Which Skin Care Is Safe During Pregnancy & Breastfeeding?

Pregnant woman smiling Which Skin Care Is Safe During Pregnancy & Breastfeeding?

Most women hope for that pregnancy glow when they get that positive test. However, pregnancy and the months postpartum can come with some stubborn skin changes. As you notice changes like acne during pregnancy, you might be wondering which products are safe to use while pregnant and breastfeeding. This guide will help you make choices with your baby’s health in mind.

How to Care for Your Skin when Breastfeeding

Common Skin Concerns During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

While every pregnant individual will have their own unique symptoms, there are some skin conditions that are common during pregnancy and postpartum. Some of these include:

  • Melasma: Often called the “mask of pregnancy,” melasma is a type of hyperpigmentation that appears on the face. Higher levels of hormones cause the melanocytes to produce more pigment.

  • Acne: Acne can develop anytime the hormones fluctuate, so this skin concern is common during and after pregnancy.

  • Eczema: Pregnancy eczema is also common, as well as other types of dermatitis. See your dermatologist if you notice dry, flaky patches on the skin. They will determine whether it's eczema or another type of dermatitis.

  • Spider Veins: The natural changes during pregnancy can put more pressure on the blood vessels, causing spider veins. Luckily, many women will see a reduction in their spider veins after birth.

It’s true that some women will have clear skin through their entire pregnancies, while others will experience a host of skin conditions. No matter what your skin looks like, there are steps you can take to feel your best.

Skincare Products to Avoid

Before heading to the drug store to buy skincare products, you should always talk to your OBGYN and dermatologist. There are certain products that aren’t safe for use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

Many active ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), and retinoids aren’t safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Salicylic acid is a popular BHA that’s found in many acne products, but your doctor may permit use in low concentrations. Benzoyl peroxide, another acne fighter, is also best to avoid. Again, be sure to talk to your doctor for a full list of ingredients to stay away from.

Safe Ways to Pamper Your Skin

While there are some ingredients that your doctor will warn against, that doesn’t mean you can’t treat your skin concerns. There are also ingredients and treatments that are safe during these milestones.

If you’re dealing with breakouts, your dermatologist may recommend gentle cleansers and topical creams for pregnancy or postpartum acne treatment. Topical products like prescription moisturizers can also be safe and effective eczema treatment during pregnancy. Using these products to clean and soothe the skin may help you find relief.

As for professional treatments like laser therapy and chemical peels, your doctor may advise that you wait to schedule these services. This can be frustrating when you have pregnancy-related melasma and hyperpigmentation freckles, but these conditions often clear up after the baby is born. Your dermatologist can then treat lingering issues once it's safe.


The bottom line is that every pregnant woman should talk to her doctor before starting a skin treatment or using a skin product. At Pacific Dermatology Specialists, we’re happy to advise our patients about skin care during and after pregnancy. With locations in Torrance, CA and the surrounding area, we offer cosmetic, medical, and surgical dermatology services to address a variety of skin health needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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