Pregnancy Safe Skincare Tips

Learn about pregnancy safe skin care

Pregnancy Safe Skin Care
How to navigate your beauty routine when you’re expecting
By Sandra Kopp, MD

Pregnancy is a very exciting and anxiety-provoking time in any woman’s life. When you are pregnant, or even trying to get pregnant, there are many changes that take place, especially with your skin care. While there are guidelines from the FDA regarding pregnancy safety categories for ingredients, there are still very few studies evaluating the safety of many skin care products and procedures.  For this reason advice may vary from one physician to the next.  Most providers believe in a conservative approach to avoid any unnecessary products and procedures during pregnancy as to avoid any complications and unnecessary guilt if there are unforeseen issues later in pregnancy.  However, in certain situations such as threatening maternal health conditions, the benefits may outweigh the risk and it is best to discuss your options with your physician.

What skincare products are safe in pregnancy?

Generally speaking,FDA category A and B ingredients are considered safe in pregnancy.Over the counter products and “organic” products should not be assumed safe just because they do not require a prescription.Herbs and supplements are not regulated by the FDA and should be avoided unless approved by your doctor.

Treating Acne During Pregnancy

Acne is a very common complaint in pregnant women, and unfortunately many of the effective treatments commonly used are prohibited in pregnancy. Low strength glycolic acid and alpha hydroxy acids are considered pregnancy safe skincare ingredients, however salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, which are the most commonly used over-the-counter ingredients are class C, which generally should be avoided.Clindamycin, metronidazole, erythromycin , and azelaic acid are topical prescription medications which are FDA class B and largely considered safe. Blue and red light therapy is a popular treatment for pregnant woman due to its efficacy, safety, and tolerability.Unfortunately, photodynamictherapy is not advised during pregnancy.

Anti-aging recommendations during pregnancy

Sun protection remains the most important part of any woman’s regimen, pregnant or not.  SPF remains the number one anti-aging product. During pregnancy physical  sun blockers such as zinc and titanium sunscreens are recommended.Neurotoxins, fillers, and laser procedures have not been studied in pregnancy and are best to be avoided. Vitamin C serums, low dose glycolic and alpha hydroxyl acids and microdermabrasion can be continued during pregnancy.

Melasma in Pregnancy

Pigmentation is a common complaint during pregnancy, especially in the summer. Sunscreens become even more imperative, but hormones themselves are usually the cause and the pigmentation usually lightens on its own after delivery. Glycolic acid topicals can help but it is best to treat the pigment after pregnancy since it may resolve and there are more effective ways to lighten postpartum.

Skin Growths in Pregnancy

There may be an increased number of benign growths or changes in moles during pregnancy so it is best to get new spots evaluated by a dermatologist.Skin tags, blood vessel growths, and moles can become more numerous or enlarge.Warts are also more common since pregnancy slightly lowers the immune system.If any moles are significantly darker or abnormal they will be biopsied just as they would be in a non-pregnant woman. Stretch marks are also unfortunately common from the stretching of the skin and are usually more common in women who are genetically prone to them.There are many creams promising to prevent or reduce them, however the jury is still out as to if they actually work.Most dermatologists will advocate moisturizing and massage twice daily, even if only to prevent dry skin that commonly occurs and can lead to itching.

Rashes During Pregnancy

Aside from the same ailments that plague the general population, there are some rashes that are specific to pregnancy, but also some common rashes that may be harmful in pregnancy when otherwise would be considered benign.Chicken pox, parvo virus, and pityriasis rosea are examples of otherwise usually benign rashes that require extra attention in pregnancy.In general, any rash should be evaluated by a dermatologist as to prevent any complications.Common rashes may also worsen, such as dandruff, and your provider may change the regimen to safer products so it is always worth discussing all oral and topical medications with your OB/GYN at your prenatal visit.

Dr. Sandra Kopp is a New York City dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in the Financial District. Dr. Kopp, who recently had her first baby, has firsthand experience navigating the confusing skincare rules during pregnancy. 

About Schweiger Dermatology Group

Schweiger Dermatology Group was founded to help make excellent dermatology care accessible throughout the Northeast. In 2010, Dr. Eric Schweiger started the practice with a single location in Midtown Manhattan. When he saw the need for high-quality dermatology care that did not require weeks or months of waiting to see a qualified provider, his vision of a multi-location practice was born.

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