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!

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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:

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Retinoids

Hydroquinone 

Formaldehyde

Fragrances

Parabens

Salicylic Acid

Thioglycolic Acid

Avobenzone

Benzoyl peroxide

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RETINOIDS

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.

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HYDROQUINONE

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:

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DermaQuest C Infusion Cleanser

Aliquote Skin HydraGlow Mist

DermaQuest SkinBrite Serum

DermaQuest SkinBrite Cream

DermaQuest EyeBrite 

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FORMALDEHYDE

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! 

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FRAGRANCE

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.

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PARABENS

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.

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SALICYLIC ACID

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.

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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)

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THIOGLYCOLIC ACID

*** 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.

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CHEMICAL SUNSCREENS

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)

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BENZOYL PEROXIDE

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)

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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!

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