All posts by Marie Bertrand

Vitamins & Skin Care ~ 13 Essentials for your Skin


Vitamins (vita in latin means “life”) are micronutrients that are required for cell development, growth and overall optimal function. Some nutrients cannot be fully synthesized by the human body – that’s why we need vitamins, through diet and supplementation.

Just like you need different exercises to keep your body (and mind) healthy, you also need different vitamins to keep your skin healthy ~ supplements, diet, infusion, topical products, procedures – a multi-faceted approach will ensure your skin stays at its prime, ages gracefully and remains as healthy as possible, for as long as possible.


Think about this ~ your skin is the last organ reached by the vitamins you ingest through diet and supplementation, so you need to complement topically (directly on the skin) with specific vitamins to achieve healthy skin (and a higher vitamin concentration), particularly as you age. Knowing that vitamins can be absorbed through the skin, you can also feed your skin with well-balanced (and Marie approved ;)) skincare products.


Thirteen vitamins are required for healthy cell metabolism:

  1. Vitamin A (retinol, retinal, retinoic acid, tretinoin, retinal palmitate, and several provitamin A carotenoids)
  2. Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
  3. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  4. Vitamin B3 (niacin, niacinamide)
  5. Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
  6. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
  7. Vitamin B7 (biotin)
  8. Vitamin B9 (folic acid or folate)
  9. Vitamin B12 (cobalamins)
  10. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid, ascorbate)
  11. Vitamin D (calciferols)
  12. Vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols)
  13. Vitamin K (quinones). 


Soluble in oil or water?


Vitamins are classified as either water-soluble (“happy in water”) or fat-soluble (“happy in oil”). 13 vitamins are essential to good health: 4 fat-soluble (vitamins A, D, E, and K) and 9 water-soluble (8 B vitamins and vitamin C), although some forms of topical vitamin C can also be oil-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins dissolve easily in water and are excreted from the body if too much is consumed. Because they are not as readily stored, more consistent intake is important. Oil-soluble vitamins are absorbed through the intestinal tract with the help of fats. Vitamins A and D can accumulate in the body, which can result in dangerous hypervitaminosis, so consult with your doctor before starting supplements in order to have the best dosage.


Fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E, K


Vitamin A // Retinoids


Names: Retinol, Retinal, Retinaldehyde, Tretinoin, Retinoid acid, Retinol Palmitate, Provitamin A, Carotenoids, Beta-carotene.

Sources: Supplement, diet and topical


Topical vitamin A products are sensitive to oxygen and this means cosmetic preparations should be packaged in a metal tube or airless pump, not be applied at daytime with the risk to be exposed in the sun, and cause increased skin sensitivity.


Topical retinoids are used to improve:

  • large pores
  • oiliness
  • blackheads and comedones
  • active acne 
  • fine lines and wrinkles
  • sun damage

Product Recommendations:

  • SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3%
  • SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5%
  • DermaQuest Retexture Serum (1.0%)
  • Differin (available under prescription)
  • Tactuo (available under prescription)
  • RetinA Micro (available under prescription)

It is recommended to start topical vitamin A products with the lowest dose, once to twice a week, and then slowly increase the concentration and frequency of application. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not use topical vitamin A, and should wait until after they are done breastfeeding. Please consult with your doctor before starting a topical vitamin A skin regimen.


Vitamin D


Names: Cholecalciferol (D3), Ergocalciferol (D2), Calcitriol

Sources: Oral Supplement, Diet


Health Canada explicitly bans the OTC use of vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). However this does not apply to calcitriol, a prescription that can be beneficial for psoriasis patients. A whole series of interesting effects in the skin are described in the context of vitamin D. Once again, consult with your doctor to see if this is right for you.


Vitamin E


As a natural antioxidant, vitamin E occurs in all unsaturated vegetable oils. The outstanding physiological function of this vitamin lies in the protection of oxygen sensitive cellular components such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. In the cosmetic field, vitamin E and its derivatives are primarily used to replenish and protect other vitamins, add an antioxidant effect to a formula and improve the preservative system.

Names: Tocopherols, Tocotrienols, Tocopheryl Acetate.

Sources: Supplement, diet, topical


Topical vitamin E derivatives are used to improve:

  • Antioxidant effects and free radical scavenger activity.
  • Protection of vitamin A and its derivatives.
  • Replenishing vitamin C activity.
  • The free radical scavenger features also naturally involve a reduction of the stress caused by UV radiation. The same applies to inflammatory processes.
  • Stimulation of cell formation (epithelisation)
  • The moisture retention capacity of the skin.


Examples of well balanced vitamin E-containing skin care products:

  • SkinCeutical CE Ferulic
  • SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF
  • DermaQuest C Infusion Serum
  • DermaQuest Radiant Skin Oil
  • Aliquote Skin SensiCalm Lotion


Vitamin K


Names: Phylloquinone, Menaquinones, phytonadione (vitamin K1)

Sources: Diet, topical


Topically applied, phytonadione stabilizes the capillary system, minimizes bruising, speeds up healing of bruises, decreases the appearance of dark circles and helps firm the skin. That is why vitamin K1 (phytonadione) can also be used to treat rosacea, couperosis and dark circles.


Water-soluble vitamins: B (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12) and C (ascorbic acid)


The different classes of B vitamins are:

• Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

• Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

• Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

• Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

• Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

• Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

• Vitamin B9 (Folate/Folic Acid)

• Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)


Vitamin B1


Vitamin B1, also known as Thiamin, is known as the ‘anti-stress’ vitamin and is heavily involved in the functioning of the nervous system. A deficiency in vitamin B1 can massively effect the skin as it can cause hyper sensitivity and make the skin more sensitive to products, external aggressors and climate – leading to redness, acne or dry, flaky skin, as well as causing the lips to dry and crack.


Name: Thiamine

Sources: B Complex Supplement, diet

Vitamin B1 It is vital in the metabolism of oxygen. It has the property to lessen the appearance of bags and dark circles under the eyes diminishing and delaying premature ageing. It is often used in combination with other B vitamins, it can be found in vitamin B complex products and is essential for skin regeneration and increasing collagen production. 


Vitamin B2


Vitamin B2, also known as Riboflavin, plays an extremely important role in the maintenance of healthy, glowing skin. Riboflavin maintains the growth of tissues to ensure healthy cell turnover for a bright, radiant complexion.

Name: Riboflavin

Sources: B Complex Supplement, Diet


Riboflavin is important to the connective tissues, it’s used as an ingredient in skincare products because of its ability to benefit the skin, hair and nails. Riboflavin speeds the healing of wounds and burns and is used to treat rosacea and related problems by improving the skin’s secretion of mucus, according to the Nutritional Supplement Bible.


Vitamin B3 // Niacinamide


Vitamin B3 is one of the best forms of the B vitamins for your skin. Also known as Niacin, Vitamin B3 can help to improve the condition of the skin, helping to treat rosacea, acne, eczema, dermatitis, hyper pigmentation, sun-damaged, aging and dry skin – so it’s a must-have vitamin for healthy, glowing skin!

Name: Niacin, Niacinamide, Nicotinamide riboside      

Sources: B Complex Supplement, Diet, Topical


This vitamin works to prevent water loss and moisturizing the skin. It’s also studied to increase keratin. When it comes to wrinkles, niacinamide improves the surface structure, helping smooth out skin’s texture and delay the aging process while evening out pigment. It’s the ULTIMATE multi-tasking vitamin!

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Our favourite Vitamin B3 // Niacinamide product:

  • DermaQuest Niacinamide Youth Serum

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Vitamin B5


Vitamin B5 also helps to heal and protect the skin, to reduce inflammation and redness while strengthening the skin barrier, making it perfect for acne-prone skin. Studies have shown that Pantothenic Acid can reduce the skin’s formation of oil to regulate and maintain optimum oil levels to reduce the formation of acne.

Name: Pantothenic acid 

Sources: B Complex Supplement, Diet, Topical


In the cosmetic field sometimes the calcium salt (Calcium Pantothenate) is used, but more often the easily skin surface penetrating provitamin (D-Panthenol) is preferred which after going into the skin is transformed into pantothenic acid. 

Fields of application are:

  • skin hydration
  • treatment of inflammatory processes
  • cell formation and epithelization
  • suppression of itching and redness
  • hair cures, deeply moisturizing 


Recommended products:

  • DermaQuest Essential B5 Serum
  • SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel


Vitamin B6


Vitamin B6, also known as Pyridoxine, is required by the body for the development of red blood cells, cell production and protein metabolism, which assists with the growth and repair of the skin cells. Vitamin B6 can also help to regulate some of the hormone irregularities which can cause acne flare ups, to keep your skin clear and acne-free, especially during menstruation, as well as reducing the inflammation that co-exists with acne flare ups to leave you with calm, clear skin.

Name: Pyridoxine, Pyridoxamine, Pyridoxal  

Sources: B Complex Supplement, Diet, Topical


Vitamin B6 deficiencies lead to various forms of dermatitis. Normally the hydrochloride of pyridoxine is used in skin care products. Vitamin B6 can also help in regulating hormonal problems which can cause acne breakouts, keeping your skin clear from acne.  Additionally, vitamin B6 has long been considered to have an important role in amino acids metabolism as a coenzyme.


Vitamin B7 // Biotin


Vitamin B7 is more commonly known as Biotin and is essential for the healthy growth and repair of cells and synthesis of fatty acids and amino acids within the body. Biotin helps to revitalize the skin and even out the complexion while combatting the harmful effects of free radicals on the skin as well as maintaining the skin’s production of fats to encourage a plump, hydrated complexion that’s less prone to the early signs of aging.

Name: Biotin

Sources: B Complex Supplement, Diet


Vitamin B7 is a key component in the enzymes of the amino acid and fatty acid metabolism. Deficiencies lead to growth disturbances of the hair, nails and the skin. Consequences are loss of hair and dermatitis. To avoid causing breakouts you need to make sure that you don’t have an excess amounts of biotin. If you’re taking supplements, skip the pure biotin if you have problematic skin.


Vitamin B9


Vitamin B9 is more commonly known as Folic Acid and is an essential B vitamin for cell production and tissue growth, ensuring optimum cell turnover for healthy, radiant skin. Vitamin B9 also helps to detox the body, in turn, reducing the occurrence of breakouts and acne. Folic acid also contributes to glowing, healthy skin that looks clear, plump and radiant.

Name: Folates, Folic acid

Sources: B Complex Supplement, Multivitamin, Diet 


Vitamin B12


Just like all of the vitamin B complex; vitamin B12 has another name – Cobalamin. Vitamin B12 helps to regulate the production of pigment in the skin, helping to prevent dark spots and pigmentation. Cobalamin also assists the body with the metabolism of  protein which, in turn, promotes the growth of healthy skin cells and helps to repair damaged skin.

Name: Cyanocobalamin, Hydroxocobalamin, Methylcobalamin, Adenosylcobalamin.

Sources: B Complex Supplement, Diet, Infusion


Vitamin C // water-soluble and oil-soluble


When added to your daily routine, vitamin C provides a range of benefits, from evening out your skin tone, shielding skin from the visible impacts of pollution, significantly improving hydration, and keeping your skin looking younger, longer!

Name: Ascorbic acid, L-ascorbic acid (water-soluble), tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (oil-soluble), ascorbyl palmitate, magnesium ascorbyl palmitate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, calcium ascorbate, sodium ascorbate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate.

Sources: Supplement, Diet, Infusion, Topical


Fields of application of vitamin C:

  • Creates a brighter, more luminous complexion. 
  • Evens out skin tone by reducing transfer of pigment to epidermal cells.
  • Diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by helping build collagen in the upper dermis.
  • Works as an antioxidant to fight free radicals during the day when used under a sunscreen.
  • Is also a cofactor in the production of collagen and elastin, increasing production of both when applied. 
  • Reduces redness and inflammation associated with rosacea.


Recommended vitamin C containing products:

  • Aliquote Skin HydraGlow Mist
  • Aliquote Skin Fresh Complexion Polisher
  • Aliquote Skin Advanced Youth Complex
  • DermaQuest C Infusion Cleanser
  • DermaQuest C Infusion Serum


Vitamins are important for healthy skin but the lifestyle and habits you have on a daily basis can also influence vitamin absorption, and ultimately their bio-availability. A poor diet, stress, lack of exercise, smoking, environmental pollution, prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can deplete your vitamins and minerals and ultimately have a negative effect on your health and skin.

At SkinScience, we believe in fully customized skin care solutions – so if you are wondering which vitamin-containing skin care products you should be using, we’d be happy to educate you on the best options based on the latest scientific discoveries.

Ready to start your journey to healthy skin? We’d love to meet you!


Dry or Dehydrated ~ Does Your Skin Need Oil or Water?

Did you know that facial oils don’t hydrate? You read that right!

A healthy skin barrier is essential to healthy skin. Without it, your skin can become sensitive, reactive, flaking and uncomfortable. Even the best skin care products might not give you relief, if you don’t find the optimal [oil:water] balance your skin specifically longs for to be strong and healthy. 

But the great debate persists: “In order for our skin to be comfortable, do we need to add more oils or more water to our routine? Why do we still feel like our skin is dry and tight even when we drink 2L of water each day?”

The answer lies in 1) clearly defining your skin type, and 2) figuring out your skin hydration levels. When you have those 2 variables figured out, you will be able to figure out which ingredients (and product texture) will be appropriate to YOU, to restore a healthy skin barrier and balance out your skin. 

The following table explains the differences between a SKIN TYPE (based on the natural amount of oils your skin produces) and dehydration, a SKIN CONDITION of the skin that relates to water (or lack thereof) in the epidermis.


Table 1: Skin types vs. Dehydrated Skin Condition

In other words:



> the process of causing something to absorb water.




> the process of making (something, especially the skin) less dry by adding lipids and oils.



Defining your skin type is easy – if you start with the right definitions. Remember that a skin type is based on the OIL PRODUCTION and that dehydration is based on the WATER CONTENT of the epidermis. 


Generally speaking, here is the usual presentation of different skin types:


  • No oiliness during the day
  • Skin feels tight and lacks radiance
  • Flakiness 
  • Invisible pores


  • May have mild oiliness on the nose at the end of the day
  • Skin feels normal
  • No flakiness present
  • Small pores on nose and cheeks


  • Oiliness present in tzone during (or at the end of) the day
  • Skin feels comfortable
  • Large pores in tzone only (forehead, nose, chin)
  • Blackheads, “bumps” and acne may be present


  • Oiliness present all over during (or at the end of) the day
  • Skin looks shiny and client reports having to “blot” skin multiple times per day
  • Large pores all over the face
  • Blackheads, “bumps” and acne may be present



As previously mentioned, skin dehydration relates to WATER levels in the skin. Water is essential to all living cells, including skin cells, but drinking 2L of water per day is not enough to ensure hydrated skin. The dermis is composed of 95% of water (and the whole body 70%) so the problem isn’t the water we drink / don’t drink throughout the day, the problem lies in the CAPACITY of the skin to RETAIN WATER in the epidermis. Like little water magnets we would apply on the surface of the skin, that would attract water (from the environment, and from evaporation from the deep dermis).


Table 2: Dehydrated vs Hydrated Skin



While dehydrated skin can be a nuisance, it’s relatively easy to treat with the right skin care and lifestyle changes. If you are experiencing the following skin symptoms, you skin is likely to be dehydrated:

  • Paper-thin looking skin surface
  • Feelings of tightness (especially after cleansing)
  • Increased skin sensitivity
  • Fine lines on the cheeks and around the eyes, vertical fine lines on the forehead
  • Skin looks dull and thirsty
  • Flaky skin can sometimes be present




1. Treatment begins from the inside out to replenish and maintain hydration throughout the body.

Drinking 2L of water per day will help, but if you combine it with a high-quality collagen powder, you’ll see even better results! 


Here are a few highly pure collagen powders we recommend at the clinic: (click on the products for more info)

TruMarine Collagen Powder (2-pack, 50 servings)

TruMarine Collagen Powder (20 X 5g sticks)

ReHydrate + Collagen Powder (10 sticks) // this one has added electrolytes, and great for post-workout


Collagen not only helps with whole body and skin hydration, but it also helps strenghten hair, nails and joints! It’s a MUST HAVE in your daily routine – add it to your shake, your water bottle, your coffee, you’ll see results within weeks. 


2. The second step involves lifestyle changes:

  • Start your day with a tall glass of water, before drinking coffee or eating breakfast. 
  • Increase your water intake if under 2L per day. (add mint, cucumber and lemon slices to make it more fun and palatable to drink throughout the day)
  • Reduce salt and sodium-rich foods
  • Reduce (or stop) alcohol and caffeine
  • Avoid smoking
  • Improve diet by reducing sugar, dairy, gluten and bad fats, while increasing green leafy vegetables, fruits and nuts.
  • Avoid overexfoliating with harsh scrubs and sonic cleaning brushes.
  • Avoid alcohol-based toners and serums.
  • Protect your skin before you go outside as UVA can promote skin dehydration. UVA is the main factor that can affect our skin, increase the ageing process, increase oxidants in the skin, dehydrate it and increase free radicals in the cells, damaging the skin.
  • Invest in a water-softener to reduce the mineral content of hard water (like we have in Calgary). Hard water contains limestone, which can remove water from the skin. If purchasing a water-softener is not a possibility, you can have a shower every day, but make it a short shower, and stick to water that’s warm rather than hot. Hot showers and baths can make the skin more dehydrated.
  • Also note that some medications that can alter water absorption and you should always discuss if you’re experiencing a side-effect with your doctor.


The third step involves choosing the appropriate ingredients to rehydrate the skin (aka water magnets) while choosing the right product texture that’s adapted to your skin type. 

  • Aloe serves the double purpose of hydrating the skin while soothing and replenishing important minerals into the skin. We love aloe vera!
  • Hyaluronic acid (HA) comes in different forms, from high molecular weight to low molecular weight. We also love HA as it is the most popular water-binding ingredient in the market – and it WORKS!!
  • Add a HA serum to your skin routine – fastest way to regain much needed hydration to your skin – and make sure you apply your skin care products on DAMP skin. You want to lock in the moisture, so use a thermal water, or a facial mist before you apply your serums, lotions and moisturizers. 
  • Choose your product texture appropriately: dry skin (lacking oils) should choose heavier moisturizers, while oily skin (overproducing oils) should go for lighter textures (think light lotions, not to clog pores). Using a light lotion on dry skin will not give it enough comfort, while using heavier creams on oily skin might clog it and lead to acne. 
  • No matter your skin type, always use a HA-containing serum underneath your lotion/ moisturizer.


In other words, you can have:

  • Dry (skin type) and Dehydrated (skin condition) skin
  • Normal and Dehydrated skin
  • Combination and Dehydrated skin
  • Oily and Dehydrated skin

But you cannot be dry (skin type, no oil) and oily (skin type, too much oil) at the same time. If you have some oiliness at the end of the day and your skin feels tight and is flaking, chances are high you have  a combination or oily skin type  AND dehydrated skin condition.



Ingredients to look for: nut or seed oils (such as coconut, olive, almond, sunflower, hemp), plant oils (jojoba, rose, tea tree), mango butter, shea butter, triglycerides, cholesterol, fatty acid, squalane, ceramides.

**Click on product for more info**


Aliquote Skin Cashmere Cream Cleanser

DermaQuest Nourishing Peptide Cream

DermaQuest Nourishing Peptide Rich

Aliquote Skin HydraBright Complex

SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore

DermaQuest Radiant Skin Oil (to mix with your favorite moisturizer for added comfort)



Ingredients to look for: aloe, hyaluronic acid, hyaluronan, honey.

**Click on product for more info**


Aliquote Skin Detox Micellar Gelee Cleanser

Aliquote Skin HydraGlow Mist

DermaQuest Essential B5 Serum (40% HA)

DermaQuest Essential B5 Moisture Matte

DermaQuest Niacinamide Youth Serum

DermaQuest Stem Cell 3D HydraFirm Serum

SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 gel 

SkinCeuticals HA Intensifier


As you can see, there are a lot of healthy skin options! 

If you want to find out more about your skin, and the optimal skin products you should be using, contact us today at 403-287-1477 and let’s book you in for your personalized 1-hour consultation.

We will build a customized short and long term plan to ensure your skin remains as healthy as possible, for as long as possible. Namaste!

Changing the Face of Skin Care ~ An Interview with Kelly George, RN and Business Owner Extraordinaire


Marie’s 23 Questions are designed to raise the profile of experts in the skincare and cosmetic industry.


The skincare field and beauty industry is often known to be superficial; at SkinScience, we want to shine a light on leaders who are authentic and those who bring depth while raising awareness of what they do and who they really are.


Kelly George is the Founder of Kelly George Aesthetics.  In just 3 years Kelly George Aesthetics has become one of the leading skin and anti-ageing destination of its kind. Kelly has successfully built her brand and seen rapid growth within her business. Kelly’s career in the medical aesthetics industry started in 2006 within a marketing role for one of the top pharmaceutical companies.   


Now, as a Registered Cosmetic Nurse, Kelly has more than 12 years’ experience in the industry.  She has successfully combined her business and marketing abilities with her clinical skills to drive what is considered one of the most successful anti-ageing clinics in Australia.


Follow Kelly George

  • Instagram: @kellygeorgeaesthetics
  • Website


Kelly George answers Marie’s 23 Questions 


1. In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing the cosmetic skincare industry?

Social Media – people with very little knowledge can present themselves as “experts”. Consumers don’t know who’s reputable and who’s not. Don’t believe everything you see on Instagram!


2. Name one thing on your bucket list.

Living in New York City for a period.


3. Do you have any regrets in your life, what are they?

Bleaching my hair when I was 17! Yellow hair was not a good look on me.


4. What is your greatest extravagance?

Champagne. I never buy sparkling wine. It doesn’t need to be a special occasion for champagne in our house!


5. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?  

“Literally”. I also terribly overuse exclamation marks in texts!


6. What is your current state of mind?

Excited – I’m sitting in the Qantas Business Lounge waiting to board a flight to LA!


7. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Wear Sunscreen – not just on your face, hands get old too!


8. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Being in a CLEAN room, on a comfy lounge, with my hubby, both my kids, my dogs, a bottle of champagne and an Adam Sandler movie playing in the background.


9. What is your greatest fear?

Not being able to protect my kids from the world if ever necessary.  


10. Which historical figure would you most like to meet?

Princess Diana.


11. Which living person do you most admire?

My 11-year old son – he is the kindest person you’ll ever meet.


12. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’d like to stress less.


13. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Creating the life I have – which is the life I always wanted growing up.


14. What do you most value in your friends?

That they understand I’m busy, but know I still love them.


15. Who are your heroes in real life?

The doctors from “Botched” (@drdubrow, @drpaulnassif) – I would work for them for free just to be in their presence!!


16. What is your motto?

No-one needs to frown!


17. Describe yourself in one word.



18. What is your favorite skincare product?



19. What excites you about your career?

Helping people! When a patient has suffered from a serious skin condition for years and I can resolve it, it is genuinely life changing for them and I LOVE being able to do that for people.


20. How do you relax after a stressful day?

A glass of wine and my dogs on my lap.


21. How does your background shape your outlook?

My background is the reason for my drive and determination, and because of my background – my goals are big!


22. What is your favorite part about being a business owner?

Creating a brand and a culture within my clinic that everyone loves – people always say they love coming to the clinic because it “makes them feel good”. That’s what I envisaged and I’ve made it happen.


23. What do you look for in the people you hire?

There are so many things that can be taught, but you can’t teach honesty, reliability and passion – so those things are a must!


Essential Oils and Pregnancy: Which ones are safe, How to use them and Which ones to Avoid


Disclaimer: SkinScience Clinic has always taken a conservative stand when it comes to pregnancy, breastfeeding and skin care. Essential oils contain powerful actives, and we recommend that you consult with your doctor first, before using any type of essential oils. Clinical studies addressing the safety of essential oils in pregnancy are scarce, due to the ethical problems with testing substances on pregnant women and their fetuses. For this reason, scientific literature primarily relies on history of safe use, recognizing that some pregnant women will be more sensitive to essential oils than others, based on their genetic differences. If you are pregnant or lactating, please consult with your doctor before using any product containing essential oils.



Many women seek out natural remedies during pregnancy because they want to avoid taking medications or using anything that is toxic on their skin or in their diet. Essential oils (EO) can help with certain pregnancy symptoms, aches, even with severe discomfort in some cases, but some of them shouldn’t be used while pregnant or breastfeeding.  Before you use your favorite essential oil, get informed on which EOs are safe for your little one.


Essential oils have become a very popular choice with women looking for alternative ways to ease the uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy (nausea, morning sickness, muscle aches, back ache, stuffy nose, sleep problems, etc.). The latest report by Value Market Research claims the Global Essential Oil Market was valued $7,200M USD in 2017 and is likely to reach at $12,745.02 MN USD by 2024. 

The EO trend is here to stay, so better get informed – knowledge is power when it comes to EOs!



When it comes to using essential oils during pregnancy:


Skip the First Trimester Altogether – no EOs

Second + Third Trimester, Breastfeeding – pick your EOs carefully

Source: Mayo Clinic


Just like EOs’ actives can pass through the layers of skin, some essential oil components may pass into the bloodstream all the way to the placenta (or breastmilk while breastfeeding) where they could affect the growing baby and its development. There is still a lot to learn on how essential oils might impact pregnancy. There is very little scientific data about the specific (cellular and molecular) mechanisms of EOs, so better safe than sorry.



As long as your pregnancy is going well, the following essential oils are regarded as generally safe by the scientific community when used as recommended, during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters:


  • Bergamot – Citrus bergamia
  • Cardamom
  • Chamomile – Chamomilla recutita, Chamaemelum nobile
  • Cypress – Cupressus sempervirens
  • Eucalyptus
  • Frankincense – Boswellia carterii
  • Geranium – Pelargonium graveolens
  • Ginger Root – Zingiber officinale
  • Lavender – Lavandula angustifolia
  • Lemon
  • Peppermint
  • Rose – Rosa damascena
  • Spearmint
  • Sandalwood – Santalum album
  • Ylang Ylang – Cananga odorata genuina



The International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists has created guidelines on using essential oils safely when pregnant. They recommend limiting EO use to two most common way of administration: inhalation and topical.


It is best to AVOID INGESTING essential oils until you are done breastfeeding.

Source: WebMD



Pregnancy brings on many side effects, and a common one is a heightened sense of smell. You may love some scents and absolutely hate others, so choose an oil that is not only safe, but isn’t overbearing for you. Inhalation using a diffuser can be especially effective for pregnant women suffering from nausea and sleep issues. If you have a diffuser, make sure you’re following safe diffusion guidelines, as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.



Essential Oils for nausea and morning sickness:

  • Ginger
  • Cardamom
  • Spearmint
  • Peppermint 
  • Lavender

Essential Oils for calmness and to reduce anxiety

  • Lavender
  • Rose
  • Sandalwood
  • Vanilla
  • Ylang Ylang

Essential Oils to Clear Sinuses

  • Peppermint
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemon

Essential Oils to reduce Swelling and Water Retention

  • Lavender
  • Ginger
  • Geranium

Essential Oils for Heartburn

  • Peppermint
  • Sandalwood
  • Chamomile
  • Ginger

Essential Oils for Energizing

  • Citrus
  • Grapefruit
  • Mandarin
  • Peppermint
  • Lemon
  • Spearmint
  • Sweet Orange



Your skin may be even more sensitive when you’re pregnant, so diluting EOs is especially important to avoid irritation. Never apply pure essential oils directly on the skin while pregnant. Use 3-4 drops of essential oil for every ounce (30ml) of your favorite base (oil, lotion or moisturizer). 

Essential Oils to prevent Stretch marks: 

  • Frankincense
  • Rose
  • Chamomile

Essential Oils to promote Sleep: 

  • Lavender 
  • Frankincense
  • Ylang Ylang



Essential oils are highly concentrated, and have various levels of toxicity when not used properly. Don’t assume it’s safe because it’s natural, and be aware that not all essential oil companies test their oils for quality. 

The medical literature reports that some essential oils appear to interfere with hormone behavior in the cells, and scientists suspect that some EOs may work as endocrine disruptors. Some EOs can also interact with medications, or cause an allergic or toxic reaction. Others can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, provoke skin rashes, allergies, racing heart, vomiting, seizure and even contractions. Essential oils can be powerful, so it’s better to be extra-uber-ultra safe than sorry.


The following ESSENTIAL OILS are believed to be UNSAFE for use during pregnancy:

  • Arnica
  • Basil
  • Birch (sweet)
  • Bitter almond
  • Boldo leaf
  • Broom
  • Buchu
  • Calamus
  • Camphor (brown or yellow)
  • Cassia
  • Cedarwood
  • Chervil
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove (bud, leaf or stem)
  • Coriander
  • Costus
  • Deertongue
  • Elecampane
  • Fennel
  • Horseradish
  • Hyssop
  • Jaborandi leaf
  • Juniper berry
  • Melilotus
  • Mugwort
  • Mustard
  • Nutmeg
  • Origanum
  • Parsley (large doses)
  • Pennyroyal
  • Pine (dwarf)
  • Rosemary
  • Rue
  • Sassafras
  • Savin
  • Savory (summer)
  • Tansy
  • Thyme red (large doses)
  • Tonka
  • Wintergreen
  • Wormwood



  1. Do not use EOs during your the 1st trimester of your pregnancy.
  2. Some EOs can be used during the 2nd and 3rd trimester. 
  3. Never ingest EOs (even diluted) during pregnancy and lactation (breastfeeding)
  4. The best ways to use EOs during pregnancy and lactation is topically and by using a diffuser.
  5. When using a diffuser, only use it for 10-15 minutes at a time, for a maximum of 3 times per day.
  6. When used topically – less is more when it comes to EOs. Always dilute a few drops (3-4) in a carrier oil (30ml of grapeseed, coconut, olive or almond oil).
  7. Avoid using absolutes.
  8. NEVER add essential oils to the birthing pool.
  9. Only use EOs that are approved by your doctor.



Here are a few skin care products (as well as Canadian-made essential oils) that are safe to use during pregnancy (and recommended by Marie):


Pregnancy is a wonderful time in a woman’s life, where a healthy diet, lifestyle and skin care can contribute to a healthy pregnancy. It’s also a time where we can experience skin changes (unfortunately, not everyone gets that coveted pregnancy glow), including sensitive skin, itchy skin,  stretch marks, increased oiliness and more acne breakouts than usual. That’s normal for most pregnant women, and SkinScience can help you find healthy, non-prescription options to help you out.

Do you have questions about your skin care products? We would be happy to help you find the best skin care routine that is safe for you and your baby!

Our popular 1-hour “Skin Care Consultation” is only a phone call away: 403-287-1477. 

We look forward to meeting you (and your future baby) soon!

Pregnancy & Skin Care ~ 8 Ingredients You Should Avoid (and Healthy Alternative Options)

Being pregnant means your skincare has to be as clean and safe as possible.

So you just found out you’re pregnant. Congratulations!! But right after the excitement come the questions: What now? Can I do this? Can I eat/drink that? Can I put this skin care product on my skin? Pregnancy is very confusing and I am sure you’ve heard all the do’s and don’ts there are… yet you still feel unsure about everything. And that’s perfectly normal! We all want the best for our little babies!



There is not one “best” product for everyone, but there are a lot of pregnancy-safe products, individually selected to work best for your skin and situation. Pregnancy is one of those times you are in need of an individual approach. Hormonal changes can lead to hyperpigmentation and acne, and you are limited in your skin care ingredients choices.

Here’s a quick review of what you SHOULDN’T use during pregnancy:







Salicylic Acid

Thioglycolic Acid


Benzoyl peroxide



Vitamin A and its derivatives are used for a variety of reasons – from acne to wrinkles. The problem is that excess vitamin A could be harmful to the fetus.  Stay away from Retinol, Retinyl Palmitate, Retinal, Retinaldehyde, Adapalene (Differin), Retinoic acid  (RetinA) and Tretinoin (Tazorac, Biacna) during pregnancy. They are highly toxic for your baby. You should not get pregnant if they’re using these medications. But if you do get pregnant, stop taking retinoids immediately and contact your doctor.



Hydroquinone is restricted or forbidden in many countries because of its potential toxicity to skin cells. Women (and men) use this powerful skin lightener to treat brown spots (hyperpigmentation) from sun exposure and hormonal changes. Pigmentation problems (such as melasma) are one of the main skincare issues during pregnancy, and it’s extremely important to avoid using hydroquinone during pregnancy and breastfeeding. There are no clinical trials proving the safety of hydroquinone on pregnant women, so it’s simply safer to avoid it altogether.

A great alternative can be found in plant-based lightening ingredients, like arbutin, vitamin C, licorice and lightening peptides. Here are a few examples of brightening products that are safe for you and your baby:


DermaQuest C Infusion Cleanser

Aliquote Skin HydraGlow Mist

DermaQuest SkinBrite Serum

DermaQuest SkinBrite Cream

DermaQuest EyeBrite 



Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (FRPs) are (unfortunately) still used in many personal care products, such as skin care, nail polish, nail glue, eyelash glue, hair gel, hair-smoothing products, baby shampoo, body soap, body wash and color cosmetics. As the unhealthiest preservatives on the market, they have been linked to cancer, allergic reactions, irritations, and respiratory problems. 

Check your labels and avoid the following formadehyde-releasing ingredients: Formaldehyde, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol) and glyoxal.

None of the products that are available at SkinScience contain formaldehyde nor formaldehyde-releasing preservatives.  We want what’s best for you and your baby! 



We’ve all gone to the drugstore, tried a tester and…OMG, that smell!! We can all agree that clean and safe doesn’t smell like exotic foods and flowers, at least not most of the time! Parfum, perfume, linalool, limonene, eugenol, citronellol, geraniol, or cinnamal are all found in products that smell great, but…that are also linked to skin allergies, nervous system problems and even cancer. Say no to these ingredients! 

“Fragrances are usually made up of other harmful chemicals, like parabens, benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and more that are linked to cancer and nervous system issues,” says Dendy Engelman, MD, board-certified dermatologic surgeon.



Parabens are included almost everywhere these days as chemical preservatives.

“These chemicals (parabens) have been linked to breast cancer as well as affecting the reproductive system,” Dr. Engelman explains. “They are mainly used to preserve products, found in everything from foundations to styling gel. However, so many wonderful products exist and do not need to include this harmful ingredient.”

Don’t get us wrong, any water-based product needs to have a preservative system to keep bacteria at bay and preserve the stability of the skin care formula. But when it comes to preservatives in skin care, phenoxyethanol is our favourite, whether you are pregnant or not.



We are not fans of this acne-busting ingredient DURING pregnancy and breastfeeding (not pregnant? no problem), and while some may say that you can use it topically and in small concentrations, we prefer to be safe and stay away! If you are pregnant and experiencing acne breakouts, stick with AHAs (like glycolic, lactic and mandelic acids) for exfoliation and a combination of [sulfur + zinc oxide] for their safe anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.


Here are a few of our favorite products for acne during pregnancy:

DermaQuest Peptide Glyco Cleanser (10% GA)

Aliquote Skin MicroResurfacing Serum (10% GA + Probiotics)

Aliquote Skin Illuminating Peel Pads (10% GA)

DermaQuest DermaClear Mandelic Cleanser (5% MA, call to order)

Aliquote Skin Nighty Night Spot Tx (10% sulfur + Zinc Oxide)



*** Not to be confused with glycolic acid, this ingredient is used in depilatory creams (like Neet, Veet, Nad’s, etc.) ***

While there are no studies about the effects that this chemical has on a growing fetus, it’s important to note that in Europe they limit the amount of thioglycolic acid that can be used in products to 5%, whereas products sold in the U.S. are allowed to contain as much as 15.2%. That’s a big difference, and when combined with the lack of solid data on the health risks, it’s best to leave these products on the shelf.

We recommend you shave manually during your pregnancy and while breastfeeding and consider laser hair removal afterwards. This light-based technology is simply healthier for the skin than waxing or toxic hair-removal creams.



Sunscreen is a nonnegotiable year-round, but especially during pregnancy, it’s important to pay closer attention to which type of formula you choose. Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, oxtinoxate, menthyl anthranilate, and oxtocrylene—ingredients in chemical sunscreens are not all classified under the FDA categories, but only applying physical blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide is the safest. 

There has been some suggestive evidence of chemical sunscreen risks, but they haven’t been fully substantiated yet. With the options we have like Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide it is really a no-brainer to choose them over harmful chemicals in sunscreens as Avobenzone or oxybenzone.

Safe, Mineral-Based Sunscreen During Pregnancy:

DermaQuest SheerZinc SPF30

IMAGE Prevention + Tinted Oil-free Moisturizer SF30 (call to order)

IMAGE Prevention + Hydrating SPF30 (call to order)



Benzoyl peroxide can be a powerful and efficacious acne-buster, but it’s a bit too powerful for baby. 

“Though pregnancy can often cause hormonal acne, unfortunately, the typical acne products found over the counter, like benzoyl peroxide, fall in category C,” says Jenna Queller, MD, FAAD, of MFC Dermatology. “That means there’s some possible risk to the fetus, and a majority of dermatologists and ob-gyns I work with would say to avoid these products.” 

Better safe than sorry, we say!

Acne Spot Treatments Safe During Pregnancy

Aliquote Skin Nighty Night Spot Tx (sulfur, zinc oxide, calamine)

SkinCeuticals Clarifying Clay Mask (as a spot treatment, white clay, glycolic acid)


Pregnancy can be scary or confusing, but it’s also one of the greatest moments of our lives! Hyperpigmentation, hormonal acne and excess hair are changes that are common in pregnancy, but chances are everything will be going back to normal in the first 6 months after you give birth. (OK, maybe not everything ~ you’re not gonna sleep soon, but you knew that already) 😉

Want to know more about what would be your perfect skin care routine while you are expecting? Contact us today and let’s book you in for your 1-hour personalized consultation! There are also different types of treatments we offer that are 100% baby-friendly, and will still give you great results while keeping your skin under control. 

Book your consultation with Marie by calling our front desk at 403-287-1477. 

We look forward to meeting you soon!