Pregnancy can wreak havoc on your skin with hormonal acne, dryness, and hyperpigmentation. Plus, pregnancy skincare has its own set of rules—like no retinol and retinoids. We talked to our very own board-certified Dermatologist Dr. Jessica Riley to sort out what is and isn't allowed during pregnancy. She also let us in on how she expertly cared for her own skin before, during, and after pregnancy. 

What did you change about your routine once you found out you were pregnant, and why?
Dr. Riley said removing retinol was the number one change she made to her skincare routine. Retinols are known to harm a growing baby. She erred on the side of caution with all other skincare products. "We have to be so careful in pregnancy because most skincare products are not studied in pregnant women, so it's hard to know what is safe to use," Dr. Riley said.

What did your skincare routine look like before pregnancy?
AM routine: 
·      Skinceuticals gentle cleanser - is great for sensitive skin
·      Skinceuticals C E Ferulic - is a powerful antioxidant to combat aging and protect the skin from sun damage
·      Skinmedica Lytera 2.0 - helps with pigmentation and evening out skin tone
·      Isdin Ageless tinted sunscreen - is lightweight, easy to apply, and blends evenly with most skin tones

PM routine:
·      Retinol three times weekly, alternated with Skinceuticals Glycolic 10 - it gives skin a nice glow
·      Isdin's Melatonik - is a serum that acts like a retinoid but doesn't cause dryness or irritation
·      Skinmedica Lytera 2.0
·      Skinceuticals Triple Lipid moisturizer

What was your complete skincare routine while you were pregnant?
AM routine: 
·      C E Ferulic
·      Isdin ageless sunscreen

PM routine: 
·     Skinceuticals triple lipid restore moisturizer

What about pregnancy acne?
Pregnant women may experience hormonal acne because androgen levels are higher than usual. Glycolic acid and benzoyl peroxide washes are safe to use in pregnancy. "Once I found out I was pregnant, I switched to using the Skinceuticals glycolic acid wash," she said. This wash helps with keeping pigmentation under control and fights acne, too. Dr. Riley said topical prescription options are available, so consult with your dermatologist if over-the-counter glycolic acid or benzoyl peroxide wash is not working.

What about sunscreen?
Sunscreen is a must because too much sun exposure can contribute to pregnancy mask, also called melasma. You can manage these brown and tan patches of hyperpigmentation by wearing zinc oxide sunscreen. Dr. Riley said she was especially careful not to use chemical sunscreen while she was pregnant.
 "There was a study that came out a few years ago showing that chemical sunscreens can be absorbed systemically, even though the absorption is minimal," she said. Dr. Riley stuck with Isdin Ageless sunscreen because it's pure zinc oxide, without any chemicals.

Anything else you would like to include? 
"I went full-force after pregnancy to get my skin back into shape by using a prescription lightening cream called hydroquinone and retinol, in addition to the products I mentioned above," she said. Dr. Riley said adding on the SkinMedica instant bright eye cream was helpful to mask the effects of sleepless nights after her baby was born. 

Partner with a dermatologist if you're pregnant
Pregnancy can wreak havoc on your skin, but partnering with a dermatologist to help you through pregnancy and afterward can be helpful. If you have acne or rosacea during pregnancy, please make sure to talk to one of our board-certified dermatologists about treatments that you can use safely in pregnancy. Reach out for an appointment or if you have any questions for us.
Rachelle Riley