The 10 Best Skincare Products Safe For Pregnancy, According To Experts

When you’re pregnant, there’s a long list of things you shouldn’t do: giving up foods (sushi, deli meats, and types of mozzarella cheese, to name a few) and types of exercise ( high impact training, 5k marathon).

Interestingly, there’s also a pregnancy skincare routine you should follow — and with that, some products and ingredients you should avoid during those nine months.

“Skincare as well as the medications we use and the foods/drinks we consume are different during pregnancy and while breastfeeding due to potential effects on the development of the fetus or breastfed baby,” Lucky Sekhon, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist, infertility specialist and dual board-certified OBGYN, told the New York Post. “We avoid products containing drugs or chemicals that may be teratogenic and predispose to birth defects and/or toxicity to the fetus and baby.”

Click to access the best pregnancy-safe skin care products:

Which skin care products can be used safely during pregnancy?

According to Dr. Sekhon, it is essential to use a gentle cleanser on the face that does not contain harsh products like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. “Using a fragrance-free moisturizer or night cream is also a good thing,” she adds. “I’m pretty minimalist and have a two-step evening skincare routine.”

You can also use a gentle exfoliant, according to Dr. Sekhon.

What skin care should I avoid during pregnancy?

Dr. Sekhon lists the active ingredients you should avoid – and why you should avoid them – while you’re expecting:

  • Retin-A, retinol: These are vitamin A derivatives that can cause birth defects during pregnancy. Vitamin A may be safe in small doses for the baby, but using these compounds can lead to dangerous overexposure.
  • Tazorac/Accutane: These are also vitamin A derivatives which are even more powerful. They can also cause birth defects.
  • Hydroquinone: This is a Category C drug, which means a lack of safety data in humans or evidence of adverse effects in animal studies. It has a higher absorption rate than other topical chemicals.
  • Formaldehyde: This is used as a preservative in some nail polish and hair products – and has been linked to fertility issues and miscarriages. Always ask nail technicians and hairstylists if the products they use contain formaldehyde and should be avoided during pregnancy.
  • Benzoyl peroxide: This is commonly found in acne medications and can be a little too harsh during pregnancy.
  • Salicylic acid: More research needs to be done on the use of salicylic acid during pregnancy, so it is best to avoid the ingredient altogether.

Best skin care for pregnancy

The products below have been selected based on careful ingredient review, keeping in mind active ingredients that are not recommended for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

1. Youth To The People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser, $36

Sephora

As one of the most refreshing cleansers you’ll ever encounter, Youth To The People’s Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser is one of the best value choices you’ll find. Not only does it contain kale and green tea in its active ingredients (hence the name: superfood), but its pump is quite big for the price.


2. Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Exfoliating Gel, $34

Paula's Choice 8% AHA Skin Perfecting Exfoliating Gel
Sephora

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Exfoliating Gel is under $35 and is suitable for all skin types. Best of all, it helps smooth out fine lines and wrinkles and has a lightweight finish.


3. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 Hydrating Serum, $8-$13

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 Hydrating Serum
Amazon

For beauty under $15, The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 Hydrating Serum is a refreshing potion-like bottle to refuel. Its hyaluronic acid ingredient makes your skin more supple and it is also a vegan formulation.


4. Glow Recipe Guava Vitamin C Bright-Eye Gel Cream, $38-$45

Glow Recipe Guava & Vitamin C Glow Eye Cream-Gel
Sephora

The Glow Recipe Guava Vitamin C Bright-Eye Gel Cream is a lovely hydrating option that will make your skin feel marshmallow soft. Moreover, its vitamin C ingredient helps to make your skin brighter and more awake.


5. First Aid Beauty Intense Hydration Ultra Repair Cream, $38

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration
Amazon

OK, we need to introduce you to First Aid Beauty’s Intense Hydration Ultra Repair Cream. For less than $40, you’ll snag a giant tub (which is flawless for dry skin, in particular) and even great for sensitive skin and eczema-prone skin.


6. Innisfree Daily UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 36. $15

    Innisfree Daily UV Sun Defense SPF 36
Sephora

For just $15, Innisfree Daily UV Defense Sunscreen is a top selling option that is recommended for daily use. It’s safe to use when you’re pregnant and breastfeeding and is great for on the go.

For more options, check out our guide to the best face sunscreens.


7. Farmacy Clearly Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm, $36

Farmacy Clearly Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm
Sephora

Are you looking for an A+ makeup remover? Farmacy Clearly Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm is one of our favorites and so, then creamy. It will be the best product you will order from this list, without a shadow of a doubt.

For more options, check out our expert-backed guide to the best makeup removers.


8. Summer Fridays Dream Oasis Deep Hydration Serum, $44

Summer Fridays Dream Oasis Deep Hydration Serum
Sephora

As the name suggests, Summer Fridays Dream Oasis Deep Hydration Serum is a dreamy oasis. It contains hyaluronic acid, is fragrance free and ideal for redness. Essentially, it’s an all-around winner.


9. Caudalie Instant Pore Minimizing Detox Mask, $39

Caudalie Instant Pore Minimizing Detoxifying Mask
Sephora

After reviewing dozens of face masks, the Caudalie Instant Pore Reduction Detox Mask is second to none. It went viral on TikTok and it will leave your skin soft and smooth.


10. Tatcha the Dewy Skin Cream, $69

Tatcha The Dewy Skin Cream
Sephora

If you’re looking for rich hydration, there’s no other option than Tatcha Dewy Skin Cream. Not only does it come in sleek packaging, but it contains hyaluronic acid and is a Clean at Sephora product.


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