When you’re pregnant, there are a lot of things you’re told you ‘shouldn’t do’.
But when it comes to what beauty products you can’t or shouldn’t use during pregnancy, the waters are murky.
Mamamia’s executive editor and beauty journalist of 15 years Leigh Campbell, who also happens to be pregnant, is wading through those waters right now and it’s bloody confusing.
“I’m discovering the opinions around pregnancy are wild… but the short answer is, there’s no certification for what’s pregnancy-safe and there aren’t any clear guidelines so it’s tricky. At the end of the day, it comes down to personal choice, and you should always check with your obstetrician,” Leigh said on the You Beauty podcast’s pregnancy special (you can listen to the full episode below, post continues after audio).
“The hardest part about pregnancy is, no one is going to put 200 pregnant women in a study and try stuff on them, so many things might be safe but we need to err on the side of caution because it hasn’t been tested.”
To simplify things, here’s a rundown on the beauty products and treatments you can and can’t use during pregnancy.
Can you use retinol and vitamin A during pregnancy?
“It’s advised not to use retinols and vitamin As during pregnancy, which is great advice because they haven’t done studies into how it might affect the baby,” Leigh said.
“Confusingly, some brands are bringing out what they’re calling ‘pregnancy-safe’ vitamin As and retinols. They’ll say ‘our version is safe in pregnancy’, that’s when you’d ask you obstetrician – those types of ingredients are getting a lot more sophisticated and safer to use, but just because a beauty brand says it’s OK, I would still check with your doctor.”
Leigh recommended vitamin C products as a great alternative if you’re wanting to use anti-ageing products during pregnancy, as most vitamin C products are completely safe. That said, some women (like Leigh) will find their skin is extremely sensitive during pregnancy, and vitamin Cs might cause irritation.
“If vitamin C products are agreeing with you, they’re fine to use during pregnancy.”
Hormonal acne during pregnancy.
Leigh said hormonal acne during pregnancy is extremely common, and it’s also tricky to treat
“Because your hormones are going nuts for the whole nine months, you kind of are just keeping it at bay, you’re not going to treat it because week-to-week, your hormones are just going to do whatever they want.”
“I would say for women who are experiencing hormonal acne during pregnancy, to actually do less. A lot of people are wondering how to fix hormonal pregnancy acne and they’re chopping and changing products and adding in too many products. Anecdotally, my girlfriends who have hormonal pregnancy acne are going back to basics and dealing with it case by case because you can’t really solve it.”