Home » Blog » Health Guide » Skin Care » Skincare Ingredients To Avoid During Pregnancy: Know What’s Safe For You!

Skincare Ingredients To Avoid During Pregnancy: Know What’s Safe For You!

By Dr. Luna Rey

Updated On

Fact Checked By: SWA Research Team

The article herein was crafted with AI assistance under human supervision.

Pregnancy is an exciting time filled with many changes, including the need to adjust your skincare routine. While you may have favorite products, some ingredients can be harmful to your growing baby. It’s crucial to be aware of what you put on your skin during this special time.

In this article, we’ll explore the world of pregnancy-safe skincare and identify ingredients to avoid, helping you make informed choices for the health and well-being of both you and your little one. 

Get ready to dive into the do’s and don’ts of skincare during pregnancy, and learn how to maintain a glowing, healthy complexion while keeping your baby safe. Whether you’re a first-time mom or a seasoned pro, this guide will provide you with the knowledge you need to navigate the skincare aisle with confidence during this incredible journey.

What Are The Skincare Ingredients To Avoid During Pregnancy?

What Are The Skincare Ingredients To Avoid During Pregnancy

Key Takeaways

  1. No-nos: Retinoids, hydroquinone, high salicylic acid, phthalates, some essential oils, chemical sunscreens, formaldehyde, parabens, high benzoyl peroxide.
  2. Read labels carefully – look for “pregnancy-safe” and avoid any questionable ingredients.
  3. Your skin may be more sensitive, so listen to your body and ask your doctor if unsure about a product’s safety.

Discover the skincare ingredients to avoid during pregnancy to ensure the safety of you and your baby. Here is the list:

Retinoids: A Big No-No

Retinoids are a popular ingredient in many anti-aging products, but they’re a definite no-go during pregnancy. These vitamin A derivatives can cause birth defects, especially during the first trimester. So, if you see retinol, retinoic acid, or tretinoin on the label, put that product back on the shelf.

Hydroquinone: The Skin Lightener To Avoid

Hydroquinone is a skin-lightening agent that’s often used to treat dark spots and uneven skin tone. However, it’s best to avoid this ingredient during pregnancy. Studies have shown that hydroquinone can be absorbed into the skin and potentially harm your baby. Instead, opt for natural skin-brightening ingredients like vitamin C or niacinamide.

Salicylic Acid: Proceed With Caution

Salicylic acid is a common ingredient in acne-fighting products, but it’s one to use with caution during pregnancy. While small amounts are generally considered safe, high concentrations of salicylic acid can be harmful to your baby. If you’re dealing with pregnancy acne, talk to your doctor about safe alternatives.

Phthalates: The Hidden Danger

Phthalates are chemicals that are often found in fragrances and nail polish. They’re known as endocrine disruptors, which means they can interfere with your body’s hormone levels. During pregnancy, it’s best to avoid products that contain phthalates, as they can potentially harm your baby’s development. Look for products that are labeled “phthalate-free” or “fragrance-free.”

Essential Oils: Use With Care

Essential oils are a popular choice for natural skincare, but some can be harmful during pregnancy. Oils like rosemary, sage, and jasmine have been linked to uterine contractions and should be avoided. If you do use essential oils, make sure to dilute them properly and consult with your doctor first.

Chemical Sunscreens: Opt For Mineral-Based

Sunscreen is a must-have for protecting your skin from harmful UV rays, but not all sunscreens are created equal. Chemical sunscreens, which contain ingredients like oxybenzone and avobenzone, can be absorbed into the skin and potentially harm your baby. However if necessary go for mineral-based sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

Formaldehyde: The Preservative To Avoid

Formaldehyde is a preservative that’s found in many skincare and hair care products. It’s a known carcinogen and can be harmful to your baby’s development. While formaldehyde itself is rarely used in products nowadays, many formaldehyde-releasing preservatives can be just as harmful. Look for ingredients like DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, and quaternion-15, and avoid products that contain them.

Parabens: The Controversial Preservatives

Parabens are a group of preservatives that are commonly found in skincare and personal care products. They’ve been the subject of much debate in recent years, with some studies suggesting that they can disrupt hormone levels and potentially harm your baby’s development. While the jury is still out on the long-term effects of parabens, it’s best to err on the side of caution during pregnancy and choose products that are labeled “paraben-free.”

Benzoyl Peroxide: The Acne Fighter To Use Sparingly

Benzoyl peroxide is a popular ingredient in acne-fighting products, but it’s one to use with caution during pregnancy. While it’s generally considered safe in small amounts, some studies have suggested that high concentrations of benzoyl peroxide can be harmful to your baby. If you do use products containing benzoyl peroxide, make sure to use them sparingly and only as directed.

Read Labels Carefully

One of the most important things you can do during pregnancy is to read labels carefully. Look for products that are labeled “pregnancy-safe” or “fragrance-free,” and avoid any ingredients that you’re unsure about. If you have any doubts, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or a skincare professional for advice.

Finally, remember to listen to your body during pregnancy. If a product feels uncomfortable or causes irritation, stop using it immediately. Pregnancy can make your skin more sensitive than usual, so it’s important to be extra gentle and cautious with your skincare routine.


Navigating the world of skincare during pregnancy can feel overwhelming, but by being mindful of the ingredients you use, you can help protect your growing baby from potential harm. Remember to avoid retinoids, hydroquinone, high concentrations of salicylic acid, phthalates, certain essential oils, chemical sunscreens, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, parabens, and excessive amounts of benzoyl peroxide.

Always read labels carefully, choose products that are specifically labeled as “pregnancy-safe,” and don’t hesitate to consult with your doctor if you have any concerns. Listen to your body and be gentle with your skin, as it may be more sensitive than usual during this special time.

Every woman’s pregnancy experience is different, and the skincare routine that suits one may not be ideal for another. Share your own experiences, tips, and tricks for maintaining a safe and effective skincare routine during pregnancy in the comments below. Let’s support and learn from each other as we navigate this incredible time in our lives. What has been your go-to skincare product or routine during pregnancy?


  • Kircik LH. The role of benzoyl peroxide in the new treatment paradigm for acne. J Drugs Dermatol. 2013 Jun 01;12(6):s73-6. [PubMed]
  • O. Wittmann Die nachträgliche Formaldehydabspaltung bei Spanplatten Holz Roh. Werkst., 20 (1962), pp. 221-224 Google Scholar

Dr. Luna Rey

Dr. Luna Rey is a renowned dermatologist who has established herself as an authority in diagnosing and managing a diverse array of skin disorders. Her expertise encompasses both common conditions such as acne and eczema, as well as more complex dermatological issues like psoriasis and skin malignancies. Complementing her clinical practice, Dr. Rey has cultivated a profound passion for writing, which has led her to contribute numerous articles to prestigious medical journals. Her writing is characterized by its clarity, concision, and accessibility, enabling her work to resonate with a wide readership.

View All Posts

Leave a Comment