Skincare Ingredients to Avoid While Pregnant and Nursing

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As an esthetician it is important to me to help women understand what skincare ingredients you should avoid while pregnant or nursing, to ensure the health of your skin and the safety of your baby.

When pregnant there are quite a few things that we must alter in our lifestyles in order to be as safe as possible while growing a human, or post pregnancy while nursing. One of those changes you should be conscious of is your skincare regimen.

There are a few common skincare concerns that often arise during pregnancy as hormones shift and lead to changes within the skin. This may lead you to searching for products to help you treat concerns like acne or hyperpigmentation and it can be confusing what products are safe for use while pregnant or nursing.

Use Caution with Active Products: Pay extra attention when using products containing ingredients like hydroquinone and vitamin A.

Salicylic acid has been one ingredient in the past that has been recommended to stay away from while pregnant or nursing, but it is mainly high concentrations of salicylic that you want to stay away from. This includes in chemical peels and oral salicylic acid (aspirin). Skincare products containing lower concentrations of salicylic are generally safe, but if you are concerned you can always ask your doctor about using topical salicylic. Other AHA’s are completely fine in low concentrations as well.

Skincare Ingredients to Avoid While Pregnant

Retinoids or vitamin A derivatives should be avoided all together. High concentrations of vitamin A have been linked to birth defects; therefore, it is recommended that pregnant and nursing women stay away from retinoids completely. 

Hydroquinone is an obvious one to avoid whenever possible especially while pregnant or nursing, as it is a known carcinogenic (cancer- causing) ingredient. Benzoyl peroxide is a bit of a controversial one. It can be okay at lower concentrations but is best to consult with your doctor to be sure. Learn more about hydroquinone alternatives to treating melasma and hyperpigmentation. 

Avoid Toxic Chemical ingredients:  Avoid harsh chemicals like sodium lauryl sulfate, fragrance and chemical sunscreen ingredients.

While you are pregnant, you should treat your skin as though you have sensitive skin and avoid ingredients that can cause irritation in sensitive skin. These ingredients include sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, fragrance, phthalates, parabens and chemical sunscreen ingredients like avobenzone, octisalate, oxybenzone etc. Learn more here on additional ingredients to avoid.

Pregnancy Safe Skincare Ingredients to Use

It is best to stick with a 100% mineral based SPF during this time, as chemical sunscreen ingredients are known endocrine disruptors and can negatively impact hormones and potentially lead to health concerns for you and your baby. Look for ingredients like Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide.

Read more for what ingredients to incorporate during pregnancy or nursing. To be sure that your skincare is safe during pregnancy or nursing you can do a complimentary skincare consultation with a Pomp Esthetician like myself.

Nicole Hatfield
NBC HWC & Certified Esthetician, Founder of Radiant Beings Wellness & Beauty Coaching