causing increased GERD; and increased progesterone can trigger melasma and acne in the skin. These pregnancy-related skin changes combined with alterations in your skin care regimen can take a toll over 9 months.

What Skincare is Pregnancy Safe?

Our biggest skincare concern when our patients are either trying to conceive or have found out they are pregnant is to make sure they are using "pregnancy safe products." Unfortunately, an online resource that easily checks the safety of a skincare product does not currently exist. However, our board-certified Dermatologists have the latest data on what skincare to avoid, alternatives, and best practices during pregnancy. 

As a rule of thumb, if you are unclear about the safety of a specific ingredient for any personal health concerns, we recommend that you check with your OBGYN. Our recommendations do not automatically indicate the specific ingredient is harmful to you or your newborn baby. It's helpful to remember that many topical ingredients simply aren’t tested on pregnant women so we recommend avoiding them. 

However, our BACD Dermatologist or your OBGYN might deem a particular product that is on this list safe for specific conditions during specific phases of your pregnancy. If you are unsure about a product, we suggest you stop using it and reach out to us or your OBGYN.

 

Skincare to Avoid

Skin Concerns Associated with Stopping

Replacement Product Options

Tretinoin, Retinol, or Retinoic Acid

Acne, fine lines, wrinkles, increased pore size

Kiwi Derma Device with BACD Sulfur Wash

BACD Lactic Acid

Skinceuticals Retexturizing Activator

Hydroquinone

Melasma, brown spots

BACD Azelaic Cream

Topical Tranexamic Acid

Melasma, brown spots

BACD Azelaic Cream

Human Derived Growth Factor Products (Skin Medica TNS Serum or Plated)

Fine lines, redness, wrinkles, increased pore size, acne scars

Plant Derived Growth Factor (Neocutis BioSerum)

Stronger than 2% Salicylic Acid

Acne, increased pore size

SkinCeuticals Simply Clean Wash, BACD Lactic Acid

 

Here is an ideal skin care routine that helps treat and prevent acne and melasma, as well as being very anti-aging:

AM

PM

SkinCeuticals Simply Clean Wash or Obagi Foaming Cleanser

BACD Sulfur Wash used with Foreo Kiwi Derma Device (only use device 1x weekly)

Neocutis Bioserum

Neocutis Bioserum

BACD Azelaic Cream

Skinceuticals Retexturizing Activator

Day Moisturizer (Choices Skin Medica HA5, Skin Better Trio, Obagi Rebalance, Neocutis Biogel Firm)

BACD Azelaic Cream

Sunscreen (Choices: Alastin Hydratint Pro Mineral, ISDN, Tizo, Colorscience Total Protection No-Show Mineral Sunscreen, Skin Medica Total Defense and Repair)

Night Moisturizer (Choices: Neocutis Biocream  Firm, Skin Better Trio Luxe, BACD Lipid Repair Cream, Obagi Hydrate luxe, Skinceuticals Triple Lipid Restore)

 

Quality skincare is essential for healthy, beautiful skin like toothbrushing is to healthy teeth. Similar to regular deep teeth cleanings as an important part of dental health, Microdermabrasion Facials (Hydrafacial, Diamond Glow) deeply exfoliate, clean, and hydrate skin. Most of our pregnant patients find Microdermabrasion every 6-12 weeks during their pregnancy helps reduce acne breakouts as well as makes an ongoing difference in their skin postpartum.

With the increased blood volume and vascularity, facial redness can go beyond a rosy, pregnancy glow. This vascularity can also be a contributing factor for melasma. Laser genesis gently and painlessly treats background redness, builds collagen, and helps with pore size without any downtime. Patients typically come in for treatments every 4-8 weeks for redness throughout their pregnancy.

At home we recommend the MMSphere2Go with the red light setting for redness 20 minutes at least 3 days per week. This highly rated LED light device decreases inflammation to help minimize redness, melasma, and acne.

What about Stretch Marks?

A top concern of our pregnant patients is how to care for their stomachs to prevent laxity and stretch marks. We recommend applying BACD Elite Glycolic Body Lotion after showering and Alastin TransForm Body Treatment twice a day to the abdomen during pregnancy.

We have seen wonderful results with the use of this combo during and after pregnancy; however, it's important to keep in mind that some laxity and stretch marks cannot be completely prevented, just reduced. 

Skin Care After Birth (postpartum) and While Breastfeeding

Most products are deemed safe for use during breastfeeding, but like pregnancy, not every product has been studied. We recommend that you continue your pregnancy skincare routine during breastfeeding until you confirm with one of our providers or your OBGYN the safety of your usual products. After giving birth, it is best to book a cosmetic consultation with one of our providers to make a treatment plan. Between our collagen building, pigment evening, and body treatment procedures, we have a lot of options to help you recover and feel like yourself.

As your body recovers from pregnancy, Nutrafol Postpartum supplements treat postpartum hair loss, nutrition depletion, physical and emotional stress, and hormonal changes. Nutrafol's Postparum formula is OBGYN developed and safe to use during breastfeeding. We recommend taking this supplement while breastfeeding and at least through the first year after giving birth to help support hair growth and prevent shedding.  

 

Pregnancy and birth can cause vulvar and vaginal changes as well.

We recommend using the CO2Lift V starting as early as 3 months postpartum to help your vulva and vagina recover. CO2Lift V uses carboxy gel to bring blood flow to the vagina and vulva speeding up healing, increasing lubrication, and sensation.  We recommend using 1 treatment every night for 3 nights and then 1 treatment once per week for 2 weeks.

Read more about my personal experience with CO2Lift after I had my baby! 

 

We Love Being a Part of your Journey

As medical professionals dedicated to your well-being, we feel privileged to join you on your pregnancy journey. Your trust in us is deeply valued, and nothing brings us more joy than witnessing your radiant growth during this transformative time. We're here to offer support, guidance, and safe skincare recommendations every step of the way. Together, let's nurture both your health and the beautiful life you're creating.

 


1 Price, Michael. 6/5/2019. “Study of marathon runners reveals a ‘hard limit' on human endurance. Pregnancy is as metabolically taxing as an ultramarathon.” Retrieved 5/2024 from
https://www.science.org/content/article/study-marathon-runners-reveals-hard-limit-human-endurance
2 Mayo Clinic Staff. 8/10/2023. ”Heart Conditions and Pregnancy: Know the Risk.” Retrieved 5/2024 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy/art-20045977
3 Kepley, John et al. “Physiology, Maternal Changes.” StatPearls. 3/12/2023. Retrieved 5/2024 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK539766/
4 Cleveland Clinic. 10/17/2022. “Relaxin.” Retrieved 5/2024 from
https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/24305-relaxin