If you’re looking for pregnancy-safe skincare, we can help.
You know that what you put on your skin can absorb into the bloodstream, where it could make its way to the developing fetus.
That’s why it’s important to be particularly careful while you’re pregnant to choose only safe skincare products.
We are often asked if our CV Skinlabs products are safe during pregnancy. The answer is YES! Not only are our products safe to use (absolutely no harmful ingredients and proven to soothe and reduce skin dryness, redness and irritation), they also help with common issues that arise during pregnancy.
We’ll talk more below about how you can use our products to take care of itchy belly, dryness, stretchmarks, breakouts, rashes, sensitivity, discoloration and more.
Pregnancy-Safe Skincare: Ingredients to Avoid
Being pregnant can make your skin react in unusual ways. You may not have suffered from acne before, but now you’re breaking out. Or maybe you have more sensitive skin than you used to. Or you’re noticing more irritation, redness, and hyperpigmentation.
Women experience many changes during pregnancy, which can lead to skin issues like acne and irritation. This can drive you to try different skincare products to address these issues. But it’s best to be cautious.
In a 2011 study, scientists noted a few ingredients that are definite no-nos while pregnant. These included:
This is a lightening product often recommended to women who may be suffering from melasma—a type of hyperpigmentation related to hormonal changes. But hydroquinone, according to the scientists, has a “relatively high systemic absorption rate.” That means that it can sink into your bloodstream and affect the developing fetus, so it’s best to avoid it.
We recommend you avoid hydroquinone anyway, as it can cause dryness and other types of skin damage over time.
This is a strong form of vitamin A that is sometimes prescribed for severe acne. The evidence is mixed on its ability to absorb into the bloodstream, but scientists recommend avoiding it during pregnancy.
Doctors and scientists are likely to advise pregnant women to avoid other types of retinoids as well, including:
- Retinoic acid
- Retinyl linoleate
- Retinyl palmitate
Though we have little evidence that these other retinoids would get into the bloodstream and harm a fetus, because of the concerns about tretinoin, it’s safest to avoid these ingredients while pregnant.
Pregnancy-Safe Skincare: Other Ingredients to Use with Caution
In addition to the ingredients listed above, doctors also recommend that pregnant women use caution with hydroxy acids. Though there is little evidence these would harm an unborn child—many have not been studied during pregnancy—there are a small number of studies finding that high doses of hydroxy acids in oral form could cause birth defects and pregnancy complications.
Of course, you’d be using these ingredients topically, so your rate of absorption would be far lower. But just to be super cautious, consider avoiding the following ingredients.
This is the most common beta hydroxy acid you’ll find in skincare products, as it helps to exfoliate skin and reduce acne breakouts. Oral salicylic acid is not safe during pregnancy, so it’s best to avoid repeated topical applications as well. Using small amounts applied to the skin and washed off—such as with a salicylic acid cleanser—is considered safe.
Products containing these acids should also be used only in small amounts:
- Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs)
- Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs)
- Glycolic acid
- Lactic acid
- Other types of acids
Phthalates are hormone-disrupting chemicals found in many beauty and personal care products, including perfumes, hairsprays, and nail polishes. In animal studies, exposure to these chemicals has been linked with serious reproductive harm.
We have only a few human studies to support this connection, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics are both studying these ingredients to determine their potential role in affecting reproductive health. When shopping for your beauty products, look for those labeled “phthalate-free.”
Pregnancy-Safe Skincare: Hair-Removal Products
Lotions that chemically remove your hair (depilatories) or that minimize hair between shaves may be convenient, but during pregnancy, you may find that your skin becomes sensitive to them.
Fortunately, these products are still safe to use, so if you’re not having any trouble with them, feel free to continue using them. But if you notice an allergic skin reaction—and your skin turns red or develops a rash—it’s best to avoid them.
Before slathering your whole leg with the product, do a small patch test first and wait 24 hours to make sure your skin still accepts it. If not, the safest method of hair removal is shaving. Use a thick shave cream or gel and maintain a gentle touch on the razor. Then follow up with our Rescue + Relief Spray. Like all of our CV Skinlabs products, it’s safe for use during pregnancy and can help soothe and soften skin after shaving.
Pregnancy-Safe Skincare: Sunscreens
What about sunscreens? Are they safe to use during pregnancy?
Our recommendation is to use only titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These are so-called “physical” sunblocks that help protect your skin from the sun without sinking into the skin and moving to the bloodstream.
Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, include chemical ingredients that do absorb into the skin. These include oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, and avobenzone. According to a recent study published in 2019, oxybenzone may be linked to newborn health issues.
Oxybenzone absorbs ultraviolet rays and is used in about 70 percent of sunscreen products. We know that it disrupts hormones and that it’s small enough to penetrate the skin and the placenta barrier. In this recent study, scientists noted that having medium to high levels of oxybenzone in the urine was associated with giving birth to babies with Hirschsprung’s Disease (HSCR).
This is a condition that affects the colon and causes problems with passing stool. Laboratory testing in human cell lines also confirmed that low levels of oxybenzone had the potential to disrupt cell migration and function in a manner similar to that associated with HSCR.
It’s best to avoid these and stick to zinc oxide instead.
Look for paraben-free and fragrance-free sunscreens, as these are the most gentle and non-irritating on the skin, and don’t contain harsh chemicals that could sink into the bloodstream.
Pregnancy-Safe Skincare: What About Makeup?
The same ingredients that you’re avoiding in your skincare products may also show up in your makeup products. Check the labels and be sure your products don’t contain the following:
- Fragrance chemicals
- Chemical sunscreens
- Salicylic acid or other acids (particularly in products that remain on your face like foundation and concealer)
If you want to be extra cautious, choose minerals-only makeup lines. These use ingredients that primarily sit on top of the skin and don’t sink in.
CV Skinlabs Products are All Pregnancy-Safe!
Outside of the ingredients listed above, most others are considered safe to use during pregnancy. It’s best to read the labels and choose products that have non-toxic ingredients in them.
We’re happy to share that all of our CV Skinlabs products are completely safe for use during pregnancy. We have only non-toxic ingredients that are mom and baby-approved.
What pregnancy-safe skincare products do you use?