If you’re pregnant (congrats!) or thinking about getting pregnant, you may be wondering how this could affect your skin care regime. At Skin Pharm, we’ve welcomed lots of babies over the past couple of years (we’re talking about our staff and our patients!). We love treating our mamas-to-be! Here’s what you need to know about pre-pregnancy and pregnancy skin care.
What to avoid if you’re trying to get pregnant
First, let’s talk about what skin care ingredients to avoid if you’re trying to get pregnant. Our recommendations follow the same guidelines as The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, but we also recommend that you discuss with your OBGYN. Discontinue any hormonal therapy (like spironolactone), oral tetracyclines (doxycycline, minocycline) or oral isotretinoin (Accutane).
What to avoid during pregnancy
If you’re already pregnant, we advise that you immediately stop using topical salicylic acid (more than 2%), topical tretinoin/retinol, products containing hydroquinone and products containing growth factors.
What’s safe to use during pregnancy
We recommend using topical products containing benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid, and AHAs/BHAs like salicylic acid (2% or less), glycolic acid and lactic acid. AHAs and BHAs, also known as alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic, lactic) and beta hydroxy acids (salicylic) are among the most widely used anti-aging agents.
AHAs are exfoliants that reduce fine lines, lighten skin and promote collagen synthesis (more collagen = healthy, youthful skin). BHAs have anti-inflammatory properties, balancing the skin’s oiliness and treating blackheads and whiteheads. Used together (like in our Clarifying Pads), these hydroxy acids reverse the effects of photoaging and improve wrinkles, skin elasticity, overall tone and hydration!
What to expect when you’re expecting (in terms of skin care, that is)
Many pregnant women experience melasma, dark spots or brown patches that appear on the face (typically on the cheeks, nose and forehead). These are totally normal and are caused by an increase in melanin in your body due to hormonal changes during pregnancy (although birth control pills and hormone replacement can cause melasma, too). Melanin is a natural substance that gives color to the skin, hair and eyes.
The melasma usually fades after you give birth, but some women can have dark patches that last for years, and UV exposure can trigger melasma to reappear, so don’t forget that SPF! To further prevent melasma from reappearing, reinforce that SPF with a wide-brimmed hat whenever you’re outside.
Many women experience acne — or notice that their acne flares up — during pregnancy, especially during the first and second trimesters. You can blame this on your hormones, too, as increased androgens (male sex hormones like testosterone) cause your skin to produce more sebum, clogging pores and causing breakouts.
Also, don’t be discouraged if your melasma or acne worsens during your fourth trimester (the 12 weeks after you give birth). Your body is still experiencing hormonal changes, and if you’re breastfeeding you’ll need to keep using products that are pregnancy-safe to protect your baby.
Skin Pharm’s Pregnancy Safe Skin Care Routine
To combat that acne and protect your skin from UV rays, we recommend the following skin care regime for our pregnant patients:
In the AM
1. Skin Pharm Cleanser: Papaya Enzyme Cleanser (for all skin types, especially acne prone) or Gentle Soothing Cleanser (for normal to dry and sensitive skin types)
2. Skin Pharm Clarifying Pads: With salicylic acid (the recommended 2%), glycolic acid (5%) and lactic acid (5%), these pads are pregnancy and breastfeeding safe! Bonus? Since they’re made with AHAs/BHAs, they combat pregnancy acne AND fight the visible effects of aging!
3. Youth Eye Complex: This peptide-rich formula is gentle enough for the skin around the eyes but powerful enough to diminish fine lines and wrinkles, reduce dark circles and instantly plump skin.
4. Youth Serum: This ultra-hydrating serum works for all skin types to plump skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
5. Glow Factor: Rev up your pregnancy glow with this perfect dose of antioxidants to brighten and replenish skin.
6. SPF: If you’re experiencing melasma, we recommend our purely physical sunscreen 100% Mineral SPF, (best for normal, dry and sensitive skin types) or our Sheer Defense SPF (best for normal, combo, oily, acne prone skin types and those with rosacea).
In the PM
1. Skin Pharm Cleanser: Papaya Enzyme Cleanser or Gentle Soothing Cleanser
2. Youth Eye Complex
3. Epionce Lytic Tx: Salicylic acid and azelaic acid work together to cleanse pores and smooth skin texture, similar to a retinol product.
4. Moisturizer: Those with normal to combo and oily skin should try our Face Whip, a lightweight moisturizer that offers intense hydration while instantly absorbing into your skin. If you have active acne, use our Youth Serum.