Skin Care in Pregnancy: My 5 Step Routine

You may not have thought about your skin care routine being changed during pregnancy, but it does need some tweaking.


Most expecting women know about the food changes, no alcohol, and to watch out for certain medications. But most people don’t consider their skin care in pregnancy. Simple changes can help avoid those off-limit products.

The largest organ you have is your skin and chemicals get absorbed readily by it. Those anti-aging serums and acne medications don’t stay skin deep, some of it gets absorbed into your body. When not pregnant, these low levels are not significant, but with pregnancy, we are more cautious with these levels.

Off-Limit Prescription Strength

  1. Botox and fillers: Administration immediately prior to conception is ok, but not during pregnancy.
  2. Isotretinoin (Accutane): Most dermatologist want you to have completed this acne medication 6 weeks to 3 months prior to conception.
  3. Retin-A: A powerhouse agent for fine lines and aging, but a no-no during pregnancy.
  4. Latisse: You will have to hold off on those amazing lashes for the next 10 months.

Off-Limit Over-the-Counter

  1. Retinoids: These are lesser in strength than the prescription vitamin A derivatives (isotretinoin and Retin-A), but still avoid them.
  2. Beta-Hydroxy Acids (Salicylic Acid): This is a shame because you will likely have an acne flair during pregnancy and this is the go to product. Exactly how bad is this? The studies were done with patients taking oral versions at higher doses than what would be absorbed by your skin. However, the oral doses did cause birth defects so the recommendation is to try to avoid their use. Many doctors would say minimal use is safe if you need it from time-to-time, but use a wash with less than 2% salicylic acid and always ask you doctor first.
  3. Soy-based Products (Lecithin, Phosphatidylcholine, Soy, Textured vegetable protein (TVP)): While considered safe, many women experience melasma, or darkening of skin, during pregnancy and these products can worsen this effect.

What is Safe:

Minimal is better but there are some products out there that can help. Alpha Hydroxy Acids, like lactic acid and glycol acid, are safe at low levels. Antioxidants are always a good idea. The fewer the active ingredients, the better off you are.

I love skin care so the majority of my products got put away. However, I saw this as an opportunity to simplify my routine.


My Skin Care In Pregnancy Routine:

  1. Bioderma Micellar Solution: You are missing out if you haven’t tried a micellar water solution for makeup removal! I use the original, French product but there are now several stateside brands that have some pretty good online reviews.
  2. Perricone MD Citrus Facial Wash: This has been one of my favorite washes in my rotation, but during my pregnancy, it has been all I use.
  3. Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid Toner: I decreased my use to once every other day once I became pregnant.
  4. Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream: I was skeptical I cold use this on my face but dermatologist swear by it (and CeraVe). I gave it a try and will probably never go back to those fancy creams again!
  5. Eau Thermale Avene: Yes, more expensive water. I love this stuff though. I originally used the Evian facial spray but have recently switched to this brand. Both work, I just like it better. I use it after I apply makeup and randomly throughout the day for a refresher.

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