During pregnancy, there are plenty of things to think about besides the state of your skin (like, you know, the tiny human you're growing, or the fact that you have to pee every five minutes), which is why it can be extra annoying when it inevitably starts to freak out. For starters, the hormonal shifts associated with pregnancy can lead to issues like increased discoloration and breakouts (... there's no one-size-fits-all for what this can look like), and since some ingredients (like retinoids and certain types of sunscreen) aren't safe to use while pregnant, switching up your routine can create an entirely new slew of skin problems on top of the hormonal ones. Fun!
- Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medicine
- Tiffany Libby, MD, board-certified dermatologist in Rhode Island
- Tina Chow Rudolf, founder of Strange Bird
- Trinity Mouzon Wofford, Trinity Mouzon Wofford is the founder of the wellness brand Golde.
"During pregnancy, it feels like we are beyond limited as to what we can use 'safely' on our skin," says Tiffany Libby, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City and mom of three. "However, we still have many options on the table to address our skin's concerns and needs so that we can keep up with our skin-care routine and not let skin health fall to the wayside."
No matter what products you're using, your skin-care routine should feel like a moment of much-needed me time. "Our body, heart, and spirit go through immeasurable changes during pregnancy," says Tina Chow Rudolf, founder of Strange Bird. "It’s important to drop into rituals that really make you feel connected to yourself."
All's to say, finding effective, pregnancy-safe formulas shouldn't be difficult (or, at the very least, it should be easier than setting up a crib). With that in mind, we tapped four beauty-savvy moms to share the products they loved while they were expecting. Keep scrolling to shop them for yourself.
Pregnancy-safe skin-care products that moms love
Dr. Libby’s skin went through a lot of changes during her pregnancies. “I noticed my skin became drier and I developed more acne than my baseline as well as dark spots,” she says.
Her go-to product became this brightening complex from Glytone. “It has azelaic acid and niacinamide, both pregnancy-safe skin brighteners, as well as glycolic acid, which helps exfoliate and control and treat acne,” she says. “I would use this on a cotton pad and apply it to my skin three to four times per week to help address the dark spots, acne, and texture of my skin.”
“For the first two trimesters, my skin was pretty much perfect. I don’t think I had so much as a clogged pore for six months,” says Trinty Mouzon Wofford, co-founder of skin-care brand Golde, who is currently expecting her first child. “Now that I’m nearing the end, I’ve noticed a bit more congestion in my skin. Not sure how much of that is due to hormonal changes or the result of indulging my recent sugar cravings!”
She has leaned on this mask from Klur to clear that congestion. “It’s got cacao in it, so it smells like chocolate and it’s this really great balance of both hydrating and exfoliating. My skin is so soft and glowing after I use it.”
“I definitely didn’t get that pregnancy glow,” says Rudolf. “My skin became swollen, dry, and patchy. It was hard because not only did I not feel great, but the changes in my skin also made me feel like I wasn’t myself.”
She gravitated toward products that boosted hydration and soothed inflammation, and especially loved using this serum from her own line. “Our Inner Balance Serum felt so satisfying. And since it’s made with ingredients I’d put on my baby, I felt confident using it twice a day to soothe and comfort my skin.”
“Pregnancy impacted my skin in a big way. I thought I would be blessed with that ‘pregnancy glow,’ but instead, I developed hyperpigmentation and dry patches early on,” says Stormi Steele, CEO and founder of Canvas Beauty. “I needed something that was going to give me intense hydration, nourishment, and revitalization.”
She turned to this Ayurvedic facial oil from her brand. “Specially formulated with natural oils, flowers, and vitamin E, the ingredients work together to replenish your skin, giving you a real-life rose glow like you’ve never experienced before,” she says. “With my skin concerns during my pregnancy, I began using this oil and saw vast improvement quickly. By the second trimester, I began to have that coveted pregnancy glow that everyone talks about.”
Marisa Garshick, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City and mom of three, “experienced increased breakouts and acne, dry skin, as well as melasma and hyperpigmentation,” she says. Similar to Dr. Libby’s pick, this complex from Glytone is a cream, rather than Dr. Libby’s go-to exfoliating liquid.
“This combines azelaic acid and glycolic acid to help address dark spots and uneven skin tone, while also improving overall texture, making it a great all-around option in pregnancy or breastfeeding to address both breakouts and pigmentation,” says Dr. Garshick. “It’s easy to use and works to brighten the skin, making it a great option pregnant or not.”
“My forever go-to for natural skincare is raw African shea butter, the kind that comes in the yellow tub from the beauty supply store, “says Mouzon Woddord. “I’ve been rubbing that on daily throughout my pregnancy and it’s kept my skin soft and smooth through week 36.”
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