Skin Care and Beauty Tips for Pregnant Women

Monday, March 31, 2008

Hair and Makeup by Sabs Hernandez
Text by Sabs Hernandez

Is self-tanner safe to use when you're pregnant? What about over-the-counter acne medications? Sabs took your questions to a dermatologist, Dr. Allana, who gave us the lowdown on maintaining a beauty regimen while you are with child.

Her first advice: Always double-check any questions you may have with your obstetrician who is, after all, your primary medical provider during pregnancy. And keep in mind, doctors tend to follow the "better safe than sorry" rule and very often are conservative when giving advice. Most cosmetics ingredients are probably safe for pregnant women, but to be on the safe side, it's wise to avoid those that penetrate the skin and have not been studied for use in pregnant women.


WHAT PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD AVOID? >>

Avoid daily use of benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. "If you need to dry out a pimple now and then, dab on benzoyl peroxide," says Dr. Allana. "Just don't slather it all over your face every day. As for salicylic acid, no studies have been done." In both cases, she says, it's safe to use in a cleanser, which is rinsed off the skin.

Avoid products that contain vitamin A and it's derivatives (retinals, including Retin-A, and retinoids). A vitamin-A derivative in Accutane, which is taken by mouth, has been shown to cause birth defects.

Avoid alpha-hydroxy acids in creams you leave on your face.

Avoid self-tanners. They are probably safe, but require leaving the chemicals that dye skin cells on your skin for several hours. "Better safe than sorry," says Dr. Allana.

WHAT IS OK FOR PREGNANT WOMEN? >>

Sunblocks are more than just OK, they are required! Look for sunblocks that contain transparent zinc oxide, micronized zinc oxide or titanium dioxide -- the products that contain these ingredients contain fewer chemicals. Protecting your facial skin from the sun is essential during pregnancy to prevent a condition called melasma, which is known as the mask of pregnancy. The brown patchy skin that can crop up on your outer cheeks and outer forehead is caused by a combination of your hormones and sun exposure.

Moisturizers and skin-soothing oils and creams are great to treat dry skin and avoid uncomfortable itching where your skin is stretching. There is no proof they prevent stretch marks, but some women swear by them!

If you have no major skin problems, cleanse with a mild cleanser and use a light moisturizer at night; apply a moisturizer with a sunblock in the morning.

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