Photo of pregnant Asian woman washing her face with skincare for pregnant women

During this exciting time, it may surprise you to find . While some get that pregnancy glow, more women experience the opposite. In fact, 99% of women develop hormonal skin issues or find existing conditions get worse. Common problems include , , , , , and more. When it comes to skin care for pregnant women, what do you look for? Here are some tips. 

Avoid Products With Harsh Ingredients

During pregnancy, your skin is more sensitive to certain chemicals, becoming more prone to irritation. Opt for mild, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free formulations that are dermatologist-approved. Choose a product specially formulated for sensitive skin, such as Dove Sensitive Beauty Bar or Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash. Compared to ordinary soap, Dove helps protect the skin’s natural moisture and you can use it on your hands, body, or face, too.

Meanwhile, if nourishing dry skin during pregnancy is your concern, the Dove Regular Beauty Bar combines a gentle cleansing formula with ¼ moisturizing cream to help replenish nutrients lost during the cleansing process.

Make Sure the Brand is FDA-Registered

The Food & Drug Administration regulate, monitor, and license cosmetics in the Philippines. The agency conducts inspections and tests to ensure their safety and quality. You can check if a cosmetic brand is licensed to operate or if a product is registered through the . They also release advisories on products with ingredients considered harmful. This applies to skin care for pregnant women and all other types of products.

Read the Ingredients List

The US Food and Drug Administration ()classifies ingredients into five categories (A, B, C, D, or X) based on how likely they are to induce congenital defects if used during pregnancy. Categories C, D, and X have the most adverse effects on the fetus through animal studies or positive human evidence of fetal risk.

Most cosmetic products and ingredients don't require US FDA approval (except for color additives). However, brands must apply labels properly for safety, including directions for use, appropriate warnings (if any), and a .

Talk to Your Doctor

While most products under skin care for pregnant women show no adverse effects on a developing fetus since the amount of active ingredients absorbed through the skin is very low, you must still steer clear of some components. A provides a more comprehensive list of skincare ingredients to avoid when pregnant. Below, we list a few of them.

  • Topical Retinoids - Although the absorption rate of topical retinoids (vitamin A derivatives) is low, there regarding their safety for pregnant women. Therefore, avoid using retinoids(classified as category C by the US FDA) during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
  • Salicylic Acid - acid is a common treatment for acne whose systemic absorption varies. While animal studies have shown embryo malformation with its systemic administration, most studies revealed no increased risk of congenital malformation with topical use. According to the limit salicylic acid use during pregnancy or apply under the guidance of a dermatologist.
  • Hydroquinone - Hyperpigmentation is one of the most common complaints during pregnancy, affecting up to 90% of pregnant women. Hydroquinone is often used to treat hyperpigmentation and melasma, but because it has high systemic absorption, pregnant women should avoid using this ingredient (classified as category C by the US FDA). According to a , you should reduce using hydroquinone – especially in leave-on products – during pregnancy.
  • Phthalates - You can find phthalates in many personal care products. They are endocrine-disrupting chemicals that fetuses are susceptible to at a certain stage of their development. Although it hasn't been linked to birth defects in humans, animal studies have shown it can interfere with male sexual development.

Apart from the ingredients above, consider personal sensitivities and allergies when choosing products. Best consult with your dermatologist or OB-GYN on skin care for pregnant women. Bookmark this article to help build a healthy skincare routine during your pregnancy.