While skin care can be confusing for anyone, pregnancy raises a whole new host of questions: Should you switch to organic products? Is there such thing as a pregnancy glow? Can you prevent stretch marks? We spoke to a couple experts (including one who’s currently expecting) to help you put your mind at ease.
"Just like you watch what you eat and take prenatal vitamins, there are some precautions that you should take with your skin care,” cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson tells InStyle. While your beauty regimen doesn’t have to be completely organic, there are three common ingredients you’ll want to steer clear of: retinols, retinoids, and salicylic acids, all of which can lead to potential birth defects during the early stages. "These are found in many face creams and acne washes,” says dermatologist Kavita Mariwalla, M.D. "Also be mindful of benzoyl peroxide and products that promise to ’lighten’ the skin.”
As for products you’ll want to incorporate, Mariwalla recommends lathering up with gentle cleansers (like Cetaphil Daily Face Cleanser ($10; ulta.com) and mild exfoliators, such as those with round beads (non-plastic, of course), as anything too abrasive can scar sensitive pregnant skin. One thing she says is non-negotiable is a daily application of sunscreen. We recommend Coola Suncare's Cucumber Face Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 ($36; nordstrom.com) as an all-natural option. When it comes to preventing stretch marks on the body, though, the pro says moisturizing with products infused with shea butter or coconut oil are your best defense (but due to genetics, stretch marks can still occur, she warns).
And though one could hope to have a complexion as flawless as Jaime King’s (above), as Mariwalla points out, gorgeously glowing skin might not always be the case. "With the changes in hormones your skin can act very differently,” she says. This means your once oily skin can become drier than usual and vice versa. Breakouts and discoloration can also take place.
If you have any doubts on which products to use throughout your pregnancy, the best thing to do is consult your physician.