Pregnancy-Safe Skin Care

Which Ingredients to Watch Out For

If you switched to safer beauty products while trying to conceive, chances you will be able to continue using the same products now that you are pregnant. The same major goals apply, of avoiding fragrance and parabens and using mineral rather than chemical sunscreens. But there are a few extra ingredients to watch out for during pregnancy, such as retinol derivatives and salicylic acid, which can both be found in anti-ageing and acne treatment products. Read on for my favorite pregnancy-safe products.

Skin Care Ingredients to Avoid:

  • Phthalates, which can be found in nail polish and anything with synthetic fragrance.
  • Parabens, a common preservative
  • Triclosan, an antimicrobial found in hand soaps and toothpaste
  • Chemical sunscreens, such as oxybenzone
  • Retinol and Retin-A, vitamin A derivatives used in anti-ageing or acne treatments.
  • Salicylic acid, a chemical exfoliant used to treat acne. Some doctors advise that using small amounts of products containing up to 2% is likely safe, but azelaic acid is a better alternative. There is still a question mark over other acne-treatment ingredients such as glycolic acid and benzoyl peroxide. They are likely safe when used a spot treatment, because little is absorbed, but we don’t have much data.
  • Skin lighteners (hydroquinone) and self tanners (dihydroxyacetone), these ingredients can be absorbed through the skin and have not been studied enough to know whether they are pregnancy-safe.

Best Acne Treatment Product for Pregnancy: Azelaic Acid

Azelaic acid is a very effective acne treatment that is thought to be the safest option during pregnancy. It also reduces the inflammation and redness of rosacea (and is the active ingredient in several prescription acne and rosacea treatments). I like the 10% Azelaic Acid Suspension by The Ordinary.

Best Anti-Ageing Treatments

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum

  • Vitamin C is an important ingredient in the production of collagen. Many loyal fans report that regularly using a few drops of this serum brightens and smoothes skin tone and gives a natural glow.
  • Where to Buy: US, UK (similar product)

Beautycounter Rejuvenating Radiance Serum

  • Lightweight and easily absorbed serum, with vitamin C, fruit acids, and marine extracts to improve skin tone and reduce wrinkles.
  • EWG verified (top scoring product)
  • Where to buy: US
  • (Beautycounter is one of the safest brands in general and I highly recommend their makeup and sunscreen stick, but many of the Countermatch and Countercontrol products are not the best options during pregnancy because they contain salicylic acid.)

Green People Anti-Ageing 24- Hour Cream Sensitive

  • UK-based company that uses natural ingredients.
  • Where to Buy: (UK) (US)

Best Sunscreens for Pregnancy

For face: Beautycounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Stick (US)

  • A smooth, cocoa-butter based stick with 15% Zinc Oxide for UVA and UVB protection
  • Easy to apply and absorb, with a very light citrus scent.

For Face: EltaMD UV Physical Tinted Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 41 (US)

  • 9.0% transparent zinc oxide and 7.0% titanium dioxide in a lightly tinted formula
  • Lightweight and non-greasy.

For Body: ThinkBaby SPF 50+ Sunscreen (available here: US UK CA AU)

  • A high concentration of Zinc oxide (20%) for very good UVA and UVB protection.
  • Very popular and good value mineral-based sunscreen, with 72% of Amazon reviewers giving it five stars. Unlike other mineral sunscreens with a lower percentage of zinc, reports of sunburns with this product are very rare.
  • Light fruit scent from raspberry oil and papaya extract. Slightly oily, but less likely to leave a white layer than other mineral sunscreens.

Best Natural Body Lotions

Tree to Tub Organic Shea Butter Body Lotion

  • All-natural ingredients. Highly –rated on Amazon (78% of reviews are 5 stars). Where to Buy: US CA

Avalon Organics Rejuvenating Rosemary Hand and Body Lotion

  • Absorbs quickly without greasy residue. Spa-like herbal scent.
  • EWG /Think Dirty: 0. Where to Buy: US UK CA AU

Nourish Organic Body Lotion

  • Available in Unscented, Wild Berries, Lavender, or Vanilla. Based on natural and organic ingredients
  • EWG /Think Dirty: 0. Where to Buy: US UK AU CA

Oz Naturals Body Butter Lotion

  • 99% natural ingredients. Highly –rated on Amazon (80% of reviews are 5 stars). Where to Buy: US UK

Best Daily Moisturizers for Pregnancy

La Roche Toleriane Ultra Intense Soothing Moisturizer

  • Quickly absorbed but very good at hydrating dry skin, with no preservatives.
  • EWG /Think Dirty: 1
  • Where to Buy: (US) (UK) (AU) (CA)

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

  • Light but soothing moisturizer. Much better for those acne-prone skin than other more natural moisturizers, which often contain heavy oils.
  • Better value than the similar Toleriane Ultra Intense.
  • Where to Buy: (US)
  • For an even lighter version, try La Roche Sensitive Fluide Oil-Free Moisturizer

Green People Anti-Ageing 24- Hour Cream Sensitive

  • UK-based company that uses natural ingredients. Reader favorite. Also available as light day moisturizer.
  • Where to Buy: (UK) (US)

Living Nature Sensitive Skin Night Moisture Cream

  • Made from natural oils. Living nature makes a range of moisturizers, all rated 0 by ThinkDirty. Made in New Zealand.
  • EWG /Think Dirty: 0
  • Where to Buy: US UK AU CA


  • 100% Natural. Main ingredient is pomegranate oil. Online reviews say it is light, absorbs well, and smells good.
  • EWG /Think Dirty: 0
  • Where to Buy: US &CA

Sukin Facial Moisturiser

  • Australian-made, with mostly natural ingredients. Allergy caution: contains sesame oil and wheat germ oil.
  • Where to Buy: US UK AU CA