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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  1. Avatar

    Can you use that detox masque and the empty bump solution while using Retin-A micro?

    Posted By: Chris  | 

    • Renée Rouleau

      Yes, both are gentle enough to be used with a prescription retinoid

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

  2. Avatar

    Hi Renee,
    I currently use the AHA/BHA face wash and it has worked wonders on my skin (in combination with all your other products) and was wondering when trying to get pregnant what cleanser you would recommend switching that would be benifital for skin prone to hormonal and cystic breakouts.

    Posted By: Zoe  | 

    • Avatar

      Hi Zoe, You’ll want to confirm with your doctor but in my experience, doctors aren’t recommending to not use salicylic acid when trying to conceive. But to answer your question, the Luxe Mint Cleanser would be great!

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

  3. Avatar

    Is it safe to use the Anti-Cyst Treatment while breastfeeding?

    Posted By: Laura  | 


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