Pregnancy is a profound time for many women but, for some mothers-to-be, it can all too easily be clouded by confusion. Guidance on what to do and what to avoid during pregnancy can be overwhelming and disempowering – particularly where skincare routines are concerned.
The ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ surrounding this topic can leave mothers feeling anxious about certain products and ingredients, leading them to believe they must sacrifice the efficacy of their skincare.
Although there are certain ingredients you should avoid, we assure you that there is no need to compromise on the results. In fact, there’s no better time to invest in high-quality products and curate a routine that helps you look and feel your best.
In this article you’ll find six simple tips to help you compile your pregnancy skincare routine with confidence…
PURE AND SIMPLE
Due to the hormonal fluctuations that occur during pregnancy, skin can feel more sensitive and easily irritated. It’s therefore advised that pregnant women stick to organic, paraben-free skincare products. When 111SKIN co-founder, Eva Alexandridis was pregnant with her second child, she made sure the brand developed an anti-ageing range with no unnecessary additives.
“When I was pregnant, I still wanted to use effective anti-ageing products. Then we formulated the Reparative collection, which is silicon and paraben-free. I believe in the power of simple, yet effective formulas” - EVA ALEXANDRIDIS, 111SKIN Co-Founder
Pregnancy can trigger a form of hyperpigmentation known as melasma. This is due to hormonal changes within the body which can also result in excessive sebum production. It’s therefore important to exfoliate your skin during pregnancy in order to promote an even complexion.
Poly-Hydroxy Acids (also known as PHAs) are the ideal cosmetic exfoliant to use during pregnancy. Due to their larger molecule size, they don’t penetrate the skin as deeply as AHAs or BHAs, making them a gentler exfoliant – perfect for pregnant skin.
NOTE: Some pregnant women choose to continue using BHAs and AHAs while pregnant, but we recommend seeking the advice of your doctor or midwife before doing so.
KNOW YOUR DOSAGE
Always pay attention to dosages in products. Certain actives are considered safe at specific concentrations. For example, if you suffer with pregnancy-induced acne, Benzoyl Peroxide is safe to use at 5% concentrations or lower.
Salicylic Acid is also safe to use when pregnant at a concentration of 2% or less. However, it should only be applied as a localised spot treatment. Avoid using across your entire face.
If you’re looking to brighten your complexion, creams containing Glycolic Acid and Vitamin C at less than 10% concentrations are perfectly safe to use and will help improve skin radiance.
UNDERSTANDING ESSENTIAL OILS
Essential oils are an effective holistic treatment for many ailments thank to their calming, regenerative quality. However, using them while pregnant can cause problems – especially in the first trimester when your baby is undergoing key developmental milestones.
Should you wish to incorporate essential oils into your routine at any stage during pregnancy, you should always consult your doctor first. The concern around certain essential oils – such as Wormwood, Rue and Aniseed – is due to lack of research around their safety during pregnancy, and the risk of toxicity.
Our advice when using essential oils during pregnancy is to focus on aromatherapy as opposed to ingestion or topical application. You can apply essential oils topically, but you should dilute them beforehand with a carrier oil such as Jojoba or Coconut Oil.
You should also only ever use high-quality, therapeutic-grade essential oils from a reputable provider. The best products will be 100% plant derived and won’t contain any fillers or by-products.
A POINT ON PIGMENTATION
Due to hormonal fluctuations, skin is far more prone to hyperpigmentation during pregnancy. If you experience symptoms of melasma, use a PHA-based exfoliant to treat the affected area. Avoid skincare that contains Citric Acid, Bergamot, Dill and Fennel as these ingredients can cause irritation and trigger pigmentation issues.
Skin is also more sensitive to sun exposure, so wearing a high-spectrum, high-strength SPF (at least 30, but ideally 50), and reapplying it regularly is vital. Opt for an oil-free, non-comedogenic formula in order to avoid causing breakouts. Reapply every two hours to ensure full protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays.
THINGS TO AVOID COMPLETELY
Although there are many skincare ingredients that are safe at certain concentrations, or when using a particular application method, there are a few things you should steer completely clear of.
Remove retinoids – AKA Vitamin A, or Retinol – from your routine. In the worse cases, they can cause risk congenital malformations so it’s best to be safe and steer clear.
Avoid formulas containing Arbutin, Kojic Acid and Hydroquinone. These can cause and exacerbate symptoms of hyperpigmentation.
During pregnancy, it’s best to stick to the purest formulas, so look out for Phthalates and synthetic chemicals present in aerosol products like hairsprays and deodorants.
- Replace AHAs with PHAs
- No Retinol or Vitamin A
- Stick to low dosages of active ingredients
- Consult your doctor before using essential oils
- Avoid synthetic formulas