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Pregnancy Skincare

Pregnancy Skincare

Pregnancy Skincare

Pregnancy Skincare

The most common comment to a newly pregnant mother is the sweet and kind, “You’re glowing!” But many expectant mothers or veteran moms will tell you that behind the glow of excitement and baby love is something else – namely, acne reminiscent of our angsty teenage days. 

Acne breakouts are most common during the first and/or second trimesters of pregnancy and are due to an increase in hormones in the body causing the glands in your skin to grow, producing more sebum (an oily, wax-like substance). As a result, pores are clogged up, which may lead to increased bacteria, and then to inflammation and break-through patches of acne. Of course, some women are more affected than others, but overall more women experience this than don’t. And the most likely women to experience this in pregnancy are those who also experience acne breakouts during their menstrual periods. 

Pregnancy Skincare: What to Avoid

Topical skincare and acne treatments are what most of us use day-to-day, and the good news for expecting mothers is that most of these products remain to be pregnancy safe skin care to use with the exception of two: retinoids and hydroquinone. 

Pregnancy Skincare

Courtesy of the American Academy of Dermatology

  1. Avoid Retinoids

Topical retinoids (also referred to as tretinoins) are common in the skincare industry and are a type of Vitamin A. This vitamin is known for preventing the breakdown of your skin’s collagen and increasing the rejuvenation and renewal of the skin. While risk and absorption are low, there have been documented cases of harmful development effects during pregnancy, and as such, experts recommend avoiding these topical treatments during pregnancy.

  1. Avoid Hydroquinone

This agent is primarily found in skin-lightening products, and many studies, like this one with the National Institute of Health, found that anywhere between 35%-45% of this substance is absorbed through the skin and may result in harm and malformation of the fetus.

Pregnancy Safe Skin Care: Safe Skincare Products

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, the following have been deemed safe to use during your pregnancy, but always check with your dermatologist before use.


  1. Azelaic Acid

This is thought to be a pregnancy safe skin care product. In animal studies, researchers haven’t seen birth defects.

  1. Benzoyl Peroxide 

Often found in acne treatment you can buy without a prescription, experts say it’s safe to use in limited amounts. For this reason, you should talk with your obstetrician or dermatologist before using it while you’re pregnant.

  1. Dapsone (brand name, Aczone®)

In animal studies, this medication hasn’t caused birth defects. While that’s great news, this is a newer acne treatment with limited additional studies. As a result, experts recommend that doctors be very cautious when they prescribe dapsone to women who are pregnant.

  1. Laser and Light Therapies

Lasers have been used to safely treat medical conditions in women who are pregnant. As such, lasers are considered relatively safe for women who are pregnant. However, if you are considering using a laser or light treatment for your acne while pregnant, please make an appointment to see a dermatologist first. There are many different types of lasers and light treatments, and some require a numbing solution or medicine, which could affect your baby.

  1. Salicylic Acid

Often found in acne treatment you can buy without a prescription, salicylic acid is generally considered safe when used for a limited time. For this reason, you should talk with your obstetrician or dermatologist before using it as your pregnancy skincare.

Contact us today to learn more about what expecting mothers should try to avoid and what are the best products they can use during their pregnancy. Offices at the Laser Lipo & Vein Center are always available and there to help!


Pina Bozzo, Angela Chua-Gocheco, MD, and Adrienne Einarson, RN.. Safety of skincare products during pregnancy. Can Fam Physician. 2011;57(6):665-667.

Acne can put a damper on hopes of glowing skin during pregnancy. (2014).

Chien AL, Qi J, et al. “Treatment of acne in pregnancy.” J Am Board Fam Med. 2016;29(2):254-62.

Murase JE, Heller MM, et al. “Safety of dermatologic medications in pregnancy and lactation Part I. Pregnancy.” J Am Acad Dermatol 2014;70:401.e1-14.