Baby Safe Skincare Tips
The aim is to maintain healthy, soothed, nourished skin during pregnancy, all while keeping baby away from harmful chemicals. Pregnancy skincare should not feel overwhelming. There are lots of natural, safe alternative skincare ingredients that deliver great results without the toxins.
Skincare Tips During Pregnancy
So where to start: What skin changes are normal? Which skincare ingredients to avoid during pregnancy? Which are safe to use? And how do I keep it simple?
Here’s a look at the most common pregnancy skincare concerns—keeping baby safe and your skin healthy.
Pregnancy Skin Glow
For many of us our pregnancy skin is the best skin we’ve ever had, it’s the ‘pregnancy glow.’ This is because blood circulation in our skin increases dramatically, leaving our skin nourished and brighter. There are also some other less welcome changes to our skin. Here are some skin care tips to get you through these changes:
- Acne During Pregnancy
- Hyperpigmentation (melasma)
- Psoriasis and Eczema
- Stretch Marks & Polymorphic Eruptions of Pregnancy (PEP)
- Skin Tags
Acne During Pregnancy
Dramatic hormonal changes can bring on acne. It’s most common in the first and second trimesters when your body starts producing androgens. These hormones increase sebum production (the natural moisturiser coating your skin.) This can then cause blocked pores, pimples, infection and inflammation (acne.) The good news is acne often improves later in the pregnancy.
Treating Acne During Pregnancy
If you develop severe acne it’s best to get professional medical advice before starting any treatment. There are common over the counter acne ingredients that you should avoid during pregnancy. These ingredients have been listed as unsafe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Pregnancy Acne and Anti-Aging Ingredients to Avoid
The three main ingredients in most acne creams and in many anti-aging treatments to avoid are:
Retinoids also commonly listed as:
- Differin (adapelene)
- Retin-A, Renova (tretinoin)
- Retinoic acid
- Retinyl linoleate
- Retinyl palmitate
- Tazorac and avage (Tazarotene)
- Vitamin A
Benzoyl Peroxide is common in most acne treatments.
Safe Acne Skin Care During Pregnancy
There are safe alternatives. They usually contain Rosehip oil which has a naturally occurring Vitamin A (trentinoin or all-trans retinoic acid). The natural Vitamin A found in Rosehip oil is a safe alternative to the stronger synthetics formulas during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Mild natural ingredients for treating acne during pregnancy:
- Aloe Vera has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties.
- Zinc kills acne causing bacteria. As an alternative to antibiotics, it has the bonus that your body won’t develop a resistance to it.
- Tea Tree oil is antiseptic and anti-fungal, so helps control bacteria. It can be as effective as benzoyl peroxide, but safe during pregnancy.
- White Willow Bark is a milder alternative to synthetic salicylic acid, white willow bark is a natural exfoliant that clears pore of dead skin cells that lead to breakouts.
- Vitamin C: Topical vitamin C reduces inflammation by inhibiting the chemicals that trigger it. It also helps skin healing and discoloration or hyperpigmentation that comes with acne scarring.
Hyperpigmentation or ‘Pregnancy Mask’
Hyperpigmentation is very common during pregnancy. It’s usually greyish or brown patches on your face caused by an increase of melanin in the epidermis or dermis layers of your skin.
Again, this is due to dramatic increases in estrogen, progesterone and other hormones. As with acne, the good news is that it usually fades after pregnancy. The challenge is finding ways to manage it during this period that are safe, gentle and show results.
Wear Sunblock to Prevent ‘Pregnancy Mask’
The best way to reduce the appearance of a ‘pregnancy mask’ or melasma is to wear SPF protection every day, even in winter or while in the office (UV rays penetrate most office windows.) Avoid sunbathing as your skin will burn more easily, basically try not to stay out in the sun for long periods without protection.
Natural Skin Brighteners
If treating hyperpigmentation during your pregnancy avoid hydroquinonea, a common ingredient found in skin brightening/lightening creams. It’s not safe during pregnancy. Look instead for more gentle ingredients like Vitamin A made from carrots (and safe during pregnancy) and Vitamin C.
Skin Rash During Pregnancy
As your body goes through all its hormonal changes during pregnancy some existing skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema may get worse or they may actually improve. It’s also possible to develop these skin conditions for the very first time during pregnancy.
Itchy Skin During Pregnancy
Skin conditions like eczema during pregnancy can be severe. There’s the constant itching, inflamed bumps or infected blisters. This cycle of constant dryness, itch, bumps and infection can play havoc on sleep and lead to anxiety.
Dry Skin in Pregnancy and Stretchmarks
Stretchmarks are basically a slight tear or stretch of the dermis layer of our skin. It’s caused by the skin expanding quickly. Stretchmarks are harmless but can itch and irritate. The best relief for itchy skin during pregnancy comes from moisturising, the richer the better. Oils – especially after a bath, are perfect. They glide over skin and cover those hard to see or reach places.
Polymorphic Eruptions of Pregnancy (PEP)
Polymorphic eruption of pregnancy or PEP is where stretch marks (usually near the abdomen) react to becoming increasingly stretched (usually in the last 3 months of the pregnancy) and develop into a red itchy, bumpy rash. It usually resolves with delivery but can be very uncomfortable. Like eczema it benefits from constant moisturising.
Relief for Itchy Skin During Pregnancy
The quickest relief for itchy skin is moisturising. This needs to happen regularly, about three times a day. It’s important not to further irritate the skin, especially if it’s blistered, with heavy fragrances. Chemical and fragrant free natural oils work well. Some like jojoba have the added benefit of being naturally:
- Antibacterial – helps fight infection
- Antiviral – oil helps smother viruses
- Analgesic – to reduce pain and sensitivity
- Anti-inflammatory – reduces swelling
- Hypoallergenic – won’t irritate sensitive skin
Skin Tags During Pregnancy
Skin tags are completely harmless. They are basically tiny pieces of hanging skin that develop where skin is rubbed, in areas like your neck, underarms, under the breasts. You may find they increase during pregnancy and breast feeding because of hormonal changes.
Skin tags that appear during pregnancy can be easily removed in a routine office visit to your dermatologist.
Skin Care for Pregnancy
This is a simple plan on how to take care of your skin during pregnancy and beyond. Remember to avoid skin care ranges that contain ingredients that aren’t considered safe, and instead look for milder, pregnancy safe alternatives, like natural Vitamin A derived from carrots.
- Gentle Cleanse (only if skin has become oily overnight)
- Apply sun protection. Use SPF protection every day, even in winter to avoid hyperpigmentation or a ‘pregnancy mask’.
A SPF moisturiser with zinc will protect skin and combat acne causing bacteria at the same time.
- Gentle Cleanse. Removes dirt, bacteria, sweat and make-up
- Moisturise: Look for pregnancy safe natural anti-aging, anti-pigmentation formulas with ingredients like rosehip, natural oils (jojoba, buriti, argan are all great skin nourishers) or carrot derived Vitamin A.
For Pregnancy Acne Spots
Target Spots or Acne Clusters. Look for very gentle formulas with no Benzoyl Peroxide to gently draw out oil and impurities
Super Gentle Exfoliation. This is important for removing dead skin cells and reducing the look of hyperpigmentation.
Safe Skin Care During Pregnancy
With a few simple changes to your skincare range you’ll be secure that both you and baby are safe from dangerous ingredients while still pampering, nourishing and protecting your skin.
A message from our Co-Founder Vicki:
Pure jojoba is fantastic for pregnancy. In fact, when I was pregnant, my naturopath told me it was the only safe thing to put onto my pregnant belly to hydrate and help prevent stretch marks and she also said it would be perfect for my baby when he was born. Jojoba is hypoallergenic so it can be used by anyone of any age and any skin type and is very beneficial for pregnant ladies. The pure jojoba would be perfect to keep your skin soft as Jojoba is a fantastic hydrator and will give the skin 24 hour hydration and will moisturise to a deeper level than any other natural product.
Jojoba is not an oil, it is a liquid wax almost identical to the wax our own skin produces so skin recognises it as its own and lets it in to nourish, hydrate and heal the skin.
If you were interested in the rest of our skin care range, it is all very safe for pregnancy. It is recommended to avoid essential oils in pregnancy in concentrations larger than 3%. Essential oils in our products are all in concentrations of 1% or less and we don’t use essential oils such as clary sage or rosemary which are not recommended in pregnancy. The other thing to avoid in pregnancy is synthetic Vitamin A. Too much vitamin A in pregnancy is not good. The natural form is fine, it is the retinol form that needs to be measured.
You must try our beautiful natural baby oil when your baby is born (it is good for mums too even during pregnancy!).
Congratulations on your pregnancy and best wishes as you approach the time when you will meet your little bundle of joy!
Note: please always seek advice from your medical practitioner.