Which Skin Care Ingredients Should You Avoid if You’re Pregnant?


Updated 5/14/19. 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

Prescription retinoids

Examples of brand names include Renova (tretinoin), Retin-A, Differin (adapelene), Tazorac and avage (Tazorotene). While there are not 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.

If you’ve been using a topical skin cream that contains a prescription retinoid or retinol vitamin A derivative, there’s no need to panic. There is NO data showing skin care products with vitamin A have caused problems with an unborn baby in their topical form in pregnant women. Doctors are just being extra cautious.

Shop Renée Rouleau Retinol Advanced Resurfacing Serum

Salicylic acid

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.

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.

Other than these products, all of the Renée Rouleau products can be used safely while pregnant. And remember, when in doubt, consult your doctor!

Exfoliating Serum For Sensitive Skin

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Renée Rouleau

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.”