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An ObGyn's Guide to Skin Care in Pregnancy

pregnancy Oct 21, 2019

by Dr. Christine Sterling, M.D., FACOG

Everything changes in pregnancy, including your skin. Here are 5 important tips to keep in mind when you are caring for your skin in pregnancy.

1. Avoid potentially damaging and toxic ingredients such as vitamin A (retinol), hydroquinolone, oxybenzone (for a more comprehensive list of ingredients to avoid check out my Pregnancy Skin Care Cheat Sheet).

2. Use sun protection. Many women experience hyperpigmentation (or darkening of the skin) in pregnancy. If you aren’t careful about avoiding sun exposure these dark spots can become permanent. Always wear a hat (here’s my favorite) and sunscreen free from potentially harmful ingredients (this is the one I use).

3. Be careful about using chemical exfoliants such as alpha- and beta- hydroxy acids in pregnancy. While they aren’t considered harmful to a developing baby, their use is associated with higher rates of skin cancer and sun damage for you. 

4. You may find that your skin is more sensitive in pregnancy, and products that you used previously, now irritate your skin. Look for products labelled hypoallergenic, as these are often less irritating. Always stay away from products that list “fragrance” as an ingredient as hundreds of chemicals can be hidden under this term and they are often the most irritating and potentially hazardous. 

5. ‘Pregnancy glow’ is often the result of increased oil production due to hormonal changes of pregnancy. For some this leaves them with a dewy look, for others makes them prone to breakouts and acne. Be careful though, as many over-the-counter treatments for acne are not safe in pregnancy.  My Pregnancy Skin Care Cheat Sheet has a quick guide to the treatment of acne in pregnancy, as well as a list of ingredients to avoid. 

Feeling overwhelmed and just want me to tell you exactly what to use? Check out My Pregnancy Skin Care Routine .

Glow Get ‘Em Mommas!

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