Updated 12/10/20. Pregnancy means constantly fluctuating hormones, which can, unfortunately, mean frustrating flare-ups of hormonal acne for some women. But because pregnancy is a unique and delicate state, some of the ingredients typically used to fight acne are off-limits, which is even more frustrating. Needless to say, navigating acne during pregnancy can be confusing. To make things easier for you, here are the skincare ingredients most doctors suggest avoiding during pregnancy as well as safe, alternative options for treating blemishes. Of course, if you’re ever unsure, it’s always best to consult with your doctor.
Ingredients to Avoid During Pregnancy
Retinol and prescription retinoids
Examples of brand names include Renova (tretinoin), Retin-A, Differin (adapalene), and Tazorac (Tazarotene). While there are no confirmed studies showing birth abnormalities, doctors are being cautious when suggesting to avoid topical use of prescription retinoids. However, oral retinoids, such as isotretinoin (found in the prescription formally known as Accutane, an acne treatment), are known to cause birth defects, so they must be avoided.
As for over-the-counter retinol, a derivative of the vitamin A molecule found in products like Advanced Resurfacing Serum, it is a much weaker form of vitamin A. There is no data showing that this ingredient leads to any systemic absorption, so if you’ve been using a topical skin cream that contains a vitamin A derivative and find out that you are pregnant, there’s no need to panic! That said, doctors are understandably extra-cautious about pregnancy and recommend discontinuing any vitamin A product, even over-the-counter, while pregnant and/or trying to get pregnant. If unsure about anything, we always recommend checking with your doctor.
Retinol and prescription retinoids should also be avoided while breastfeeding.
A beta-hydroxy acid, salicylic acid is commonly found in products formulated for acne and clogged pores. Most doctors recommend steering clear of this ingredient during pregnancy. In low concentrations, salicylic acid is usually considered safe to use while breastfeeding, but always be sure to check with your doctor first.
Renée Rouleau Products to Avoid During Pregnancy
Here is a list of Renée Rouleau products with ingredients your doctor might suggest avoiding during pregnancy, as well as alternative products that ARE safe for treating acne during pregnancy.
- AHA/BHA Blemish Control Cleanser (instead, try Rapid Response Detox Cleanser)
- BHA Clarifying Serum (instead, try Ultra Gentle Smoothing Serum)
- Daytime Blemish Gel (instead, try Anti Bump Solution)
- Pore + Wrinkle Perfecting Serum (instead, try Pro Results Power Serum)
- Rapid Response Detox Masque (instead, try Bio Calm Repair Masque or Energizing Cleansing Masque)
- Rapid Response Detox Toner (instead, try Balancing Skin Tonic)
- Triple Berry Smoothing Peel (instead, try Dual Enzyme Softening Peel)
- Advanced Resurfacing Serum (instead, try Pro Results Power Serum)
Other than these products, all of the Renée Rouleau products can be used safely while pregnant. And remember, when in doubt, consult your doctor!
What to Read Next:
- The Complete Guide to Safely Fighting Acne During Pregnancy
- How Can I Prevent Stretch Marks While Pregnant?
- What Can I Do for Post-Pregnancy Brown Patches on My Skin?
Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”