The Only (Safe) Skincare You Should Be Using During Pregnancy, According to Dermatologists


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Pregnancy involves a lot of changes. Whether it’s the vitamins you take or the foods you eat, many things you used to consume before pregnancy may not be suitable for nine months. When it comes to pregnancy-safe skincare, though, we have some good news: the majority of the products currently in your skincare stash most likely make the cut. There are a few things to avoid, though, so we asked several leading dermatologists about which ingredients to gravitate toward and which to avoid while pregnant.

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Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare at a Glance

Best for Eczema and Dermatitis: REN Skincare Evercalm™ Overnight Recovery Balm, $55
Best Retinol Alternative: INNBEAUTY PROJECT Slushy Serum Moisturizer Crush Infused with Bakuchiol, $30
Best Vitamin C Serum: TruSkin Vitamin C Facial Serum, $39
Best Day and Night Cream: Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream, $65
Best Toner: Vitamins and Sea Beauty Seaweed + Glycolic Acid Facial Toner, $9
Best Cleanser: Youth To The People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser, $39
Best Makeup Remover: Farmacy Clearly Clean Cleansing Balm, $36
Best Exfoliant: Glytone Rejuvenating Lotion 10, $55
Best Texture Corrector: Neutrogena Hydro Boost + Niacinamide Serum, $16
Best All-Purpose Serum: Versine Illuminate & Refine Serum for Sensitive Skin, $76
Best Body Lotion: Gold Bond Healing Sensitive Body and Face Lotion, $10
Best Sunblock: Paula’s Choice Super-Light Wrinkle Defense, $38
Best Skin Barrier Protector: Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Skin Barrier Repair Balm with Squalane, $31
Best Pigment Corrector: SkinCeuticals Glycolic Renewal Cleanser, $42
Best Viral Product: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum, $182
Best Mask: Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask, $49

What Ingredients to Look for in Pregnancy-Safe Skincare, According to Derms

When you’re perusing the beauty aisles while pregnant, “choosing products that contain the right ingredients absolutely matter,” Dr. Ashley Magovern, medical director at The Dermstore told SheKnows. Some ingredients she says are safe to use include alpha hydroxy acids, which brighten the skin, and glycolic acids, which accelerate cellular turnover.

Board-certified dermatologist Dylan Greeney, MD, has a few more ingredients to add to the pregnancy-safe skincare list. Azelaic acid is “incredible because it can reduce mild acne by reducing inflammation and acne-causing bacteria, and even better yet, it can fade dark marks left behind from old acne spots,” Dr. Greeney says.

And glycolic acid or other alpha hydroxy acids (fruit acids) are helpful because they soften the bonds between dull, dead, and dry skin cells. They also decrease pore buildup and “helpgently chemically exfoliate the skin, leading to more radiance on top of that already beautiful pregnancy glow.” Look for products that contain less than 10 percent glycolic acid.

A broad spectrum sunscreen is always important, as “things like sunlight (UV rays) and pollution cause stress on our skin that can break down collagen and other proteins within our skin barrier and lead to signs of aging,” says Dr. Greeney. During pregnancy, stick to a mineral sunscreen with a clean formulation.

“I love the tried and true natural ingredients for skincare in pregnancy — things our skin requires to be healthy, and ingredients it recognizes as natural to its original state,” adds dermatologist Dr. Rachel Nazarian, MD, listing ceramides, squalane and hyaluronic acid as a few of her favorites.

What Ingredients to Avoid (& Biggest Skincare No-Nos) When Pregnant According to Derms

Your anti-aging skincare routine is one of the first things that calls for an adjustment when you have a bun in the oven. “Retinol is often a staple of any dermatologist recommended skincare routine, but during pregnancy, we put retinol and prescription retinoids on pause since safety is the most critical factor during that time,” says Dr. Greeney. Luckily, there are effective plant-based ingredients, such as bakuchiol, that make great retinol alternatives.

It’s always a good idea to avoid potentially toxic ingredients like phthalates and parabens, but it’s especially important during pregnancy to minimize skin irritation, adds Dr. Greeney.

“Specific ingredients I recommend be avoided in pregnancy include fragrances and perfumes, oxybenzone, hydroquinone and tretinoin,” adds Dr. Nazarian. “Oxybenzone is considered a endocrine distruptor,” she notes. “Stronger chemical peels with TCA or  phenol are also not recommended.” Also, under no circumstance should you use Accutane (Isotretinoin), a prescription retinoid medication that treats severe acne. Accutane has been found to cause birth defects in 35 percent of pregnancies for mothers/babies who were exposed, and there have also been links to higher rates of miscarriages.

If you’re experiencing acne during pregnancy, you may be tempted to use salicylic acid, but Dr. Magovern says you should leave this one on the shelf for now. The same goes for benzoyl peroxide, which may have potential negative effects on a fetus.

Can I Use Vitamin C Skincare While Pregnant?

Vitamin C helps aid your body in repairing damaged cells, and it’s considered a safe and essential skincare ingredient during pregnancy.

“Not only is it safe, but I also strongly recommend vitamin C because it’s such a multitasker,” says Dr. Nazarian. “Having an ingredient that’s super smart and addresses multiple skin concerns is great for everyone.”

“Vitamin C is entirely safe to use during pregnancy,” confirms Dr. Greeney. “Vitamin C plays an internal role in our immune system and the development of healthy bones, teeth, and gums. It is a vital vitamin for the production and stability of collagen in our skin. Vitamin C, when applied to the skin, serves as an antioxidant, leading to protection from oxidative stressors from the environment [like free radicals].”

“It’s also necessary for creating healthy collagen fibers and protects against collagen degradation,” adds Magovern. “Another reason Im such a fan of vitamin C is that it works to decrease excess pigment production, which can lead to more even skin tone with continued use.”

Below, we’ve rounded up some of our top pregnancy-safe skincare picks, all of which get the seal of approval rom the dermatologists we spoke with. As always, before trying new products, consult your doctor first to make sure they are suitable for you.

Our mission at SheKnows is to empower and inspire women, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. REN Skincare is a SheKnows sponsor, however, all products in this article were independently selected by our editors. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.

18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024
18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024

REN Skincare Evercalm™ Overnight Recovery Balm

Buy Now $55

“Pregnancy can oftentimes increase sensitive skin condition such as atopic dermatitis and eczema,” says Dr. Nazarian. If this sounds familiar, calm your skin with Evercalm™ Overnight Recovery Balm, a lightweight yet rich formulation that soothes irritation and dryness by protecting the skin barrier from moisture loss while you sleep. The product’s overnight regenerative process also helps reduce sensitivity. It’s also just a great product for barrier repair.

Senior commerce director, Gina Vaynshteyn, is currently 14 weeks and swears by Ren Evercalm at night. “I’ve luckily avoided breakouts since my pregnancy started, but my skin has been a lot more dry — so I’ve been using this stuff every night, and I wake up to softer, more supple, healthier-looking skin. People tell me I already have ‘the glow,’ but I swear it’s just this!,” she says.

Key ingredients: 
Enzymatically Activated Oils
Jojoba & Sunflower Oil Complex
Beta-Glucan

Pros:
Soothes irritation
Plant-based
Comes in recyclable packaging

Cons: 
Some skin sensitivities may not respond well
Some users find it greasy

Scent: Citrus


18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024
18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024

TruSkin Vitamin C Facial Serum

Buy Now $38.99

“It’s really important that vitamin C is combined with vitamin E, and TruSkin did a fantastic job of doing that in this product,” says Dr. Nazarian of TruSkin Vitamin C Facial Serum. “The two work synergistically, making them more potent and stable.” This power duo wears many hats: it evens skin tone, neutralizes free radicals, boosts collagen, improves discoloration and reduces fine lines and wrinkles. All that in a tiny one-ounce bottle — and a little goes a long way.

Key ingredients:
Vitamin C
Vitamin E
Hyaluronic acid
Aloe vera
Jojoba oil

Pros:
Brightens and moisturizes
Clean and plant-based
Lightweight

Cons: 
Can be irritating for some skin

Scent: Citrus


18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024
18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

Buy Now $21.20

Inflammation-reducing azelaic acid is a great anti-aging skincare ingredient for pregnant women and a safe chemical exfoliant for eveninig skin tone. The Ordinary makes this affordable serum with a high concentration of azeliac acid in a lightweight formulation.

Key ingredients:
Azelaic acid
Dimethicone

Pros:
Evens skin tone
Vegan
Great for all skin types
Cruelty-free

Cons:
Some users say it pills

Scent: Unscented


18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024
18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024

Paula's Choice Super-Light Wrinkle Defense SPF 30

$30.40 $38.00 20% off

Buy Now

Sun protection is essential throughout every stage of life, and Paula’s Choice Super-Light Wrinkle Defense is a solid choice for the pregnancy months with its mineral formulation, which sits on the surface of your skin instead of getting absorbed into your bloodstream like chemical sunscreens. Make this tinted moisturizer a part of your daily skincare routine.

Key ingredients: 
Zinc oxide
Resveratrol
Antioxidants

Pros:
Mineral formulation
Broad spectrum
Tinted

Cons:
SPF 30 may not be high enough for some
Has a matte finish which some find drying

Scent: Unscented


18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024
18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024

Gold Bond Healing Sensitive Body and Face Lotion

Buy Now $9.99

Healing Sensitive Daily Body & Face Lotion is Gold Bond’s solution for dry, easily irritating skin from head to toe. It uses an exclusive blend of soothing moisturizers like aloe and vitamin E to ease sensitive skin and protect the moisture barrier, plus pregnancy-safe ingredients like vitamin C to protect against environmental stressors.

Key ingredients:
Aloe
Niacinamide (Vitamin B)
Vitamin E
Vitamin C

Pros:
Cruelty-free
Paraben- and pthalate-free
Great for all skin types

Cons:
Consistency is too thick for some

Scent: Unscented


18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024
18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024

INNBEAUTY PROJECT Slushy Serum Moisturizer Crush Infused with Bakuchiol

Buy Now $30

Retinol lovers, take heed: bakuchiol is the plant-based anti-aging dupe that’s going to be your best friend during pregnancy. Enjoy it along with hydrating hyaluronic acid and vitamin C-rich yuzu in this Slushy Serum that’s safe to use every day.

Key ingredients:
Bakuchiol
Hyaluronic acid
Yuzu

Pros:
Vegan
Recyclable container

Cons: 
Some with sensitive skin may find it irritating

Scent: Unscented


18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024
18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024

Vitamins and Sea Beauty Seaweed + Glycolic Acid Facial Toner

Buy Now $8.99

This ultra-affordable glycolic acid toner by Vitamins and Sea is a clean, gentle exfoliant that use the most wholesome, vegan ingredients like seaweed and aloe. The active ingredient in this formulation is glucolic acid, which banishes dead skin cells while maintaining your skin’s delicate pH.

Key ingredients: 
Glycolic acid
Seaweed

Pros:
Gently exfoliates
Clean and vegan
Sustainable packaging
Low price point

Cons:
Might irritate sensitive skin

Scent: Beachy/seaweed


18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024
18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Skin Barrier Repair Balm with Squalane

Buy Now $31

Barrier-protecting ceramides and squalane come together to double down on moisture retention in this Kiehl’s Barrier Balm that comes in a portable stick that you can pop in your purse or even travel with. The product can be re-applied over or under makeup up to four times a day to make sure moisture stays where it belongs — in your skin.

Key ingredients:
Ceramides
Squalane
Glacial Glycoprotein

Pros:
Portable
Highly hydrating
Prevents irritation

Cons: 
Some find it greasy

Scent: Unscented 


18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024
18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024

Neutrogena Hydro Boost + Niacinamide

Buy Now $16.64

Dr. Nazarian loves niacinamide, a form of vitamin B, in pregnancy-safe skincare, as it safely improves tone and texture. In Neutrogena Hydro Boost + Niacinamide Serum, the ingredient joins forces power hydrator hyaluronic acid to keep skin plump and prevent drying. It’s safe enough to use on the daily — just keep it away from the delicate skin around your eyes.

Key ingredients: 
Niacinamide
Hyaluronic acid

Pros:
Great for all skin types
Clean
Cruelty-free

Cons:
Some don’t see noticeable results

Scent: Unscented


18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024
18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024

Farmacy Clearly Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm

Buy Now $36.00

Melt the day away with Farmacy Clearly Clean cleansing balm. It feels like butter (in a good way) when you work it into a lather as it dissolves all of your makeup and traces of grime from your day. Not only does it give you a deep clean, but the formula leaves your skin feeling hydrated and silky smooth. It’s also fragrance-free and has gentle ingredients like sunflower seed oils and papaya enzymes to exfoliate.

Key ingredients:
Sunflower oil
Moringa extract
Papaya enzyme

Pros:
Removes makeup
Clean
Cruelty-free
Recyclable packaging

Cons:
Some say it leaves a greasy or waxy residue

Scent: Unscented


18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024
18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024

Youth To The People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser

Buy Now $39

This Youth to the People superfood cleanser is to earn a spot on the favorites list. It has. green tea, spinach, and vitamins to help balance the skin’s pH balance and cleanse. There is also kale, which is packed with vitamins C and E to leave skin glowing.

Key ingredients:
Kale
Spinach
Green tea

Pros:
Plant-based and clean
Award-winning
Great for all skin types

Cons:
Made some users break out

Scent: Cucumber/veggie


18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024
18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024

Versine Illuminate & Refine Serum for Sensitive Skin

Buy Now $76

This serum for sensitive skin has OBGYN/pregnancy safe stamped right into the description, but if you’re ever unsure, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. It’s the easiest way to keep up with your regular anti-aging skincare habit while you’re pregnant. Gentle yet effective ingredients like niacinamide work to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and keep skin hydrated.

Key ingredients:
Vitamin C
Niacinamide
Squalane
Hyaluronic Acid

Pros:
OBGYN-approved
Vegan
Cruelty-free

Cons:
High price point

Scent: Unscented


18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024
18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024

Glytone Rejuvenating Lotion 10

Buy Now $55

Best for normal to oily skin, this ultra-hydrating lotion exfoliates dead skin cells while moisturizing lackluster skin. Made with glycolic acid, this formula can help reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation that often results from pregnancy, as well as acne and fine lines. You’ll want to reach for this lightweight formula that will leave skin smoother without creating excess oil.

Key ingredients:
Glycolic acid
Citric acid

Pros:
Dermatologist-approved
Lightweight
Evens skin tone and texture

Cons:
Can be abrasive or drying on sensitive skin
Some don’t like the smell

Scent: Strong


18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024
18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024

Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask

Buy Now $49.00

Give skin a boost with this clean beauty mask that will take you on a trip to happier, glowing skin. Soothe thirsty skin, improve uneven tone, and brighten dull skin with this vitamin E and C rich formula. Sodium hyaluronate increases skin’s natural moisture content, while arginine is an amino acid that is the building block of proteins.

Key ingredients:
Niacinamide
Glycerin
Hyaluronic acid

Pros:
Vegan
Cruelty-free
Great for all skin types
Recyclable packaging

Cons:
Some find it irritating

Scent: Unscented


18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024
18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024

SkinCeuticals Glycolic Renewal Cleanser

Buy Now $42.00

Safe enough to use daily, this powerful, yet gentle cleanser features glycolic acid, phytic acid, and aloe barbadensis leaf extract. The formula helps promote cell turnover and removes impurities and long-wearing makeup. It’s ideal if you have sun damage, fine lines or hyperpigmentation.

Key ingredients:
Glycolic acid
Phytic acid
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract

Pros:
Non-comedogenic
Free of parabens, synthetic-fragrances, dyes, alcohol and soap

Cons:
Can be irritating for sensitive skin

Scent: Medicinal


18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024
18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024

SkinMedica Vitamin C + E Complex

Buy Now $106

This genius product gradually releases throughout the day, for long-term benefits. Vitamins C and E help promote collagen production and create a brighter, more luminous complexion. Apply after cleansing and toning for best results.

Key ingredients:
Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C)
Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (vitamin C)
Tocopherol (vitamin E)

Pros:
Improves texture
Time-release
Clean
Great for all skin types

Cons:
Might cause breakouts
Some find it sticky

Scent: Metallic


18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024
18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024

Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream

Buy Now $65.00

When you need serious moisturizing backup, look to Sunday Riley. The clean beauty brand uses cutting-edge technology to create outstanding products that are safe, yet effective. This deep-hydrating cream is made with the highest standard of vitamin C, which is jar stable, powerful, and highly targeted. It’s also significantly less irritating than other types of vitamin C, provides anti-oxidant support, and fights damage caused by sun exposure. Consider this your partner in skincare crime.

Key ingredients:
Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C)
Squalane
Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Pros:
Brightens skin
Fights free radical damage
Great for all skin types

Cons:
Can be harsh on sensitive skin

Scent: Citrus


18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024
18 Best Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Products, Derm-Approved 2024

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum

Buy Now $182.00

Unlike other serums, this highly effective formula can last for up to 72 hours after application once it’s absorbed into the skin. While it’s on the pricier side, the ingredients and quality justify the dollar signs. Made with vitamin C, vitamin E, and ferulic acid, this serum helps enhance antioxidant benefits, neutralizes free radicals and shields skin from oxidative stress.

Key ingredients: 
L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
Alpha Tocopherol (Vitamin E)
Ferulic Acid

Pros:
Fights free radical damage
Long-lasting
Paraben-free

Cons:
High price point
Becomes ineffective after being open for six months

Scent: ‘Hot dog water’


Experts in This Article

Dr. Ashley Magovern: Board-certified South Bay dermatologist and The Dermstore medical director
Dylan Greeney, MD: Board-certified dermatologist in Evansville, IL
Dr. Rachel Nazarian, MD: Board-certified dermatologist in New York, NY

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