Skin Care During Pregnancy

Do’s and don’ts for caring for your pregnant skin

Pregnancy Skin Care
Pregnancy Skin Care

Many women experience a noticeable difference in their skin's appearance and texture when expecting. While it might be unsettling to see the appearance of stretchmarks and other pregnancy side effects, it could mean it's time to re-evaluate your current skin-care routine. For tips on caring for your skin and how to achieve that pregnant glow, we spoke to the experts including Dr. Davindra Singh, lead dermatologist and founder of AvantDerm.



Common Skin Changes During Pregnancy

  • Striae, also known as stretch marks, can last well into motherhood.
  • Melasma, also known as the mask of pregnancy, results in pigment changes in the skin on the forehead, cheeks, chin and upper lip.  
  • An increase in both eccrine (sweat) and sebaceous (oil) glands.
  • Changes in the immune system due to hormonal shifts means eczema can worsen, but psoriasis can improve.
  • Dryness and adult acne. Bill Baker, owner of Consonant Skincare in Toronto, notes: “The most common complaint we get from pregnant and new moms are of dryness and adult acne,” which can be experienced either separately or at the same time.



  • Eat good quality proteins, fats and mineral-rich foods. “What you put in your body is reflected on the outside. If you fuel your body with junk foods then your body will show it through dry, dull skin,” says Marina Cortese, a registered holistic nutritionist. A good quality diet will benefit you and your baby.
  • Use natural products free of chemicals such as fragrances, parabens and sulfates. “Pregnant women are growing another human being,” says Cortese. “So everything a woman puts in or on her body can reach the fetus.” Similarly for women who have just given birth, anything they injest or use on their body may affect the baby as “impurities, toxins and allergens that can come through her breast milk.” Simple and natural is always safer.
  • Seek out sunscreen with physical blockers rather than chemical blockers. “Sunscreens with physical blockers such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide instead of sunscreen with chemical blockers are safer for pregnant women,” says Dr. Singh.
  • Gently exfoliate and consistently moisturize to rid of dry skin and breakouts. Hormonal changes faced in pregnancy aggravate acne, and dry skin that clogs pores simply exacerbates the problem. Exfoliation and moisturizing can go a long way.
  • Moisturize with coconut oil and eat good quality fats like flaxseed oil and olive oil to keep pesky stretch marks at bay. 
  • Switch to mineral makeup. “Most makeup contains oil and water, which means synthetic ingredients must be added to preserve and emulsify the products.  Such synthetic ingredients include fragrances, bisphenol-A (BPA), formaldehyde, parabens, petroleum products, lead, 1,4-dioxane, phthalates, and aluminum,” says Dr. Sandy Skotnicki, a Toronto dermatologist.



  •  Avoid foods that spike hormonal levels. “A hormone balanced diet is important to staying fabulous pre- and post-baby,” says Cortese.  Although natural soy is considered safe it’s slight estrogenic activity may make the darkening of the skin on the face associated with melasma worse.
  • Don’t use salicylic acid based acne products for breakouts. “Glycolic acid, also known as Alpha hydroxyl acid,” derived from sugarcane, is safe in pregnancy and can be used in creams or washes and in higher concentration chemical peels,” says Dr. Skotnicki.
  • Limit your baby’s exposure to toxins by avoiding common active chemical ingredients found in skincare products. Avoid anti-aging and wrinkle creams with the active ingredients of Vitamin A, Retinol and prescription Retinoic acid. These active ingredients can be harmful if exposed to the fetus.

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