The Best Skincare For Pregnancy

pregnant woman looking in a mirror at her face

Pregnancy skincare can be daunting - ditching the skin routine you’ve been so loyal to before the bump and potentially tackling a new skin situation brought on by pregnancy-related hormones.

People tend to talk about that ‘pregnancy glow’ but not the pregnancy break outs, sensitivity or melasma.

It’s important to look after your changing body, and your growing baby, throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding, while hormones are elevated.

Luckily, we’ve put together some of the best skincare for pregnancy safe use.

What to Avoid

There are a few pregnancy skincare ingredients you should be sure to avoid, as when absorbed they can be harmful for you and your baby.

It’s a good idea to check your current skincare products for these and set aside any that are not safe for now. 


First off – Parabens. These are often used as preservatives in moisturising creams and haircare products, but it’s commonly agreed that they’re best avoided during pregnancy.

They’ve been shown to cause cell changes in animals and elevate oestrogen levels and some research has shown that exposure to these chemicals during pregnancy may increase the risk of a baby’s weight gain in infancy.


This is actually what is produced in the body when it converts vitamin A and can be found in lots of anti-ageing and anti-acne products.

Plus it’s often used in prescription medications, so we recommend checking the label and talking to your doctor as soon as you start trying for a baby. 


This is another to avoid in your pregnancy skincare routine.

It’s a prescription product used to reduce skin pigmentation (which can be an issue during pregnancy) but because it’s absorbed so quickly by the body, it’s best to limit exposure whilst you’re carrying your baby.

Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide

Salicylic acid and Benzoyl Peroxide are both great ingredients for battling acne and low dosages, found in over the counter products, have been reported safe for use during pregnancy by the ACOG, however high doses are best avoided.  


These are another one to take off your pregnancy skincare list. They’re found in many beauty products but have been linked to reproductive and hormonal dysfunction. It’s not always easy to spot phthalates in a list of ingredients however – keep an eye out for any of these:
  • DBP (dibutyl phthalate)
  • DINP (diisononyl phthalate)
  • DEP (diethyl phthalate)
  • DEHP (di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate)
  • DMP (dimethyl phthalate)
  • BBP (benzyl butyl phthalate)
  • DNOP (di-n-octyl phthalate)
  • DIDP (diisodecyl phthalate)


Sunscreen is one of the most important parts of a beauty routine, but commonly includes Oxybenzone which has potentially adverse health effects that could disrupt hormones, so best to opt for a product without this ingredient if you’re committed to pregnancy safe skincare.


The final one to avoid is Formaldehyde, it’s not as commonly used in skincare products these days because it’s a known carcinogen.

What is less commonly known is that formaldehyde releasing chemicals are still common in cosmetics however, with the same potential dangers.

Keep an eye out for these formaldehyde releasing ingredients: Bronopol. DMDM Hydantoin, Diazolidinyl Urea, Hydroxymethylglycinate, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Quaternium-15 and 5-bromo-5nitro-1, 3-dioxane.

The Best Skincare for Pregnancy

So, what’s safe to use?  The list of things to avoid may look a little intimidating, but there’s loads of pregnancy safe skincare ingredients that you can use instead.

pregnant woman looking in hand held mirror at her face

A great alternative for retinoid-based products is glycolic acid.

It can be found in many over the counter products and is perfectly safe to use in small amounts during pregnancy.

Another pregnancy safe acid to use for your face during pregnancy is azelaic acid which is also good for reducing fine lines and brightening skin!

Vitamin packed products are safe maternity skincare options, for example vitamins C will maintain collagen and protect your sensitive skin from damage. Other particularly good antioxidants to add to your pregnancy skincare routine are vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B3 and green tea.

Your skin needs can totally change when pregnancy hormones start getting involved, and it can be a bit daunting knowing how to treat them, whilst also caring for your growing baby.

In this article the most common pregnancy skin concerns are broken down, and some of the best skincare options for treating them are listed to keep your decision-making stress free.

So, we’ve broken down the most common pregnancy skin concerns and picked out some of the best skincare options for treating them, to keep your decision-making stress free.

Dry Skin

Pregnancy really pushes your body to its limits, and if at any point your baby needs a little more water, it will pull it from your body.

This extra demand, as well as changing hormones, can quickly dry out your skin. Aside from obviously making sure to drink a lot of water, here are a few of the best pregnancy skincare products to keep you happy and hydrated.

An amazing serum made specifically for hormonal skin is the Africology absolute rose serum (£43) which combines African and South African natural ingredients like rooibos, aloe forex, African potato and African cane sugar.

Its key ingredient rose is well known for its anti-ageing properties with a scent that’s said to rebalance your emotions.

This serum can be applied under moisturiser, or even added into your night cream if you skin needs some extra TLC.

1. Africology absolute rose serum

If you’re struggling with severely dehydrated skin during your pregnancy Weleda Skin food (£12.50) from Holland & Barrett is an intensely moisturising cream that can be applied to any areas of dry or cracked skin on your body. It has quite a heavy texture so is best used as a mask or overnight to give it time to really soak in.

2. Weleda Skin food from Holland & Barrett


Pregnancy acne is surprisingly common when your hormones are so elevated. The Pai skincafe copaiba deep cleanse aha mask (£21) is a deeply cleansing mask, best applied to clean skin for 5-10 minutes to clear out all of your pores.

Pai are experts on sensitive skin, so this mask won’t trigger any sensitivity, but it’s alpha hydroxy acids (aha) will improve tone and texture, and leave your skin feeling moisturised.

3. Pai skincafe copaiba deep cleanse aha mask

One of the best pregnancy skincare items for pregnancy acne is Dr Sams flawless cleanser (£16).

It is a jelly cleanser for all skin types (including sensitive) and thoroughly removes dirt, oils and makeup to leave skin fresh and clear, but has also been specially formulated to have a pH of 5.0 to respect and protect the skin's natural barrier.

4. Dr Sams flawless cleanser

For a proper pampering session you can also treat yourself to a pregnancy safe clay mask from The organic pharmacy to really draw out impurities.

The organic pharmacy purifying seaweed clay mask (£37.95) contains powerful natural ingredients such as soothing lavender,  spirulina, cleansing clay, pine bark extract to boost your glow and papaya with seaweed to calm and redness. It’s a great all-rounder and perfect for pregnancy breakouts of congested skin.

The organic pharmacy purifying seaweed clay mask

Sun Protection

Pregnant or not, sun protection is one of the most important parts of your skin routine. Sun damage is quick to cause wrinkles and is best to avoid at all times.

While pregnant mineral-based substances are safe to use. Here are some of the best pregnancy skincare you need to keep the sun from damaging your skin.

PCA skin hydrator plus broad spectrum SPF 30 (£30.78) is a great hydrator and protector, with a light, easily absorbed texture and no synthetic dyes or fragrances.

Some SPF moisturisers can be pretty sticky but this one is easy to layer under makeup and saves time by ensuring you won’t need a separate sunscreen in your maternity facial skincare routine.

PCA skin hydrator plus broad spectrum SPF 30

A stronger sunscreen that you can wear safely during pregnancy is the Skinceuticals Sheer Mineral UV defence (£37) which offers SPF50 protection from UVA and UVB rays, and is a 100% mineral filter.

7. Skinceuticals Sheer Mineral UV defence SPF50


Did you know that while pregnant the amount of blood in your body can almost double, which is why one of the reasons that rosy skin can become an issue for expecting mums?

As the blood vessels in your face change you may find yourself redder than usual and with some hot flushes.

Your skin may also become more sensitive, so minor irritants that you used to apply problem-free may start to create redness too. Here are the best pregnancy safe skincare products to keep you cool.

Bioderma Sensibo AR Anti-Redness Care (£12) is a great moisturiser and anti-redness option. It is hypoallergenic and instantly soothing with a range of natural ingredients that reduce redness and overheating.

This cream is powerfully protective against things that may further irritate skin such as cold, heat or wind, as it is deeply moisturising. It’s best applied to dry clean skin and works as a fab base under makeup.

8. Bioderma Sensibo AR Anti-Redness Care


Pigmentation and Melasma often become issue during pregnancy, luckily because it’s such a common issues there are some great pregnancy skincare products out there made specifically for it.

One of the best pregnancy skincare products is the lucid brightening melasma treatment cream (mask of pregnancy) (£28.25) which brightens, hydrates and really creates that pregnancy glow, it contains organic fruit acids to exfoliate your face which leaves it feeling smooth and evens out your skin tone and fights dark spots. lucid brightening melasma treatment cream (mask of pregnancy)


Pregnancy hormones can trigger pigmentation, so even if you’ve never suffered from this before it could become an issue.

La Roche-Posay toleriane sensitive (£16) is a really popular moisturiser for soothing sensitive skin and leaving it even and smooth – rebalancing dry or oily skin alike.

La Roche-Posay toleriane sensitive

Another pregnancy skincare item we can recommend from La Roche-posay is the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermo-cleanser (£12.50) This cleanser is made specifically for sensitive skin and provides immediate relief for skin prone to irritation, allergies or intolerances.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermo-cleanser

Stretch Marks

pregnant woman holding secret saviours day gel

Probably the most well-known skincare worry in pregnancy is stretch marks.

Eight out of ten women will get them – primarily in trimesters two and three. Here at Secret Saviours we know that creams and gels alone won’t prevent them (see the well respected Cochrane Report for evidence of this) which is why our inventors created our innovative 3-step Stretch Mark Prevention system.

This is centred around clever underwear which has been developed with pads that gently grip the skin, dissipating pressure as it stretches and blocking the path of stretch marks as they try to form.

Our Day Gel and Night Cream are essential to our 3-step system too, but you’ll find none of the nasties listed in the unsafe ingredients above.

You can find out more about how our system works and read reviews from some of our happy customers here.