How to safely say 'yes' to skincare during pregnancy

Congratulations, you’ve just received  the exciting news you are expecting! With all the excitement comes a whirlwind of information, and very quickly you realise much of it is focused on ‘no’. You do your best to cover all bases like ’no’ wine with dinner, ‘no’ soft cheese, ‘no’ sushi, but did you know that you might also need to say ‘no’ to some of your skincare. A number of hero ingredients are actually unsafe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Pregnancy can cause major changes to occur in your skin: to learn more click here, but for tips on how to maintain  that pregnancy “glow” in the safest possible way, read on.


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Ingredient lists are really complicated, and to make it even more so sometimes what is essentially the same ingredient can have several different names, however according to Assoc Prof Goodman there are two main culprits you need to look out for.

Retinoids: I know, I know, we are asking you to abandon all you know about vitamin A. While vitamin A is crucial to the proper development of the foetus, too much can cause serious birth defects and liver toxicity. Vitamin A not only appears in high strength prescription formulations but most cosmeceuticals also include this hero ingredient (to learn why it’s so popular click here). Many over the counter formulations contain vitamin A also known as: retinol, retinyl palmitate, retinoic acid, retinaldehyde and retinyl acetate - all of which should be avoided.

Salicylic acid: Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA): This one can be particularly difficult to avoid as it is making a more frequent appearance in over the counter products. Used for its treatment of acne, blackheads and cell turnover, this is a staple in the bathrooms of those who suffer the 3pm oil slick. It is known that prescription salicylic acid products are not safe during pregnancy and although only a small amount is absorbed through the skin from over the counter products, it too should be avoided.


Procedural Nurse Melissa  credits anti-inflammatory ingredients for keeping her skin clear during pregnancy

Procedural Nurse Melissa credits anti-inflammatory ingredients for keeping her skin clear during pregnancy

Fear not, you don’t have to neglect your skin while expanding your family. Procedural nurse Melissa, now 2 weeks from her due date, explains “my first pregnancy I struggled with acne and over production of oil due to ceasing vitamin A. This time around I decided to try a different approach to control the inflammation in my skin by selecting  products that are anti-inflammatory. This has controlled my level of oil, decreased my pore size and brightened my skin overall. “Simply, it has totally changed my skin.”

So what are anti-inflammatory ingredients? Those that calm the skin. Why does this help in pregnancy? Because many ‘pregnancy’ skin conditions such as acne and pigmentation are inflammatory conditions and this becomes the safest way to treat them.

While there are many different ingredients a new one to the scene that is proving particularly calming is Copper + Chlorophyllin.

Remember when Jennifer Hawkins let us in on the secret of drinking chlorophyll daily to maintain an alkaline gut and clear complexion? Well this notably green ingredient is based on a similar belief. Some data suggests that liquid chlorophyll promotes red blood cell production, which means it may help promote oxygen delivery to your tissues. Chlorophyll has also been shown to help enhance wound healing when applied topically.

So what’s a product that is safe in pregnancy AND contains this ingredient? We suggest

MD Rejuvena Pore Perfecting Complex RRP: $116.60

MD Rejuvena Pore Perfecting Complex RRP: $116.60

MD Rejuvena’s Pore Perfecting complex. Why? Because it’s anti-inflammatory ingredients include lactic acid to gently remove dead skin cells without causing irritation, green tea to provide a powerful antioxidant and you certainly can’t miss the Chlorophyllin in this bright green serum.  

So whilst this new exciting period can seem daunting at times, there is no need to compromise your skincare routine.



Confused about what you should be using on your skin? Visit and take the test, or visit us at The Dermatology Institute of Victoria for your complimentary skincare consultation.