Friday, January 27, 2012

Skincare for the Mommy-to-Be

You’re expecting and you’re dealing with the wild hormone fluctuations, weird food cravings, and drastic changes to your body that go along with growing a healthy baby. There are a million things to do to prepare and the last thing you probably want to think about is your skin.

We’ve all heard of “the glow” of pregnancy. Unfortunately, in reality skin problems turn out to be just as common as radiant skin. Although, most over-the-counter treatments are fine to use, many of the products you depended on before are now unsafe. Since creams and lotions get absorbed into the bloodstream and ultimately come in contact with your developing baby, it is important to know which products and ingredients need to be avoided.

Soy products are appealing to many women looking for natural ingredients and are generally safe to use. However, they can have strong estrogenic effects causing some women to experience the “mask of pregnancy” or melasma. If you have dark skin tones you should avoid soy or look for products with “active soy” which has had those compounds removed.

Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that boost collagen production and cell division. These anti-aging products are great for reducing fine lines and improving skin tone, but oral retinoids are a known cause of birth defects. To be safe, it’s wise to avoid even topical skin care products containing them.

Salicylic acid is in the aspirin family. It is commonly found in acne treatments, creams, cleansers, gels, and toners. It works as an exfoliant, keeping pores clear and preventing breakouts. Like retinoids, salicylic acid has been shown to cause birth defects in its oral form and is best to be avoided.

Manufacturers for both BOTOX and Restylane recommend discontinuing use during pregnancy. If you had treatments before learning you were pregnant, don’t worry. It is unlikely toxin levels would be high enough to cause any harm. Just wait until post-partum to resume injections.

Since many products and ingredients get listed under different names below is a chart to help you sort through them all.



Active soy


Alpha hydroxy acid


Azelaic acid

Benzoyl peroxide

Glycolic acid

Beta hydroxy acid

Lactic acid


Mineral based products


Sulfur based products


Topical vitamin C


Retinoic acid


Retinyl linoleate

Retinyl palmitate

Salicylic acid




Vitamin A derivatives

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