Pregnant woman applying cream on her baby bump.

Expectant mothers often hear advice from well-meaning friends, titas, and even strangers online. Some are insightful, like recommendations on where to shop for at a steal, while others leave you with more questions than answers. One subject that breeds so many pregnancy myths is pre-natal skincare.

Is it true that your neighbor’s cousin’s grandma’s DIY turmeric mask recipe can brighten dark spots on your face? Does skipping bathing for a week prevent binat? We called on , a board-certified dermatologist from in Makati, to clear up the most common skincare myths during pregnancy. Consult with your OB-GYN before using any products or treatments.

Myth #1: Topical Acne Solutions Can Cause Birth Defects

One of the most pervasive pregnancy myths is that moms-to-be should abandon their go-to topical . Why? Supposedly, most ingredients can be absorbed into the bloodstream and may cause pregnancy complications. However, according to Dr. Gulfan, this is not entirely true. While certain medications should be avoided, many OTC topical acne solutions are, in fact, harmless.

and benzoyl peroxide are considered safe for use in pregnancy, provided they are applied in limited amounts and over only small areas,” explains Dr. Gulfan. Double-check with your dermatologist to ensure your skincare holy grails are A-OK.

Myth #2: Facials Make Your Pregnancy Skin Worse 

When your skin feels extra dry, oily, or dull while pregnant, a facial sounds like a treat. But there are lots of pregnancy myths surrounding it that may scare you away from booking one. Can it burn your skin? “Facials can be generally considered safe during pregnancy, though the type you get must be in line with your skin conditions,” says Dr. Gulfan. 

Choose treatments that are gentle on the skin and won’t cause further irritation, such as deep cleaning and oxygen facials. On the other hand, it’s best to defer all non-essential treatments like fillers, Botox, microdermabrasion, and lasers until after delivery.

Myth #3: Coconut Oil Prevents Stretch Marks

Dr. Gulfan debunks two pregnancy myths in one strike: stretch marks are not preventable and no magic oil can prevent them. They’re influenced by genetics, fluctuating hormones, and . Besides, you have reasons to .

That said, it wouldn’t hurt to moisturize your skin with coconut oil or body lotions. Doing so can help increase your skin’s elasticity and “prepare” it to stretch without breaking.

Myth #4: Use Turmeric to Get Rid of the “Mask of Pregnancy”

Plenty of research has backed up the skin-brightening power of turmeric, but it can’t do much when it comes to dealing with dark patches that appear during pregnancy. This pigmentation is called , a.k.a. the “mask of pregnancy,” which can be quite stubborn to treat without a tailored medication regimen.

Dr. Gulfan cautions against DIY remedies such as turmeric masks as these can potentially worsen the condition. Plus, chloasma is likely to fade away a few months after giving birth.

Myth #5: Gua Sha Reduces Nasal Swelling

“Pregnancy nose” is causing quite the buzz on social media, thanks to a slew of mothers sharing before-and-after pics of their swollen noses. It’s a phenomenon caused by increased blood flow and progesterone. Just like Chloasma, you can’t stop it from happening. Not even your beloved can reverse the effect. As Dr. Gulfan clarifies, gua sha can only stimulate the lymphatic system, not blood vessels.

Myth #6: You Shouldn’t Take a Bath After Childbirth

Your elders might tell you to wait until a week into your postpartum before bathing. The reason? Water makes your already weak body cold, which can lead to binat. However, Dr. Gulfan believes it’s just another one of many pregnancy myths. Moms can typically shower within the day of delivery, whether or not they had a C-section. It helps reduce the risk of infections and promotes relaxation.

Dr. Gulfan also advises switching to bodycare products with mild formulations since pregnancy makes the skin more sensitive. To protect your underarms from body odor, try Dove 0% Aluminum Deodorant Roll-On or Dove 0% Aluminum Deodorant Spray. These are formulas have ¼ moisturizing cream plus 0% aluminum and 0% alcohol, so they won’t clog the sweat glands while keeping your kili-kili smooth.

Hopefully, these expert insights can help you make better skincare choices and keep you from buying into popular pregnancy myths. If you’re ever in doubt, don’t hesitate to chat with a dermatologist and OB-GYN.