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The Complete Guide to Skincare During Pregnancy | Kanvas Beauty Buying Guide
Check out our lovely customer Pri discussing her pregnancy skincare routine on the Kanvas Beauty YouTube Channel here.
Hey, mama-to-be, congrats on your growing bump! You might be wondering how to take care of your skin during this special time. Well, don't worry, I'm here to help you out. Let's delve into how to choose and use pregnancy safe skincare products that will keep you and your baby healthy and happy.
SKINCARE DURING PREGNANCY: IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE COMPLICATED!
I’ve been on this journey and it was quite a trip. I hope yours is filled with many blissful moments, plenty of sleep (get it while you still can) and no nausea whatsoever. During pregnancy, our hormones change, which can affect the condition of our skin. The change might be awesome (that famous pregnancy ‘glow’) or not so great (hyperpigmentation, hair loss, pregnancy facial hair, stretch marks etc). Pregnancy can also trigger pre-existing skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea. But hey, you’re growing a whole human inside of you which is pretty magical – so be kind to yourself and your body!
WHAT CAN PREGNANCY SAFE SKINCARE LOOK LIKE?
In any case, there are lots of great skincare products available to you during pregnancy to cope with skin changes. Importantly, there are also certain ingredients pregnant women are discouraged from using, and others which come highly recommended. The issue with outlining pregnancy safe skincare is that it’s difficult to produce a single, universal or definitive list that everyone agrees on! Unfortunately, very few ingredients have comprehensive clinical research to support its safety (or risk), with much of the evidence being anecdotal or case specific.
I’ll go through my experience and what I found effective for my skin – but remember, pregnancy is different for everyone and you should always seek your own advice from your doctor. This is purely a guide, and not meant to be prescriptive. You’re sure to receive a lot of advice while you’re pregnant (and a lot of it will be annoyingly unsolicited. There is something about us pregnant ladies that make people want to dish out their opinions!). At the end of the day, consult your Obstetrician if you have any questions, and do what makes you comfortable.
KEEP AWAY FROM VITAMIN A
With that said, there is enough consensus on Vitamin A in all its forms to label it as an unsafe ingredient that pregnant and nursing women should avoid. This includes retinol and retinol derivatives (retinyl retinoate, retinyl palmate, retinaldehyde or hydroxypinacolone retinoate). According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, retinol can contribute to the risk of birth defects. For a milder retinol alternative, try niacinamide (vitamin B3) or bakuchiol (also known as vegan retinol).
USE AHAs AND BHAs IN MODERATION (or better yet, opt for an alternative)
Another ingredient that most people avoid during pregnancy are BHAs (such as salicylic acid) in high concentrations. You’ll find this more in professional peels rather than in store-bought skincare. Generally, amounts of 2% or lower are considered safe. However, if you want to err on the side of caution, you could switch to PHAs as an alternative while you’re pregnant (the same goes for AHAs).
LICORICE ROOT IS A POINT OF DISAGREEMENT
Botanicals such as licorice root are sometimes used in skincare products. It’s an effective, natural way of combatting hyperpigmentation and even acne. However, ingesting licorice root in the form of capsules or other herbal remedies is discouraged because of the tie to an increased risk of early delivery. Generally, the amounts found in skincare tend to be very low and are yet to be proven unsafe. However, cautious mothers may wish to steer clear of this ingredient in any case.
So that you won’t fall asleep reading a long article detailing every ingredient in the world, Kanvas Beauty has compiled a table (below) to help you determine what skincare is safe for use during your pregnancy.
One of the first things I noticed about my skin during pregnancy was that it became quite dry. I don’t have oily skin to begin with, so the tightness and dull skin that came along with it wasn’t a particularly welcome development. Further, becoming pregnant during COVID meant wearing a mask very frequently, and this caused some friction related irritation and breakouts around my cheeks and jawline. The joys!
MY DRY SKIN + ACNE SOLUTION: THE FIRST STEP IS DOUBLE CLEANSING
The solution for me was switching to double cleansing routine (using the moisture-soaked Hada Labo Gokujyun cleansing duo), followed by a hydrating, niacinamide-based moisturizer (the one I chose was SVR Laboratories’ Topialyse Intensive Balm). Hada Labo’s hyaluronic acid cleansers have achieved holy grail status among beauty lovers – and deservedly so. I found this was the best kind of facial cleanser to use during my pregnancy because it left my face feeling hydrated, not just squeaky clean. Imagine the feeling of a sheet of silk on your skin! Yep, that’s literally what it feels like. I also think oil cleansing first helped to remove all traces of makeup and break down any excess sebum trapped by hours of mask-wearing. Thankfully, this routine greatly reduced the occurrence of pregnancy acne and maskne. I also tried to cut down on wearing makeup (but old habits die hard).
THE SECOND STEP IS NIACINAMIDE MOISTURIZER
I began to use SVR’s Topialyse Intensive Balm on recommendation from a friend who became a fan for life after it got his eczema under control. Made for extremely dry and atopic skin, it comes in a giant bottle (plus), can be used on both the face and body (plus plus) and is even safe to use on infants (triple plus). When I say this quenched my parched skin, I mean it really moisturized. Whenever I use it, my skin feels dewy and glowing – like I’ve just had a facial! I apply it twice a day very liberally after cleansing, all over my face and belly, and on any dry patches and stretchmarks. 46% of its ingredients are emollients rich in omega fatty acids, to leave the skin feeling supple and moisturized. The other important function of fatty acids is to keep your skin’s natural barrier in good nick by providing a slightly occlusive layer on top of the skin. This seals moisture in, eases mask friction and keeps potential irritants out. I also love the fact that it contains 4% niacinamide, which gently brightens and can be used correct an uneven skin tone.
CORRECTING DARK SPOTS: VITAMIN C AND PEPTIDES FOR THE WIN
Why melasma? Why are you a pregnancy thing? If you’re experiencing random dark spots and a darkening snail trail – don’t worry, that’s just standard pregnancy hyperpigmentation. Thankfully, these hormonal changes were partially mitigated for me by incorporating vitamin C and brightening peptides in my skincare routine. Vitamin C is considered safe for use during pregnancy, but even so, I opted for a relatively mild, hypoallergenic formula. My go-to serum is SVR’s Clairial Radiance Serum, which uses a 10% vitamin C concentration plus peptides to visibly reduce brown spots. Thanks to this little saviour, my facial tone was kept fairly even and lasting acne scars at bay throughout my pregnancy. I used this in the morning after cleansing, and before applying my moisturizer.
FIND PREGNANCY-SAFE PRODUCTS ONLINE IN AUSTRALIA AT KANVAS BEAUTY
You can shop all the products discussed in this article as well as other pregnancy safe skincare in Australia right here on Kanvas Beauty. We ship Australia-wide, including all the major cities (Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Darwin, Adelaide and Canberra). Enjoy free standard shipping with any purchase over $50, and free express shipping with any order over $99. If you’re new to Kanvas Beauty, take an additional $20 off your first order with us (use code WELCOME20 at checkout).