Going through 9 months of pregnancy is a completely life-changing experience. It’s not exactly a picnic, either; you’ll find that each month seemingly brings more restrictions and no-nos than the last, compared to the number of things that are actually allowed for you!
However, when it comes to feeling good about yourself and sporting that pregnancy glow, beauty and skincare don’t have to take a backseat. Thanks to science, you can look up the ingredients that you should avoid and find alternatives for your pregnancy skincare needs.
Researching what skincare products you can and can’t use while pregnant can get overwhelming, so here’s a quick breakdown:
FOR FINE LINES AND AGING
Your body goes through a lot of changes during pregnancy and one of those is the appearance of fine lines and signs of aging. But, don’t reach for that anti-aging skincare cream and treatment just yet! A lot of these products contain different forms of Vitamin A called retinoids, which are often great for helping improve skin by promoting collagen production and cell turnover. However, for moms-to-be, this is a big no-no, as retinoids pose the risk of birth defects and liver toxicity in developing babies.
You can usually find these ingredients listed as tazarotene, isotretinoin, retinyl palmitate, adapalene, retinaldehyde, tretinoin, and retinoic acid.
A #BetterForYou alternative: To fight signs of aging, stick to another vitamin that’s just as effective: Vitamin C. Vitamin C plays a big role in producing collagen, which helps skin become healthier, plumper, and more elastic, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines in the process. It also protects skin from damage by fighting free radicals that are often caused by UV rays from the sun and other environmental stressors. This powerful ingredient is found in our Flower Power multi-mist,Uplift Hydrating Serum Spray, and Glass-C Skin Brightening Serum (coming soon).
You can spritz on the Flower Power multi-mist or Uplift Hydrating Serum Spray to tone skin after cleansing or refresh skin throughout the day. Another great source of Vitamin C for skin is our Glass-C Skin Brightening Serum, which hydrates, brightens, and refines your complexion.
FOR ACNE Hormonal acne and breakouts tend to appear during pregnancy. When it comes to treating them, watch out for cleansers, toners, and exfoliators that contain Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs), like salicylic acid and betaine salicylate. It’s great for getting rid of excess oil and for managing pores if your hormones are causing more clogs than usual. But watch out for the percentage! 2% is the maximum recommended strength, and it’s advisable not to use products with BHA too often.
A #BetterForYou alternative: One equally effective way to fight acne during pregnancy is to use a cleanser with tea tree extract. Tea tree is known for its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties, which can help get rid of acne-causing bacteria while unclogging pores. The Keep Clean and Cool soap from our specialty Keep Clean face & body bar collection is infused with tea tree and mild enough to use on your face and body. This acne-busting ingredient can also be found in our Unwind Clarifying Serum Spray, which fights blemishes, soothes skin, and refines your complexion over time, so you can flex that pregnancy glow!
FOR SUN PROTECTION Skipping sunscreen is discouraged because your skin is more vulnerable and more sensitive to discoloration, melasma, and other forms of hyperpigmentation. Chemical sunscreens are a dime a dozen, but are not the safest option especially if you’re pregnant.
Oxybenzone, for example, is a compound in chemical sunscreens that turn UV rays on skin into heat and then releases them from the body. This compound can be absorbed into the skin, and studies show that oxybenzone is linked to Hirschsprung's disease, which affects the baby’s large intestine and can lead to constipation. Oxybenzone is also a known endocrine disruptor that negatively affects the development of reproductive, neurological, and immune systems.
Here are other ingredients that you should avoid in your sunscreen: avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, oxtinoxate, menthyl anthranilate, and oxtocrylene.
A #BetterForYou alternative: Go for physical or mineral sunscreen instead! This type of sunscreen commonly uses two main active ingredients — zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These are hypoallergenic, and settle on top of skin without getting absorbed into the body.
These two minerals can be found in Ellana’s signature Mineral SkinShield®. It’s our take on physical sunscreen, but formulated with mineral and botanical ingredients to help defend skin against pollution, UV rays, and other environmental stressors without clogging pores. Our formula also provides resistance from water and sweat, oil control, and dirt defense.
Pregnant or not, there are other ingredients that you should take note of and avoid in your skincare, personal care, and beauty products:
Phthalates: Chemicals that can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system. Parabens: Preservatives that disrupt hormone function by mimicking estrogen, which can potentially trigger tumor growth. Talc and asbestos: Minerals that are known as potential carcinogens and can adversely affect the respiratory system. Formaldehyde: A known carcinogen that can also cause irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, and throat. Formaldehyde is also found to have links to spontaneous abortion, congenital malformations, and premature birth.
Everything you use and consume directly affects the health and development of your baby. We care about you and your baby’s health, so we hope you don’t mind us reminding you to thoroughly check those ingredient lists!
It pays off to get into the nitty-gritty and ensure that you’re using pregnancy-safe alternatives to address your skincare needs. When you’re pregnant, always remember that you have to #ChooseBetter not just for yourself, but for your baby, too!