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A Guide to Pregnancy-Safe Skin Care

A Guide to Pregnancy-Safe Skin Care

If you’re breastfeeding, newly pregnant or just thinking about getting pregnant, you may be wondering how it’ll affect your skin care routine.

At Skin Pharm, we’ve welcomed lots of babies over the past few years. (And by that, we’re talking about our team members and our patients!) That said, we love treating new moms and mamas-to-be.

Here’s what you need to know about skin care pre- and post-pregnancy and when you’re pregnant, too.

What 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 discussing any skin care treatments or procedures with your OB-GYN, too. Discontinue any hormonal therapy (like spironolactone), oral tetracyclines (doxycycline, minocycline) or oral isotretinoin (Accutane).

What to avoid during pregnancy.

If you’re pregnant, we advise that you 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 and if you're breastfeeding.

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. And more collagen means more healthy, youthful-looking skin. BHAs have anti-inflammatory properties, balancing the skin’s oiliness and treating blackheads and whiteheads. Used together (like in our Crystal Clear clarifying pads), these hydroxy acids reverse the effects of aging 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 typically appear on the cheeks, nose and forehead. These are totally normal and are caused by an increase in melanin due to hormonal changes during pregnancy (although birth control pills and hormone replacement can also cause melasma). Melanin is a natural substance that gives color to the skin, hair and eyes.

Melasma usually fades after you give birth, but some women can have dark patches that last for years. UV exposure can cause melasma to reappear, so don’t forget that SPF!

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 acne and protect your skin from UV rays, we recommend the following skin care routine for our pregnant and breastfeeding patients.


1. Gentle Soothing Cleanser : A gentle start to any routine (and great for removing makeup, too.)

2. Crystal Clear: 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, brighten skin and fight visible effects of aging, too.

3. Eye Sculpt: 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. 100% Mineral SPF : We recommend our purely physical sunscreen, ideal for for normal, dry and sensitive skin types and great for melasma.


1. Gentle Soothing Cleanser

2. Eye Sculpt

3. Night Watch: Can reintroduce when breastfeeding!

4. Moisturizer: Those with normal to combo and oily skin should try High Beam, a lightweight moisturizer that hydrates while brightening. Those with drier skin should opt for Face Whip, which offers richer, more intense moisturizer. (Anyone can benefit from Youth Serum, too!)

    What about Skin Pharm treatments?

    We've got you covered! Check out our guide to treatments that are safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding, too. Of course, you should always check with your OB-GYN for clearance first.


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