Beyond swollen ankles and crazy cravings, pregnancy hormones can do a number on even the most luminous of complexions, resulting in breakouts, dullness, darkened hyper-pigmentation, and melasma. But when it comes to correcting skincare products, the pickings can be slim. “Because there are no formal studies using a wide variety of products in pregnant women, it’s better to be safe than sorry,” says dermatologist Michelle Hure of OC Skin Lab. The exceptions? “Hydroquinone and retinoids, which are systemically absorbed and can increase the risk of birth defects, most skincare products only act locally,” she explains. Translation: Bid adieu to some of beauty’s most potent skin-correcting ingredients, like wrinkle-fighting retinol and medications like Tretinoin by re-vamping your pregnancy beauty routine with organic essentials. For moms who like to err on the side of caution, Hure notes that blemish-fighting salicylic acid has the potential to be absorbed systemically, while soy products, which can worsen melasma, are best avoided.
Below, we scouted the industry’s best — and safest — problem-solving beauty products for both mommas-to-be and new moms. Remember to always consult with your OB before use.
1. Joanna Vargas Vitamin C Face Wash ($40): If pregnancy hormones have created dark spots resembling hyper-pigmentation, this brightening face cleanser is for you.
2. Pixi by Petra Glow Tonic To Go ($18): The line’s cult-favorite glow tonic comes in these conveniently pre-soaked pads. Since they exfoliate using glycolic acid — not salicylic acid — this vegan drugstore buy is pregnancy-friendly.
3. Visha Skincare Mommy Brightener With Illuminotex ($65): This brightening serum was made especially for mothers by an M.D. and mother herself. It reduces dark spots thanks to its unique blend of melanin-inhibitors, and smoothes fine lines to boot.
4. Fitglow Beauty Eye C Firm ($79): Green beauty’s darling skincare line launched this luminizing vitamin C-powered eye cream. It repairs, brightens, and smooths while promoting skin elasticity FTW.
5. Amala Brightening Corrective Concentrate ($192): Ladies looking for serious results can expect even-toned complexions in as little as eight weeks. Amala’s plant-powered concentrate reverses melanin synthesis and speeds up cellular turnover for supple, hydrated skin.
6. Omorovicza Refining Facial Polish ($95): Nature’s best buffing ingredients — including lava powder, marine micro-algae, and Moor mud — make the magic happen in this mask. Exfoliation is key for reducing unwanted discoloration, and this polish will get the job done.
7. Basq NYC Anti-Blemish Daily Cleanser ($18): Even the clearest of complexions doesn’t stand a chance against the hormonal acne roller coaster that is pregnancy. Oak root extract, tea tree oil, green tea, and chamomile help to nip emerging blemishes in the bud.
8. Amareta Beauty Pure Peace Clarifying Serum ($52): Enjoy this hormone-syncing serum that clears breakouts, speeds up healing, and calms troubled skin. Its blend of chlorophyll, tea tree oil, and evening primrose oil is pregnancy-safe.
9. Patyka Tea Tree Face Cream ($60): This highlight from the Parisian skincare line uses five different bio-organic ingredients to stop breakouts in their tracks.
10. Juice Beauty Green Apple Pregnancy Peel ($45): Turn to this exfoliating treatment to reduce pore size and quell acne as an expectant momma.
11. De Mamiel Pregnancy Facial Oil ($98): Consider this beauty buy a balancing elixir to remedy your skin’s hormonally-induced woes. It’s clutch for stressed-out skin and helps restore that pregnancy glow.
12. Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patch ($13): If you’ve got a spot, pop on one of these invisible hydrocolloid patches. Six hours later, remove the little anti-inflammatory corrector.
SLEEPLESS NIGHT SAVIORS
13. Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil ($40): If you’re stressing about fine lines and wrinkles thanks to uncomfortable nights tossing and turning (or getting zero shut eye altogether), here’s your answer. Pai’s cult-favorite facial oil is green beauty world’s best alternative to retinol.
14. Lather Australian Plum Night Creme ($43): Plum is the newest skin superfood to pop up in a range of products thanks to its mega-nourishing effects. Adding the luxurious oil into your routine will score you noticeably firmer skin.
15. Grown Alchemist Age-Repair Eye Cream ($64): Here’s the all-natural dark circle solution we can get behind, pregnant or not. After a few sleepless nights, you’ll reach for this aloe vera leaf extract packed formula on the reg.
16. Skyn Iceland Facelift in a Bag ($20): After falling in love with Skyn’s nourishing hydro-gel eye patches, trust us — you’ll want to experience the benefits on your entire face. Each patch is infused with all-natural ingredients to firm and treat, including Icelandic glacier water.
17. Volition Beauty Eucalyptus Stretch Mark Minimizer ($48): No need to panic if your post-baby skin suffers from stretch marks. Buzzy beauty brand Volition Beauty created the key to fading your stretch marks safely using eucalyptus extract in its lotion.
18. Hatch Mama Belly Oil ($58): Itchy belly? Dry, stinging skin? Fear of stretch marks? This belly oil is both your prevention and your solution. Gloss your bumps generously!
19. Zoe Organics Everything Balm ($10): We’ll just come right out and say it: Nursing is no fun for your nippies. This all organic balm will definitely do the trick.
20. Mustela Bust Firming Serum ($27): If your breasts are simply out of control due to raging hormones and, well, lactation, this bust-firming serum is the extra-potent cousin to your average boob cream.
21. Mama Mio Lucky Legs ($21): Occasionally, pregnancy swelling can create a “calf-straight-into-ankle” situation. This leg cream de-puffs, de-swells, and cools your exhausted and hard-working gams like pure pregnancy magic.
What is your pregnancy skin type? Tell us on Pinterest!
Brit + Co. may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.