Skincare Ingredients to avoid during pregnancy

Nine months of pregnancy is known as the most beautiful phase in every woman’s life. Better care for the mother and her body has to be taken. Her skincare routine and products will have to be different during this period. The body goes through several hormonal, immunologic, and metabolic changes during pregnancy that can lead to many skin problems.

Pregnancy can cause unwanted skin issues like melasma(brown patches across the face) and hormonal acne due to the increased androgen levels. Stretch marks caused by the skin stretching in a short span are the most common skin ailments concerned during pregnancy. Most pregnant women are aware that whatever they put in their bodies can affect the well-being of their growing baby.

Just as a healthy diet and active lifestyle are beneficial during pregnancy, avoiding certain beauty products that could be unsafe is also needed. Skin-care products that are linked or subjected to possible risks should be avoided. Ingredients in some beauty and skin-care products can get absorbed into the bloodstream and prove harmful to the developing fetus. There are a handful of ingredients to avoid in a skin-care routine during pregnancy.


These powerful substances are known for anti-ageing, brightening,   acne-fighting benefits, and pigment disorders. Isotretinoin is a vitamin A derivative that can stimulate collagen. Some experts advise pregnant women to stay away from retinoids. Some studies have shown that overexposure to vitamin A derivatives during pregnancy can be harmful to the embryo. Usage of this ingredient during pregnancy can cause birth defects and bone abnormalities for developing babies. 

Products with these ingredients include Avita (tretinoin), Retin-A, Renova (tretinoin), Retinoic acid, Retinol, Retinyl linoleate, Retinyl palmitate must be avoided.



Hydroquinone lightens dark spots and reduces skin pigmentation that occurs from melasma. Its molecular size and weight can easily penetrate deep into the skin and may be harmful to the fetus. Research says that approximately 30-40% of this chemical is absorbed by the body which on reaching the bloodstream can harm a developing fetus. Vitamin C and niacinamide can be used which offer similar benefits. But it’s best to limit exposure or avoid it during pregnancy can cause many side effects. 


Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is the most common Beta hydroxy acid(BHA) found in cleansers, exfoliators, body washes, and acne spot treatment helps in exfoliation and decongesting pores. Research says that high doses of the acid in its oral form cause birth defects and various pregnancy complications. Salicylic acid can get absorbed into the bloodstream, which is unsafe for the developing fetus. Safe alternative ingredients such as witch hazel and products containing sulfur. Doctors also recommend avoiding excessive or frequent use of skin products containing BHAs, as little amount of BHA applied on the skin would be absorbed.



Besides protecting your skin from the sun at all times, usage of certain chemical ingredients in everyday sunscreen are likely to cause harm to the baby’s development. Oxybenzone and its derivatives are the most frequently used UV filters in the sunscreens available in the market. This chemical is responsible for disrupting hormones and causing permanent damage to the mother and unborn baby. This chemical poses a risk to get absorbed into the bloodstream, which can directly affect the health of the fetus. Thus causing developmental problems and birth defects and low birth weights. During pregnancy, for extra precaution, it is safe to use mineral sunscreen products that use titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Both the ingredients never enter through intact skin, have no adverse effects on humans, and give protection.


Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is used in skin care products for acne treatment by reducing acne-causing bacteria. This ingredient may be a risk to the fetus, as its high concentration can inflame the skin, shifting blood flow away from the baby.  Instead, it’s safe to use tea tree oil during pregnancy to rid the skin of bacteria.



Toluene is commonly used in nail polish and hair dye. The Environmental Working Group has listed it as one of the most toxic cosmetic ingredients. This ingredient causes developmental damage to a growing fetus as well as issues in the nervous system such as breathing difficulties, and respiratory problems. 

During these nine months of pregnancy, staying hydrated all the time prevents skin from drying out and gives a glow to the face. Consult a dermatologist and discuss the safety of your skincare products or about a pre-existing skin condition. It is better to scan the list of skin-care ingredients or go through the reviews of the product before use. It is also suggested to use skin-care products that are meant for the use of pregnant women.

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