When I first got pregnant, I really didn’t have a clue about what types of skincare products were safe to use. Who knew that having a baby would make me so much more passionate and aware of what I’m putting into my body and on my skin? (Not trying to be preachy, just hear me out…)
I’ve been a natural skincare junkie for a few years now, but this whole pregnancy thing was new to me and the topic of skincare products doesn’t typically come up at your prenatal appointments. Even if you know to ask about skincare products, there’s a good chance your doctor may not know all of the ingredients to avoid. The best doctors to ask about skincare are dermatologists, but as always, don’t be afraid to do your own research!
Even though I choose mostly natural and organic products, that doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily safe during pregnancy. So, I took to the internet to do my own research and make decisions that felt safe for both me and babe. Since I was basically clueless about pregnancy and skincare, I thought I’d share my findings in hopes that it may help you make informed decisions. Here we go!
What products are safe for your skin during pregnancy?
Your skin is one giant organ; everything it comes to contact with gets passed through your bloodstream and therefore down to your baby through the placenta. Babies are very sensitive and studies show that using some anti-aging skin products such as retinol and vitamin A during pregnancy can lead to birth defects, so it’s best to avoid these ingredients. But, the list doesn’t just stop there.
Since I’m not a doctor, I thought I’d share some articles that helped me make informed decisions regarding my skincare routine while pregnant. Remember to do your own research and talk to you doctor, too!
- Ask a Dermatologist: 14 Skincare Products to Avoid While Pregnant
- Pregnancy Skincare: What’s Safe for Your Skin & Body During Pregnancy
- 5 Things You Didn’t Know to Avoid While Pregnant
Skincare product ingredients to avoid during pregnancy
Below is a general list of skincare products you should try and avoid during pregnancy. That being said, we can’t all be perfect, but it’s good to pay attention to labels when purchasing soaps, shampoos, conditioners, laundry detergent, hairspray, dish soap, lotions, perfumes, and basically anything that comes into contact with your skin. These are ingredients that are so called no-nos during pregnancy:
- Aluminum chloride hexahydrate
- Beta hydroxy acids
- Chemical sunscreens (instead use mineral sunscreens)
- Diethanolamine (DEA)
- Dihydroxyacetone (DHA)
- Benzoyl Peroxide
- Retinol products (also Vitamin A)
- Thioglycolic acid
- Diazolidinyl Urea
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
- Botulinum Toxin
- Stearic Acid
The laundry detergent I use during pregnancy (and when I’m not pregnant)
Most laundry detergents out there contain unnecessary chemicals and synthetic fragrances that are not only harmful to your skin but also to the environment and the air we breathe. Branch Basics has an amazing article to reference that explains why it’s best to switch to a non-toxic laundry soap.
A little over a year ago, I made the transition to non-toxic cleaning products in our home using the Branch Basics starter kit. I now exclusively use Branch Basics products, which are biodegradable, plant-based, non-toxic and yes — actually work! Basically you just mix water with their concentrate based off the bottles they send you in the starter kit. Everything in the kit is plant based, and all ingredients are rated an A or B by the EWG. I also use their oxygen boost in laundry and LOVE it. It gets all my stains out including wine. Highly recommend. Use the code ‘AK’ for 15% off your starter kit!
Cleaning products that are safe to use during pregnancy
As mentioned above, I now use all Branch Basics products for cleaning my home, and they’re pregnancy safe. Previously I was using products like Seventh Generation, but found that it didn’t have EWG high rated ingredients. Bummer, but I feel SO much better about using Branch Basics! I’m a super fan, really. I have the starter kit and love it. Use the code ‘AK’ for 15% off your own starter kit!
“Branch Basics is a unique, proprietary blend of plant-derived ingredients that are all natural, fragrance free, non-combustible, non-hazardous, non-fuming, non-toxic, and biodegradable. The ingredients are purified water, coconut oil, fatty acids, minerals and enzymes from edible and seed-bearing plants, sodium bicarbonate.” –the Branch Basics website.
See how I use Branch Basics in my home:
Perfumes and fragrances during pregnancy
In general, I just tried to avoid using perfume and synthetic fragrances during my pregnancy as much as possible. This is just a personal choice, but I felt like it wasn’t necessary for me to wear.
Is it okay to dye your hair while pregnant?
During the first trimester, it’s best to avoid. You also want to make sure you aren’t bleaching your hair at any point during your pregnancy. I went back to doing biolage and made sure that none of the dyes ever touched my roots (which is why my hair is a lot more dark!). Check out this article for more helpful info on dyeing your hair during pregnancy.
Is it safe to get a spray tan while pregnant?
Unless you are sure about the ingredients in your spray tan formula, then it’s best to avoid.
Pregnancy safe deodorant
I get a lot of questions about this one on Instagram. I made the switch to Nécessaire deodorant and LOVE it. It’s all natural, safe and actually works. Since some conventional deodorants contain aluminum, parabens, and phthalates, you may want to consider the switch too!
Sandalwood is my current favorite scent. Use the code ‘AK10’ for 10% off your first order on Necessaire.com!
Skincare products to use to avoid stretch marks
Surprisingly and lucky me, I haven’t had an issue with stretch marks during pregnancy — that I can see, anyway! Obviously keeping your skin hydrated is essential; not only does that mean drinking plenty of water, but also eating nourishing and hydrating fruits and veggies, and of course, a cream or oil won’t hurt. I highly recommend these products:
- Zoe Organics Belly Butter
- Zoe Organics Belly Oil
- Binto x Clary Belly Oil (this stuff smells SOOOO freakin’ good and might just be my fav!)
My skincare motto during pregnancy
Less is more! You don’t need to spend a ton of money on products to make your skincare routine effective. I’m a skincare junkie so I love buying and testing new products (so I can share them with you!) but frankly keeping it simple is perfectly fine and probably best for a nice, clear complexion that glows.
For your face, I recommend using the following: good facial cleanser, vitamin C serum, a moisturizing cream and a facial oil.
My pregnancy skincare routine + product suggestions
Again, while I use all of the products mentioned in this post, it doesn’t mean you need or should go out and buy ALL of them. If you’re looking for something new, I suggest picking 1 product from the following categories (and btw I would totally use the same routine if I wasn’t pregnant):
Cleansers I use and love
- TULA Cult Classic Purifying Face Cleanser: love this simple facial cleanser for those who prefer to do a face wash vs. a cleansing oil. Safe ingredients for pregnancy too. Use the code ‘AMBITIOUS’ for 15% off on TULA.com!
- Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser: one of my go-tos! LOVE LOVE LOVE everything Drunk Elephant.
- Nyakio Facial Cleansing Oil: my new favorite oil cleanser! This black-owned brand makes incredible hydrating products and the oil cleanser is hands down THE BEST. Forget wiping off your makeup with those nasty dry makeup remover wipes that sting and use this instead. Just apply, rub into skin and use a wet washcloth to remove!
Pregnancy Safe Body Products
- Nécessaire Body Wash: use the code ‘AK10’ for 10% off!
- Nécessaire Body Lotion: use the code ‘AK10’ for 10% off!
- Nécessaire Hand Lotion: use the code ‘AK10’ for 10% off!
- The Necessaire products are all unscented except the body wash and have clean ingredients. I love how hydrating they are. FYI: unfortunately, the Body Exfoliator that they sell isn’t pregnancy safe because of the salicylic acid.
- Babo Botanicals Lavender Baby Wash & Bubble Bath
- Babo Botanicals Lavender Baby Lotion
- I use Babo products on Sidney and they’ve become some of my favorite to use for pregnancy as well, especially for bath time. The lavender scent is incredible! Buy some for your little babe and yourself!
- Volition Turmeric Brightening Polish: obsessed with this luxurious feeling brightening polish (and basically everything else from Volition, too!). You can use on your face and body and it makes your skin feel incredibly smooth! use code ‘AMBITIOUS20’ for 20% off at volitionbeauty.com
- Cocokind Scrubbing Clay: I use this on my body to get rid of bumps and impurities. Anything from Cocokind is a win for me.
- Virgin Coconut Oil: personally I love using this in the bath for extra skin hydration!
- Billie Shaving Cream (+ their razor is amazing too!): both the shaving cream and the razor are my absolute favorites! The razor is actually made from charcoal — so cool!
Pregnancy Safe Shampoo & Conditioner
I switched over to Innersense products a few months ago and haven’t looked back! It’s crazy how much these organic skin safe products work for your hair. My hair literally feels like it’s celebrity status everytime I use Innersense. I can’t even describe to you how much I am in love! Silky smooth hair every single time. If you want to try a sample of their products you can purchase their travel trio first (that’s what I did!).
- Innersense Pure Harmony Hair Bath Shampoo
- Innersense Pure Inspiration Daily Conditioner
- Innersense Sweet Spirit Leave in Conditioner
- Babo Botanicals Daily Sheer Tinted Sunscreen: my most favorite mineral safe facial sunscreen that’s made by a baby & mama safe company! Seriously it’s amazing and I tell everyone I know about it. You only need a little bit, so it’s bound to last a few months.
- Volition Prismatic Luminizing Shield: this non-greasy sunscreen is luminous and perfect for wearing under makeup. use code ‘AMBITIOUS20’ for 20% off at volitionbeauty.com
- cocokind Daily Sunscreen: as mentioned above, I can pretty much recommend cocokind for any type of skincare — such a great brand.
Face Oils & Moisturizers
I love using a variety of facial oils during pregnancy for hydration and moisture. Trust me, you won’t need all of these, like I mentioned I’m just a skincare junkie! Here are some of my favs:
- CEO Glow by Sunday Riley: non greasy, perfect for wearing under makeup and includes vitamin C to help with hyperpigmentation that women can experience during pregnancy.
- Pure Radiance by True Botanicals: I mostly use this one at night because it’s a little more heavy, but the mix of oils is lovely.
- Hibiscus Correcting Oil by Volition: I use this 1x per day and mix in with my other oils or moisturizers. It’s amazing for hyperpigmentation as well. use code ‘AMBITIOUS20’ for 20% off at volitionbeauty.com
- Volition Yaupon Tea Glow Awakening Moisturizer: I LOVE this moisturizer for my skin. It’s tingly (but in a good way) and feels ultra refreshing on the skin. Love using it right away in the morning after I wash my face. use code ‘AMBITIOUS20’ for 20% off at volitionbeauty.com
- Marula Oil by Drunk Elephant: the oils of all facial oils. This ultra hydrating facial oil has been a favorite of mine for years, and while expensive, I think it’s 100% worth it.
- Rosehip seed oil: rosehip oil helps with imperfections, fine lines and dark spots that can randomly show up during pregnancy (and beyond). In my opinion this is a must have oil! Also, it’s amazing to mix in with other moisturizers because it tends to be a drier face oil, meaning it absorbs into the skin very well.
- Tula 24/7 Moisturizer my every day moisturizer. I use this under makeup, mixed with oils or just by itself! LOVE. use the code ‘AMBITIOUS’ for 20% off on TULA.com!
- Volition Strawberry Vitamin C Serum. If you’re looking for a vitamin C serum, this is it. It’s non greasy or sticky, but rather light and absorbs into the skin amazingly well. I use before I put on my oils or moisturizers. Use code ‘AMBITIOUS20’ for 20% off at volitionbeauty.com.
- Acure Brightening Facemask
- Andalou Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask
- Cocokind x ShuttheKaleup Sea Kale Clay Mask: love this for breakouts during pregnancy!
What to use for breakouts during pregnancy
I recommend using a product like Thayer’s witch hazel with Rose to dry out and calm the area down (use this a few times per day), and then ice the zit so the swelling goes down. Then you can cover the zit with the Cocokind x ShuttheKaleup Sea Kale Clay Mask and allow to sit for 20 minutes to further dry out the area and release toxins. Avoid makeup on the area as much as possible, and limit washing your face to 1-2x per day.
Are there any pregnancy safe skincare products that you love?!
I hope you found this pregnancy skincare post helpful. Feel free to share it with mamas to be and leave a comment below with your favorites! xo.
Shop my pregnancy favorites & recommendations
Head over to the Ambitious Kitchen shop to see everything I recommend during pregnancy & beyond.
P.S. Don’t forget to check out our Ambitious Mama category which houses everything pregnancy and baby related including: baby registry, pregnancy books I’m reading and my first trimester, second trimester and third trimester posts (from baby #1) and first trimester and second trimester posts with baby #2.
Disclaimer: please consult your doctor before trying new products.