5 products to avoid when you are pregnant

I have had a few questions from women concerned that they are not looking their best in pregnancy because their skin has gone haywire. And while I want to say, sweetheart, you are growing a whole human you are allowed to look as bad as you want.

So while some women have the pregnancy glow while others get other skincare conditions like melasma and hormonal acne.

The most common is Melasma which is a form of hyperpigmentation caused by the changes in hormones due to the pregnancy so it isn’t much you can safely do to treat it while pregnant. Unfortunately, while you are pregnant a lot of the regular skincare ingredients which may have been helpful are completely out of bounds

To prevent you from getting into trouble during your pregnancy by using products which may harm you and your baby here are some ingredients to avoid.

The Ingredients to avoid

There are a lot of common ingredients to avoid in your skincare routine when you’re pregnant. The following can be harmful to a developing foetus: salicylic acid, Retin-A, retinol, retinyl palmitate, and benzoyl peroxide, hydroquinone, and prescription acne medications. In addition, she says you should avoid professional treatments such as chemical peels with salicylic acid, Botox, and laser treatments.


These are prescription acne and anti-ageing medications and come in different forms like adapalene, tretinoin, tazarotene, and isotretinoin. Research has shown that there is a link between the use of retinoids and an increased risk of birth defects for developing babies. So it is best to stop using these medications immediately after pregnancy.

Benzoyl Peroxide & Salicylic acid

Although acne is common during pregnancy you need to choose your acne creams carefully. Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid which are acne-fighting ingredients are best avoided during pregnancy because there is a risk to the foetus.

Essential oils

Essential oils are seen as a natural alternative for skincare and beauty products. However, they are not strictly regulated and come in different varieties and concentrations. In addition, some can cause uterine contractions and may lead to a miscarriage if used in early pregnancy. So while they are not completely harmful, a few are linked to major health concerns when pregnant. So be safe to avoid them to be on the safe side.


This skin-lightening agent is used to treat conditions such as dark spots and melasma.  However, because 45% of hydroquinone is absorbed into the bloodstream it is too risky for use during pregnancy. Although there is no research on its effects on the foetus it is best to avoid it altogether.

Chemical Sunscreens

While sunscreen is not negotiable during pregnancy, it’s important to pay closer attention to the type of formula you choose.  Sunscreen with oxybenzone has been linked to birth defects so this may be the time to embrace the white cast by using a physical sunscreen. These are safer than chemical sunscreens which contain ingredients like avobenzone, and homosalate that can be absorbed through your skin.

Physical sunscreens with no white cast

  • Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50
  • Anthelios Clear Skin Sunscreen
  • SPF 50 Defense Refresh Setting Mist
  • Complete Daily Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Others include

FORMALDEHYDE is found in nail polish & some hair products so look for nail polishes labelled “3-Free” or “5-Free.

Pregnancy Routine

The goal for you while growing a whole human is maintenance and the watchword here is gentle. This is not the time to attempt to get your skin to glow. If you have hyperpigmentation, especially melasma let it be. You will get back to normal until your pregnancy is over.

So use gentle products and facials without any of the products listed above. Your routine will be unique to you and unique to each pregnancy because your skin may react differently each time.

Hydration is essential

Skin hydration; increase the water content of your skin to put moisture into your skin. These include hyaluronic acid, glycerin or aloe vera-rich products.

Moisturize day and night

Keeping your skin moisturized while pregnant is important. The need for a moisturizer is a barrier to preventing your skin from drying out. So use a heavy moisturizer to take care of the parts of your body that are growing, expanding, and stretching.

Treat And Prevent Stretch Marks.

Treating and preventing stretch marks is an important part of pregnancy. It helps minimize the scarring and fine lines that may form due to your skin stretching.  Massage a good cream or stretch mark treatment into areas like your stomach and hips twice a day.

If are looking for good hydration check out my REVIEW: HYDRATING FACE MISTS, to learn more about retinol which will be an important part of your post-pregnancy routine WHAT IS RETINOL? THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO THIS HOLY GRAIL ANTI-AGING PRODUCT: PART 1 and WHAT IS RETINOL? THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO THIS HOLY GRAIL ANTI-AGING PRODUCT: PART 2.

Let me know what you think and let me know in the comments below and share on your social media.

Find out how to manage your Acne and other skin care conditions check out this book

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  1. Lami
    2020-06-26 / 3:13 pm

    Do we also need to avoid these ingredients when breastfeeding?

    • 2020-06-26 / 4:36 pm

      Hi Lami ,yes it best to avoid them while breastfeeding because they can likely end up in breast milk especially the retinoids

  2. Foye
    2021-01-13 / 10:32 am

    So how do we treat acne during pregnancy?. Is Kojic, and rosehip oil safe in pregnancy.

    • 2021-01-13 / 11:48 am

      Hello Foye, Kojic acid is for treatment of spots not acne and rosehip oil is safe. I would recommend you have a good routine as a foundation that includes niacinamide then focus on treating acne your acne after pregnancy because most of the products are not safe for pregnancy

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