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Calling All Mamas-to-Be: Here's Your Guide to Pregnancy-Safe Skincare

When you’re pregnant (or nursing), you can expect a lot of things about your routine to change. Besides the upcoming sleepless nights and money spent on daycare, you have to be extra careful about what you put in your body—and we’re not just talking about avoiding sushi and cold cuts. The products you apply to your skin have a chance of absorbing into your bloodstream as well. And while many skincare ingredients are totally harmless, there are a few that have potential risks to you and your baby. But that doesn’t mean your skin has to suffer. Thankfully, there are plenty of pregnancy-safe options to use during those 9 months (and beyond) that are just as effective. Read on for the ingredients to avoid and what to use instead. 

If you're pregnant or nursing and shopping Versed, steer clear of:

  • The Shortcut Overnight Facial
  • Doctor's Visit Instant Resurfacing Mask
  • Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum

Ask your doctor before trying:

  • Weekend Glow Daily Brightening Solution
  • Just Breathe Clarifying Serum
  • Keep the Peace Acne-Calming Cream Cleanser
  • Back-Up Plan Acne-Control Body Mist


Probably the most-talked about product on the pregnancy no-no list is retinol. While this ingredient for aging skin is a derivative of Vitamin A, studies show that too much of the vitamin may impact fetal development and cause birth defects. 

Because of retinol's ability to slow signs of aging skin and treat uneven texture, it can be a bummer to have to set it aside for 9+ months. Luckily, nursing moms and mamas-to-be have options. Green coffee, like retinol, energizes skin cells and speeds up cellular rate, repairing fine lines and smoothing rough, crepey skin texture. Get retinol-like results using green coffee with our Advanced Night Cream


This skin-lightening ingredient is popular in bleaching creams, brightening serums, and products targeting hyperpigmentation. It also, however, comes with many potential health risks including organ system toxicity and cancer. Not to mention the fact that it can also have an adverse effect on darker skin tones, which is why the ingredient landed on our no list. We don't recommend hydroquinone for anyone (not just those expecting). 

Instead, reach for one of the most powerful brightening ingredients out there: vitamin C. It's naturally effective and 100% pregnancy-safe. A dash of Found the Light Powder is a great addition to your other pregnancy-safe products if a brighter complexion is on your agenda.

Chemical sunscreen

Sunscreen is always an essential part of any skincare routine, pregnant or not, but those expecting need to be extra cautious. Besides protecting your skin from cancer, moms-to-be tend to experience ultra-sensitive skin during their pregnancy and should use sun protection to guard against discoloration, melasma, and more. Studies, however, show that chemicals (such as oxygenzone, which is found in 60% of non-mineral sunscreens), can cross into the body’s bloodstream and cause Hirschsprung’s disease. 

Instead, opt for mineral SPF. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are two FDA-approved ingredients that are equally effective at blocking UVA and UVB rays—a.k.a. broad-spectrum—but are naturally occurring minerals. You'll find non-nano zinc oxide (the safest SPF active available for our bodies) in our Guards Up Daily Mineral Sunscreen

Ask Your Doctor:

There are some common skincare ingredients that are largely deemed safe for pregnancy by dermatologists, but because there are limited studies on its impact, the ADA recommends using them only in small amounts. Consult with your doctor before continuing use of:

AHAs and BHAs

Both are acids that exfoliate the skin and both are generally accepted as safe (minus those in-office chemical peels), but check with your doctor to be sure. This includes potent acid-based products (such as our Instant Resurfacing Mask) and  salicylic acid. If you're looking for a form of pregnancy-safe exfoliation, opt for Day Maker instead. Dealing with breakouts? Our Purifying Mask and Acne Drying Treatment (made with sulfur and clays) are effective, safe alternatives to salicylic acid. 

Note: Hyaluronic acid, which is naturally occurring in our skin, is 100% safe for pregnancy (it's also hydrating and strengthening too, making it a good choice for all skin types).

Benzoyl Peroxide 

If you’ve ever dealt with acne, you’re probably familiar with this zit-zapping ingredient that’s found in many over-the-counter treatments. The ADA a-okays benzoyl peroxide in limited amounts, but because it can be super drying, we don't formulate it in any of our products. if you're avoiding it, opt for niacinamide as a pregnancy-safe option instead. You'll get similar results for breakouts, without any dryness or sensitivity. 


This color additive is an active ingredient found in many self-tanners. Your health care provider may recommend waiting until after the first trimester before using dihydroxyacetone.

Shop a few of our favorite bump-friendly products below.