Pregnancy Safe Skincare

We’ve all heard of that “pregnancy glow,” however for some women, the hormonal changes experienced during pregnancy can lead to acne, oily skin, increased sensitivity, and a condition called melasma, causing uneven skin tone. 

I often speak with mothers-to-be who are wondering which skincare products are safe during pregnancy. The good news is, there are many products to treat both new and existing skin concerns when you’re expecting! We’ll address some common concerns as well as treatment. below.

Pregnancy Safe Skincare Routine:

The following products are generally considered safe for pregnant women. As always, speak with your doctor if you are concerned about initiating a pregnancy-safe skincare routine.


  1. Benzoyl Peroxide face wash: During pregnancy, women often experience an increase in sebum, or oil production which can lead to acne. Benzoyl peroxide in normal doses is known as a safe way to prevent and treat acne during pregnancy.
  2. Vitamin C serum, such as my current favorite from Ren (See Benefits of Vitamin C Serum), is a great product for getting that radiant skin you desire. (You can tell your friends it’s that pregnancy glow-we won’t tell!)
  3. Sunscreen: Exposure to the sun can increase the symptoms of melasma. It’s important to use an SPF of 30 or above every single day!


  1. Gentle Cleanser: using a gentle cleanser will help to remove makeup and debris to keep those pores looking clean.
  2. Exfoliant: Exfoliate in the evenings with a gentle exfoliant such as glycolic acid (see our ‘For Mom’ box which contains a glycolic acid exfoliant from Alpha-H Skincare!) or azelaic acid to help control acne and hyperpigmentation (and melasma!).
  3. Moisturize: Moisturize your face and belly to prevent dryness which causes fine lines to appear exaggerated.
The Dermy Doc 'For Mom' Box makes a great Mother's Day or Baby Shower Gift!

The Dermy Doc 'For Mom' Box makes a great Mother's Day or Baby Shower Gift!

Skincare Products to Avoid in Pregnancy

Just as it is important to know which products are safe for expecting moms, it’s also necessary to read labels and avoid the following:

  1. Retinol- Retinols are found in many anti-aging products. Studies have shown harmful effects of oral retinoids (isotretinoin) on a developing fetus. While information is limited on the topical use of retinols during pregnancy, I recommend playing it safe and avoiding these altogether.
  2. Hydroquinone- This ingredient is found in some of the over the counter and prescription “whitening” products used to treat hyperpigmentation. Research is limited on the safety of this product during pregnancy, and little is known about the effects of hydroquinone on a developing fetus.  

Addressing Another Common Pregnancy Related Skin Concern: Melasma


Melasma is known as the “mask of pregnancy.” This skin condition is marked by dark brown spots on the face, which can also appear as light blue or gray. While the condition itself doesn’t pose harm to the mom or baby, many women are self-conscious about their new uneven skin tone.

Types of Melasma

Melasma can occur on the face, arms, upper back, and neck. There are three types of Melasma which can appear during pregnancy.

  1. Epidermal: this type of melasma has a defined border and is one of the most prominent forms in terms of appearance. Epidermal melasma typically responds well to topical treatments.
  2. Dermal: characterized by a light brown or blueish color, dermal melasma does not have a defined border. This type of melasma typically does not respond well to treatment. 
  3. Mixed Melasma: the most common type of melasma is a combination of epidermal and dermal melasma. This type can respond to treatment.

Treating Melasma During Pregnancy

The best products found over the counter to treat melasma during pregnancy are:

  1. An acid exfoliant such as azelaic acid or glycolic acid (See our ‘For Mom’ box with Alpha H skincare!) 
  2. Vitamin C serum (See our Spring box with Ren Vitamin C Serum!)
  3. Niacinamide
  4. Sunscreen
Dermy Doc Box | Spring 2022

Dermy Doc Box | Spring 2022

Pregnancy Safe Skincare Gifts for Expecting Mothers

Any of the products mentioned above would work great in a “self-care” package for an expecting mother. If you’re looking for the perfect baby shower gift, I recommend a basket which features a gentle cleanser, exfoliant, glycolic or azelaic acid, sunscreen, and a moisturizer. 

Our latest For Mom Dermy Doc Pop Up Box is now available! This new box contains pregnancy safe skincare products, perfect for the busy mom or mom-to-be.

Note to My Readers

Pregnancy can be an exciting and (overwhelming!) time for women. However, creating a pregnancy safe skin care routine doesn’t have to be overly complicated. As mentioned above, speak to your doctor or dermatologist about specific skincare concerns which arise during pregnancy, especially if these tips and over the counter options aren’t helping!

Happy Reading!