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Pregnancy-safe skincare

Dermatologist Dr Shaaira shares how to look after your skin

Author Dr Shaaira Nasir
Categories   Second Trimester

The Edit

You’re pregnant – congratulations! During each trimester women concentrate on looking after their body’s skin – to reduce stretch marks and take care of a growing bump – with their facial skincare routine often being forgotten about.

With so many hormones racing through your body, pregnancy can lead to a number of skin concerns you’ve never experienced before, from dryness and sensitivity to acne and pigmentation. There’s also lots of uncertainty around what is and isn’t safe to use on your pregnant skin and with so much information out there, it’s easy to misunderstand and feel overwhelmed.

To help you figure out your new skincare routine, I’ve rounded up a list of ingredients to avoid during your pregnancy and some others I swear by.


Ingredients to avoid during pregnancy


This includes retinol, retinoic acid and retinyl palmitate. We know that Isotretinoin, a vitamin A derivative, is known to cause harm to the foetus and can cause birth defects, therefore we recommend avoiding anything you put on your skin containing these ingredients.

Salicylic Acid

This is a beta hydroxy acid best for oily skin and acne prone skin. You should stay clear of high concentrations stronger than 2%. This is an acid chemically similar to aspirin, which can lead to complications and higher rates of miscarriage.


I’d recommend avoiding this ingredient or using it very sparingly. It’s present in whitening creams, and it’s shown to have high levels of absorption. This should only be used with a dermatologist’s approval.

Once you find out you’re pregnant, it’s important to cut the above ingredients out of your skincare routine straight away to limit any possible effects on your body.

Medications like Isotretinoin (Roaccutane/Accutane) should also be stopped at least one month before conceiving.

Now we’ve covered everything you should avoid, let’s talk about what’s safe to use and enhance your pregnancy glow.


Ingredients that are safe during pregnancy

Benzoyl Peroxide

Used in products for acne-prone skin as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory to reduce blackheads and whiteheads. It’s great for attacking the bacteria on your skin, unclogging pores and preventing blockages – ideal if you’re struggling with acne.


Although the word ‘acid’ may sound like something you should steer well clear of, there are lots of acids that have so many benefits for your skin. Glycolic acid and lactic acid can be used as exfoliant to help treat acne-prone skin, as well as in anti-ageing products.

Vitamin C

As an antioxidant in anti-ageing treatments, vitamin C is a great product to add to your skincare regime. It stimulates collagen, helps with acne and sun damage and gives your skin the glow we all crave.


A hero before, during and after pregnancy! It’s super important to wear an SPF all year round regardless of whether you’re pregnant or not to protect yourself from the sun’s UVB rays.

Always seek the advice of a doctor, dermatologist or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding skincare if you're trying to get pregnant, already pregnant or breastfeeding.

Author Dr Shaaira Nasir

As a trained Consultant Dermatologist, Dr Shaaira Nasir sees and treats a wide range of adult skin conditions, with a particular interest in Cosmetic Dermatology. As well as teaching medical students and doctors, her work has also been featured in The Huffington Post, Women's Health and Stylish Magazine. 

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