What Skincare and Beauty Products Should I Avoid During Pregnancy?

You likely know to avoid alcohol and seafood when expecting. But it’s also important to adapt your beauty routine to omit harmful chemicals for both mother and baby. With a new pregnancy beauty care routine, you can ensure that you’re using only kind and gentle products that soothe your face and body. Such products won’t cause harm while they maximise that enviable pregnancy glow.

Discover the best skincare for pregnancy as well as ingredients to avoid while pregnant. You can build an easy but effective beauty routine that adapts to your changing skin.

What Skincare and Beauty Products Should I Avoid During Pregnancy? - pregnant woman sitting on couch looking skincare products. Next to her on the couch are pale pink pillows -  1200 x 800What Skincare and Beauty Products Should I Avoid During Pregnancy? - pregnant woman sitting on couch looking skincare products. Next to her on the couch are pale pink pillows -  1200 x 800

Why Should You Change Your Beauty Routine When Pregnant?

It’s important to alter your beauty care during pregnancy—not only to adapt to your changing skin but also to make sure no nasty chemicals are harming you or your baby. Certain ingredients are known to have detrimental effects on your unborn baby, so knowing the skincare to avoid in pregnancy is paramount.

Skincare Ingredients to Avoid While Pregnant

Understanding the chemicals in beauty products to avoid during pregnancy is a matter of scanning ingredients lists and knowing exactly what to exclude from your beauty routine. But it isn’t just scary chemicals that can cause harm. Essential oils often found in organic and natural beauty products can also be dangerous. So, knowing which ingredients to avoid is important.

Ingredients to avoid during pregnancy:

  • Retin-A, retinol, and retinyl palmitate

  • Salicylic acid

  • Benzoyl peroxide

  • Essential oils, especially tea tree oil and rosemary oil

  • Hydroquinone, commonly found in skin-lightening and pigmentation products

  • Tazorac and Accutane

  • Hair dye

  • Chemical sunscreens

Pregnancy Beauty Products to Avoid

Choosing the right beauty products to avoid harmful ingredients is important. There are certain products you should absolutely cut out of your grooming routine when expecting.

Retinol-Based Products

Vitamin A and retinol derivatives are often found in high-performance serums and skin treatments. These ingredients are known for their fast-acting and dramatic benefits to the skin. They work to increase skin cell turnover and can diminish the appearance of fine lines, pigmentation, and acne. But these powerful ingredients shouldn’t be used during pregnancy, so always avoid any retinol-based skincare products.

Skin Lightening Products

Whitening, lightening, and brightening products are great for diminishing pigmentation and age spots but should be avoided during pregnancy. This isn’t because they’re harmful to your baby. It’s because your skin typically becomes more sensitive during pregnancy and will be more vulnerable to the side effects of skin lightening products. This is only the case with products containing hydroquinone, so be sure to avoid this high-potency ingredient.

Chemical Sunscreens

Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, octinoxate, menthyl anthranilate, and octocrylene are ingredients to avoid with sunscreens, as they can cause harm. Instead, reach for a mineral-based sunscreen containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, as these will still protect your skin without causing any damage.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is mostly found in exfoliating products designed to target acne and pigmentation. But this ingredient also commonly sneaks into body scrubs and cleansers. When pregnant, avoid products with salicylic acid. If you still want an exfoliant, look for glycolic acid, lactic acid, and mandelic acid, which are all considered safe.

What Skincare and Beauty Products Should I Avoid During Pregnancy? - woman applying face cream to her cheek - 650 x 437What Skincare and Beauty Products Should I Avoid During Pregnancy? - woman applying face cream to her cheek - 650 x 437

What Brands Are Safe to Use While Pregnant?

We always recommend reading ingredients lists carefully when buying new products; it’s important to avoid unsafe beauty products during pregnancy. However, certain brands are known and loved for their pregnancy ranges. These trusted lines use only the most natural and gentle ingredients to look after both your skin and your baby’s.

Organic skincare for pregnancy is a good place to start. Organic beauty products don’t contain nasty and abrasive chemicals. However, be sure to watch out for essential oils, as some of these can be harmful to your baby.

Brands we recommend for the best beauty products for pregnancy include:

What Kind of Face Wash Is Best to Use When Pregnant?

Using a safe cleanser for pregnancy is a must, as it’s a part of your everyday beauty routine. Some cleansers contain harsh chemicals such as salicylic acid, which can be harmful.

Perfect for Normal to Dry Skin

Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser is a firm favourite, known and loved for its nourishing but gentle cleansing formula that’s perfect for normal to dry skin. This product helps remove everyday impurities without stripping moisture or irritating the skin.

Perfect for Normal to Dry Skin

If you have an oily complexion, we recommend Pai Light Work Rosehip Cleansing Oil, which effortlessly removes all traces of the day while protecting the skin and balancing oil levels.

An Easy and Safe Pregnancy Skincare Routine

For easy but safe skincare during pregnancy, we recommend keeping things simple. Favour cleansing and moisturising over high-potency serums and treatments, the latter of which can contain harmful ingredients.

Start your routine with a nourishing face wash from organic skincare brand Pai. Choose either Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser for dry skin or Pai Light Work Rosehip Cleansing Oil for an oilier complexion. Alternatively, another organic skincare brand we love is Kora Organics. For sensitive skin, we recommend KORA Organics Gentle Cleanser

Keep your skin hydrated with gentle daily face creams and moisturisers for a smooth and radiant complexion. We recommend Weleda Calendula Face Cream, which can be used on both mum’s and baby’s skin. This facial moisturiser contains a blend of Lanolin and Almond Oil to moisturise and protect the skin. Alternatively, try La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP+, which is perfect for soothing irritation.

 If you want to use additional treatments to look after your changing skin, be sure you avoid chemical nasties. For example, instead of using hydroquinone to brighten your complexion and fade pigmentation, use treatments containing Vitamin C. Aspect Phytostat 9 is perfectly safe for use during pregnancy. And instead of reaching for a chemical sunscreen, try a physical sunscreen such as Medik8 Physical Sunscreen SPF 50+ to protect skin without causing harm.

Always consult with your doctor before starting a new skin care routine