Paula Begoun is The Cosmetics Cop, a name Oprah Winfrey gave her. Paula and her research team have written 21 books on beauty including her best-selling series Don’t Go To the Cosmetics Counter Without Me. Paula also launched Paula’s Choice Skincare in 1995.In this article Paula Begoun explains all about Skincare During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is an exciting time for women, but it often comes with many skincare challenges. Most pregnant women wonder which skincare products are OK to use and which ones aren’t. Is salicylic acid during pregnancy OK? What about glycolic acid? Benzoyl peroxide for acne? Is retinol OK during pregnancy? The answers might surprise you!
First, it’s always important to check with your physician and discuss the specific skincare products you want to use. Happily, most skincare products such as cleansers, toners, moisturizers, eye creams, scrubs, and lip balms that don’t contain over-the-counter ingredients regulated by the FDA are fine for use throughout pregnancy. However, pregnancy skin care involving topical prescription products, certain over-the-counter skincare ingredients, and retinol are a different issue.
Skincare During Pregnancy
Misinformation about pregnancy skincare creates frustration and confusion for pregnant women during a time they should be enjoying to the fullest. To get some much-needed clarification, we consulted the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists regarding the ingredients we’re asked about most. Here’s what they had to say:
Benzoyl peroxide is an excellent ingredient to control acne and is considered safe in low concentrations (5% or less) when you’re pregnant.
Salicylic acid (BHA) is a superior exfoliant for skin, and the small percentages used in skincare (2% or lower) are OK to use while pregnant. You can also consider using glycolic acid or lactic acid (AHA) exfoliants during your pregnancy. What about in-office AHA or BHA peels? Both are generally considered safe, but AHA is preferred if the peel is to be applied over a large area of the body.
Sunscreen actives are not known to be a risk during pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists hasn’t found any of the alleged fears about sunscreen ingredients substantiated by medical or animal research. Daily sunscreen use is strongly recommended by dermatologists. If you find your skin is more sensitive during pregnancy, consider using sunscreens with only the mineral actives of titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide, as both are non-irritating.
Hydroquinone has not been tested on animals or humans regarding its use during pregnancy, so it’s best to avoid using products that contain hydroquinone during pregnancy or while you’re breastfeeding. Instead, look to brightening products that contain niacinamide and various forms of vitamin C.
Azelaic acid via topical prescription is considered safe for use during pregnancy and has good research showing it can improve brown skin discolorations plus help with breakouts and visible symptoms of rosacea.
Anti-aging products with vitamin C, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and peptides are generally considered safe for use during pregnancy—there’s no research proving they’re a problem for topical use. But we repeat: If you’re uncertain about starting a new anti-aging product or a combination of ingredients, check with your physician and follow their advice.
Avoid prescription retinoids (Renova, Retin-A, Differin, Tazorac, and generic tretinoin) and over-the-counter products with retinol due to its relation to prescription retinoids. Consider switching to an anti-aging serum that does not contain retinol or its derivatives (retinyl retinoate, retinaldehyde, or hydroxypinacolone retinoate).
Prescriptions for other skin concerns: Your doctor will be able to advise you on which topical medications are suitable for use during pregnancy and how they should be used.
Note that we strongly recommend you share every skincare product (especially the prescription and over-the-counter drug products) you’re planning to use while pregnant with your physician and only proceed if they approve.
The information above isn’t meant to be exhaustive, but it should give you a clear idea of what’s OK to use during pregnancy and what should be avoided. We hope you’re feeling relieved that you can achieve your skincare goals during pregnancy!
It all started when Paula was very young trying to take care of her own problem skin that progressively got worse in spite of the professional help sought. Acne, super-oily skin along with debilitating eczema over 60% of her body at the age of 11! She tried numerous options but all led to disappointment. In early adulthood after working as a makeup artist to send herself through university she came to the realization that most skincare claims were either seriously misleading, just plain wrong, or at best delusional. Determined and resolute to find out the truth about skin and skincare—it became a compulsion eventually leading her to take her first steps into a career in the world of cosmetics.
It was by no means a straight path, and she had no idea that it would lead to where she is today.
“I didn’t want anyone to go through what I went through ever again. In looking over my evolving career, I believe I’ve accomplished much of what I set out to do. But I’m not quitting! There’s still a lot of work and research yet to be done and this blog continues my lifelong work” Paula Begoun www.paulaschoice.com
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Written byPaula Begoun