Maybe it’s just me, but I read/see other women’s skincare routines and they stress me out. They include 10+ products, with different ones for night and day, and tons of add-ons that just aren’t necessary. I love trying out new skincare and beauty products — don’t get me wrong — but try to keep it as minimalist as possible wherever possible. Sometimes simplicity is key.
Skincare routines becomes a bit more challenging when you’re pregnant, as there are certain ingredients that are proven unsafe (or simply not studied enough to be proven safe) to use. While a lot of these ingredients can be up for debate, I wanted to share what I’ve been using and what’s working for me for those who are interested. Here are what products make up my minimalist pregnancy-safe skincare routine.
My Minimalist Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Routine
CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Body and Face Lotion with Hyaluronic Acid – I apply this moisturizer daily on my face, usually in the morning or immediately after a shower (mid-day showers happen more often than not due to my working from home schedule). At nighttime, I’ll apply something a bit thicker, but this is great for morning/throughout the day as needed. I’m a huge CeraVe fan because the products are simple and contain few ingredients, and it’s super gentle on my skin.
CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser with Ceramides and Hyaluronic Acid – I use this cleanser in the shower in the morning, and then at night if I wore makeup that day (after removing my makeup with a balm). It helps get rid of anything leftover from cleansing and is super gentle on my skin.
Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm – I use this cleansing balm to remove my makeup at the end of the day (namely my eyebrows and mascara/eyeliner since that’s always the hardest to get off).
Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion For Stretch Marks – While I firmly believe that stretch marks can’t really be prevented (it’s mostly genetics), I enjoy using this product regardless. It smells good and keeps my skin moisturized. For what it’s worth, I did not have stretch marks with my first pregnancy and I used this religiously, so take with that what you will.
belif Moisturizing Eye Bomb – I’ve been using this eye cream since before I was pregnant, but continued on during my pregnancy. It contains willow bark, which is a natural and gentler alternative to salicylic acid.
Drunk Elephant Protini™ Polypeptide Moisturizer* – I use this as my heavier, nighttime moisturizer (even though it doesn’t feel “heavy” at all). It helps to visibly plump, firm, and restore bounce to skin.
Drunk Elephant Protini™ Powerpeptide Resurfacing Serum* – I apply this serum before my moisturizer at night. It contains 10% Lactic Acid, which is a milder AHA that exfoliates skin dissolving bonds that hold dead cells together. I don’t use this every night if I’m being honest — maybe 3-4 days a week — and mainly use it because I got a sample (not for pregnancy-specific skin concerns).
*The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists approves the use of over-the-counter topical products with glycolic acid, so that’s why I feel safe using these two Drunk Elephant products with the small percentage of glycolic acid they contain.
What I’m Not Using While Pregnant
- Retinol. I was gifted the Kiehl’s Micro-Dose Anti-Aging Retinol Serum with Ceramides and Peptide and was super excited to try it out. But I knew we wanted to start trying to get pregnant, so I withheld from opening it. Since it takes a few weeks/months for a retinol to begin working and to see the results, I didn’t want to waste opening up the product. My gut feeling was right — we got pregnant shortly after receiving the product so I’m saving this one for the end of 2022 when it’s safe to use.
- That’s about it. I never really use any harsh peels or acne products (that include high levels of salicylic acid), so I didn’t have to change it up too much. And I’ve never gotten Botox or fillers, so I didn’t need to stop those, either.
Resources for Pregnancy-Safe Skincare
Your dermatologist and OB-GYN are of course great resources. Some will even have hand-outs for you during your early appointments with a list of safe or unsafe ingredients. Mine did not do this (I wish they did!), so I turned to reputable sources online, like:
- This study from the Canadian Family Physician breaks down the ingredients to avoid with research to back it up.
- The Environmental Working Group created a Skin Deep® cosmetic database to give people practical solutions on potentially toxic chemicals in personal care and beauty products.
- The Food & Drug Administration has a nice list as well.
As always, this blog is not a substitute for medical or healthcare advice. Please always consult your healthcare team for any questions regarding pregnancy-safe skincare.