So you have already given up your morning coffees, after-work drinks, your favorite sushi bar, and those invigorating high-intensity workouts. But, what about your skin care products?
While the lotions and potions that you apply might seem relatively harmless, the reality is that anything absorbed into the skin can enter your bloodstream. And anything that enters your bloodstream can potentially impact the development of your baby (and your breast milk later on), so it’s really important to watch out for any substances that could affect them in the long run.
What makes it harder is that being pregnant can bring along all sorts of symptoms affecting your skin, hair, and nails. Combined with the mood swings, fatigue, and morning sickness, this is a time where you truly need some extra self-care. Balancing your own needs for comfort and care alongside the needs of your baby can be tricky, and with a vast amount of pregnancy dos and don’ts, it can be pretty overwhelming to keep up!
So what skin care products are safe during pregnancy, and what can you do to best look after both you and your developing baby?
In this article, we run through some of the common skin issues that arise during pregnancy, what ingredients you should avoid, and most importantly, the best ingredients and products you should look out for in a pregnancy skincare routine to keep you feeling pampered and radiant.
Shop our all-natural, preservative-free products here.
Skin Changes During Pregnancy
Yes, pregnancy can be a beautiful time in your life but if we’re being honest, it’s not without its grievances!
It’s often expected that pregnancy will bring positive changes to the skin. We’ve all heard about that famous pregnancy glow. You may have even noticed your friend or a family member showing some particularly radiant and rosy cheeks signaling that a baby was on the way. This glow comes from hormonal changes, which for some lucky women can gently flush the face and create a dewy shine.
However, the reality is that those same fluctuating hormones can cause an array of unpleasant skin issues too. While most of these are relatively harmless and they won’t last forever, they can be pretty irritating and uncomfortable at the time.
Before we dive into the worst and best ingredients and products for your new skincare routine, let’s look at some of the most common skin complaints experienced during pregnancy.
More helpful reading: The different types of skin blemishes.
Did you know that during nine months of pregnancy, the female body produces more estrogen than it otherwise would in its entire lifetime? 1
This is because estrogen provides vital support to your baby, helping you transfer the right nutrients to their body and aiding their development. Useful, right?
The downside, however, is the effect estrogen can have on the skin. Estrogen is responsible for increased blood flow to the skin, often causing dry skin, redness, irritation, and itching. Because of this, you will be in serious need of some extra moisturizing and soothing during pregnancy.2
Acne is common among pregnant women, particularly in their first trimester. The hormonal changes during pregnancy cause the glands in the skin to produce more sebum, which is a waxy, oily substance that can lead to pesky breakouts on the face, chest, and back.
Were your school days plagued by breakouts? Unfortunately, if you have experienced acne at earlier stages in your life, you are more likely to experience this hormonal acne during pregnancy.
Melasma is a form of hyperpigmentation of the skin, which can cause dark spots to appear on the face, particularly around the cheeks, nose, and forehead. Many pregnant women experience blotchy patches or freckles, as well as darkening around the areola and abdomen.
Melasma is caused by increased levels of melanin, which is the substance responsible for pigmentation in the skin, hair, and eyes. If you experience melasma, there is no need to worry! Melanin is not bad for you, and your levels should return to normal after giving birth.3
The dark spots can be minimized and treated with safe skincare products, which we will go through in the next steps of this article.
Thanks to your ever-growing stomach, your lower body is put under quite a lot of pressure during pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester. The swelling in your uterus can impede the flow of blood to your lower body and cause swollen, blue veins on your legs and feet known as varicose veins.
Varicose veins affect approximately 40% of pregnant women, and they can cause quite a lot of pain and discomfort. Thankfully, steps can be taken to minimize the effects, like regular movement to increase blood flow, and compression socks to relieve the tension.4
It’s also a great excuse to put your feet up, as this reduces the pressure on your legs and minimizes the risk of varicose veins.
Up to 90% of pregnant women experience stretch marks by the time the third trimester comes around. A stretch mark is a pink or purple line that often appears across the stomach, breasts, thighs, or arms, fading to a white or silvery line after birth.5
These are types of scars that tend to occur in clusters when the skin is stretched or put under pressure, and they are not unique to pregnancy. They can appear during growth spurts, periods of significant weight loss or weight gain, or in times of rapid muscle growth. To put it simply – you are not alone with this one!
While stretch marks are completely normal and nothing to be ashamed of, they can be really irritating and sometimes accompanied by an uncomfortable rash.
Luckily, with some good skincare products during and after pregnancy you can minimize their long-term effects on your skin.
Ingredients To Avoid In Your New Pregnancy Skincare Products
Now that we’ve looked at some of the common skin conditions experienced by pregnant women, it’s time to start looking into what products should and should not be used to treat them.
Some acids and chemicals used in beauty and skincare products can be harmful, particularly for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Potential side effects of certain ingredients can include birth defects, future fertility issues, and hormone disruption – potentially affecting your body, your baby, and even your breast milk.
There has been little testing of products on pregnant women (for obvious ethical reasons!), but experts generally advise against the following ingredients in any pregnancy safe skincare routine.
More helpful reading: https://www.renewalliance.com/blogs/i/top-13-skin-care-ingredients-to-avoid
Hydroquinone is a skin-lightening chemical often used in skincare products to treat dark spots on the skin. But, due to its substantial absorption rate into the bloodstream, experts advise against it during pregnancy and breastfeeding.6
So while you may be experiencing some irritating melasma during your pregnancy, typical skin-lightening products aren’t the answer.
A Safe Alternative To Hydroquinone
There is, however, a safe alternative option for treating dark spots during pregnancy. Taut Bright Bye Bye Dark Spots is our all-natural dietary supplement that fights uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation. The best news? It contains no hydroquinone!
Designed to brighten and illuminate the skin, Taut Bright treats the root of the problem by inhibiting melanin production. Its primary ingredient glutathione has been described as “the mother of all antioxidants,” protecting your cells against oxidative stress and inflammation.7
This 100% vegan formula is a powerful addition to a pregnancy safe skincare collection, helping you to beat those dark spots and achieve healthy, radiant, and supple skin.
Salicylic Acid (High Doses)
Salicylic acid belongs to a category of ingredients known as beta hydroxy acids (commonly abbreviated as BHAs). Salicylic acid can be great for treating acne, fighting bacteria, and exfoliating the skin, but experts say that high dose products are best avoided during pregnancy.
High doses of salicylic acid are present in some oral acne medications and chemical peels, so you should aim to skip those types of treatments for now.
Retinoids – often seen on the labels of products in the form of Retin-A or retinol - are derivatives of vitamin A. These are popular ingredients for boosting the production of collagen and can often be found in acne medications and treatments for eczema or psoriasis.
However, there have been a few studies showing birth defects associated with retinoids during pregnancy. While these numbers are small, experts still advise against use while pregnant.8
Benzoyl peroxide is an ingredient commonly found in oral acne medications, but its safety during pregnancy has not been fully established and is therefore generally not recommended. If you are very concerned about your acne, there are some safe alternative treatments that we will discuss later in this article, or you can contact your dermatologist for advice on alternative products.
Formaldehyde is a chemical sometimes used as a preservative in beauty products, but it is becoming increasingly less common as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recognized it as a carcinogen that can increase the risk of miscarriage or fertility issues.9
There can be low levels of formaldehyde in certain nail polishes, gel manicures, and in-salon hair straightening treatments. A low level of exposure is ordinarily considered safe for healthy, non-pregnant people, but these should be high on your list of products to avoid during pregnancy in order to protect your developing baby.
Luckily, there are plenty of safe alternatives for your mani-pedi! Look for nail polishes labeled with “3-free”, which note the absence of these nasty chemicals.
Remember, if you are ever in doubt about any of your products, you can always check with your doctor or gynecologist who will be happy to steer you in the right direction. Your dermatologist can also provide helpful information specific to your needs.
More helpful reading: Newborn skincare
The Best Ingredients To Look Out For During Pregnancy
So it’s clear from all of these issues and ingredients to avoid during pregnancy that you will need some extra TLC throughout these upcoming months. Here are our top picks of superstar ingredients to look out for in your pamper products.
Hyaluronic acid is the holy grail of skincare ingredients, renowned for its super moisturizing and anti-aging effects. It is a natural substance that attracts and holds water, helping bring moisture to the skin’s surface.
Our bodies organically produce this acid, but this production decreases over time. Luckily, there are plenty of hyaluronic acid-based products that can help us replenish our supply. Hyaluronic acid is common in many serums, moisturizers, and even filler injections to plump the skin.
It’s also an extremely versatile ingredient, useful for dry, sensitive, and acne-prone skin. The best news? It is 100% safe for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding!
Get Your Hyaluronic Acid Fix With Taut Hydrate
Try a potent fix of hyaluronic acid with Taut Hydrate, our plant-derived pills that work like a super-moisture magnet for your skin. Made with 99% pure hyaluronic acid, Taut Hydrate will fill, hydrate, and plump up your skin from deep within, where serums and fillers cannot penetrate.
Grape seed extract acts as a powerful antioxidant, protecting skin from free radical damage, reducing imperfections, and achieving that amazing glow you’ve been looking for.
Our all-natural, 100% vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO formula is a pregnancy safe way to replenish moisture, increase elasticity and keep fine lines and wrinkles at bay.
Another super-star ingredient of the skincare world is vitamin C. This natural antioxidant promotes healthy, supple skin. Not only can it help repair and protect from UV damage, but it is also a powerful factor in maintaining healthy collagen levels in the body.
Collagen is the naturally-occurring protein responsible for providing structure to your skin, essential to keeping wrinkles at bay. Vitamin C can be described as collagen’s sidekick, protecting existing collagen from damage while also encouraging new collagen production. This power duo works together to encourage radiant firm skin, healing scars, and maintaining an even skin tone.
Vitamin C and collagen can be a dream team within a pregnancy skin care routine for preventing and treating stretch marks. Look out for a vitamin C serum or lotion to help keep those marks at bay.
More helpful reading: What Does Vitamin C Do For Your Skin
Glycolic Acid + Lactic Acid
Glycolic acid and lactic acid belong to a family of skin care ingredients known as Alpha Hydroxy Acids (commonly abbreviated as AHAs). They both function as exfoliants, gently removing dead skin cells and promoting radiance, and they are both recognized as safe to use during pregnancy (yay!).
Products containing glycolic acid and lactic acid can both help with reducing inflammation, minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and improving your skin texture. If you need help choosing between the two alpha hydroxy acids, note that glycolic acid is especially good for the production of collagen, but lactic acid is best if you have more sensitive skin and are prone to irritation.
Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring acid with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, and it is generally recognized as safe during pregnancy. It is great for replenishing the skin and killing nasty bacteria, making it an effective spot treatment for acne and rosacea. Azelaic acid-based products can be a great option for fighting that annoying pregnancy-induced hormonal acne.10
Our Guide To Creating A Good Pregnancy Safe Skincare Routine
Now you might be wondering what the ideal pregnancy skincare routine would look like. Here are our best tips and products for radiant, glowing skin during pregnancy.
We can’t stress this enough, prevention is always better than treatment. The hormones running through your body when pregnant make your skin way more susceptible to sun damage, sensitivity, and dryness, so it’s best to take action to protect it straight away.
Before leaving the house you should aim to apply a good, non-chemical sunscreen (look for a gentle mineral sunscreen like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide). On sunnier days, cover up with loose clothing and protect your face with a wide-brimmed hat. Your skin (and your dermatologist) will thank you for it!
The main advice we can give for protecting your extra sensitive skin at this time is to simply be gentle. Choose a mild facial cleanser and gentle moisturizing products, and use lukewarm water whenever possible.
While you may love a scorching hot shower or bubble bath, sadly that hot water will only damage the skin and exacerbate an already dry dermis. This is true for everybody, but especially while pregnant and facing hormone-induced dryness, sensitivity, and stretch marks.
Trust us, turning down the heat on your shower will do wonders for your skin and hair!
Cleanse, Tone, Moisturize
We recommend starting your pregnancy skin care routine with a gentle face wash. You can use plain lukewarm water, or choose a mild facial cleanser followed by a gentle toner, and a spot treatment if needed. Look out for the wonder ingredients and products listed above for a real boost.
For an extra pop of moisture, follow up with a face serum before applying your moisturizer. You could try Taut Intensive Recovery Serum, a formula packed with 7 botanical herb extracts with proven antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Once your serum is absorbed into the skin, finish off your process with a layer of your favorite pregnancy-safe moisturizer. When looking for the right face moisturizer for pregnancy, keep an eye out for something with hyaluronic acid or vitamin C. If it can offer a sun protection factor (SPF), even better! If it does not offer an SPF, make sure to use it in tandem with your mineral sunscreen.
The same principles go when choosing a pregnancy safe lotion for the body.
Treat Yourself With A Mask
While your day to day routine can be kept relatively simple, why not treat yourself to something special? Face masks are a great way to go that extra mile to hydrate and replenish your skin, as they really lock in moisture and refresh the dermis.
Our Taut Collagen Mask is specifically formulated to boost your collagen levels, helping to tone, hydrate, and brighten your skin.
This treatment has the added bonus of helping you recreate a luxury spa treatment from the comforts of your home. Leave it on for 15–20 minutes and put your feet up – you'll achieve that pregnancy glow in no time!
Maintain A Healthy Diet
While these skin care treatments and beauty products can all help you achieve the radiant glow you are looking for, it’s also important to nourish yourself from within in order to keep you and your baby fighting fit.
Try to incorporate plenty of good (mono and polyunsaturated) fats into your diet, such as those found in nuts, unrefined oils, avocados, and fatty fish. These have anti-inflammatory properties that help keep skin supple and moisturized.
The all-important vitamin C that we talked about earlier should also be a factor in your diet. Incorporate plenty of vitamin C-rich foods such as citrus fruits, broccoli, tomatoes, and red peppers into your diet to help boost your skin’s collagen production.
And do you want to hear some good news? Dark chocolate with over 70% cocoa solids has also been proven to have antioxidant properties, good for promoting supple skin and even helping protect from UV rays. Happy days! 11
Last but not least, don’t forget to drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated.
You can read more about foods that are good for your skin here.
Incorporating regular, gentle exercise into your routine will do wonders for your skin and body, not to mention the positive effects on your mental wellbeing.12
Although high-intensity and high-impact workouts are generally not recommended during pregnancy, there are plenty of safe workouts available. Brisk walking, swimming, prenatal yoga, and prenatal pilates are all great ways to keep your body fit while pregnant.
Keeping up regular movement will help boost circulation to all parts of your body, resulting in radiant, supple skin, while also fighting off those uncomfortable varicose veins.
Hydrate From Within With Taut
Here at Taut, we’re on a mission to renew, refresh and restore our skin and body, and we truly believe that beautiful healthy skin starts from within. We use only the most premium, clinically-tested, and 'clean' ingredients for our products that work best to nourish and protect your body and dermis.
Our Taut Collagen Anti Oxy Foxy Kit is a powerful combination of our Taut Collagen Intense Transformation Program and Masquelier's French Pine Bark Extract, a bundle designed to boost your body’s natural production of collagen while delivering powerful antioxidant and healing properties.
Our Anti Oxy Foxy Kit contains 3 boxes (24 bottles) of our specially formulated collagen drinks. Each 1.7oz bottle contains a powerful concentration of 13,000mg premium marine collagen peptides from wild-caught red snapper – clinically proven and dermatologist-tested to give you results that are immediate, visible, and long-lasting. We’ve combined this marine collagen with other skin-loving ingredients like hyaluronic acid, elastin, grape seed extract, and vitamin C to create a daily supplement that is free from chemicals and allergens.
Also included in the kit is Masquelier's French Pine Bark Original OPC, a powerful antioxidant tablet with anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and anti-allergic properties. Proven to be significantly more powerful than vitamin E and 20 times more powerful than vitamin C as an antioxidant, this is particularly beneficial to a skincare routine both during and after pregnancy.
The Anti Oxy Foxy Kit fights sun damage, fades acne scars and stretch marks, targets cellulite, and visibly reduces varicose veins – making it the perfect addition to your new pregnancy skincare regime.
Available as a monthly subscription program, this bundle can help your skin both during and after pregnancy for long-lasting radiance. Contact us today for more information about our products and subscription plans!