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Pregnancy Skin Care 101

Pregnancy is one of the most exciting times in your life, but it can also have its own challenges. You often hear about that “pregnancy glow” and see your friends with clear and flawless skin… but what if that isn’t you?
Pregnancy has a long list of Do’s and Dont’s, and that ALSO includes skincare. Unfortunately, in addition to that nightly glass of wine, we are also taking away your beloved retinol.  Most oral medications for acne are also off limits while pregnant and breast feeding including accutane, antibiotics and spironolactone. Even some over the counter gels and creams are off limits: we’re looking at you Differin.

So what CAN you use? It is true the options are limited, but there are plenty of products that you can use to keep your skin looking great and highlight that pregnancy glow!

Gentle Cleanser - Most likely you can stick to what you are already using! I’ve been loving La Roche Posay Hydrating Gentle Cleanser and SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser during my pregnancy. You may notice your skin is dryer than normal, so sticking to a hydrating cleanser will keep your skin nice and dewy. 

Bakuchiol - A natural retinol alternative. Topical retinoids are on the off limit list, so here is where this new kid on the block can shine. Bakuchiol is a retinol alternative that it is found in the seeds and leaves if the plant Psoralea corylifolia. In studies comparing it to retinols, it had similar anti-aging and skin brightening effects, and bonus - it was more tolerable!  I like Herbivore Bakuchiol Serum, Biossane Phyto-retinol serum and Acure Radically Rejuvenating Dual Phase Bakuchiol Serum. 

Azelaic acid - For those who are acne prone, azelaic acid is a must. Its antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties work well to combat tough pregnancy breakouts safely. The Ordinary 10% Azelaic Acid Suspension and Natirium Azelaic Topical Acid 10% are my favorites. For those of you with stubborn acne, it is also available by prescription in higher strengths.

Glycolic and Salicylic Acid - Anti-aging and Brightening. There is some confusion about what acids are safe during pregnancy, but in accordance with ACOG recommendations, Glycolic Acid preparations 10% and below, and Salicylic Acid 2% and lower are safe in pregnancy. I love using the Skin Ceuticals 10% overnight glycolic acid to keep my skin glowing. It works like a mini chemical peel. If you want a daily product I love the Zo Skin Health Complexion Renewal Pads.

Moisturizer- Your body and your skin are extra thirsty throughout your pregnancy so don’t forget to moisturize. For the ultimate treat yourself experience I recommend SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore Cream.

AND DON'T FORGET YOUR DAILY SPF! Melasma is real. Those dark patches around your eyes and mouth, they're not freckles. It's hormonal-related hyperpigmentation. Best prevented with a zinc-based sunscreen.  I love all products by EltaMD but my favorites are EltaMD UV Clear and Elta MD UV Elements.

Eliza Hester, PA-C Certified Physician Assistant

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