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

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.

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. 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.

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:

Disclaimer: Content found on www.ReneeRouleau.com and Blog.ReneeRouleau.com, including text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website or blog.

Comments:

Post a comment
  1. Hi! Is it safe to use the BHA clarifying serum while breastfeeding?

    Posted By: Lavanya  | 

    Reply
    • You’ll want to discuss this with your doctor however, I’ve never heard of a doctor advise against it.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

      Reply
  2. Hi Renee- I use several of your products and really appreciate your blog. I have had always had acne issues but when I got pregnant with my first my fave went crazy and I was so confused on what I could use that might work. Historically only retin-a has worked for my skin. I’m planning my second pregnancy and would really like to have a good game plan going in. If you were a retin a user and pregnant would you continue using it? What else can I do? Thank you.

    Posted By: Courtney  | 

    Reply
    • Hi Courtney, That’s a conversation that you’ll have to have with your doctor. From what I know to be true, there isn’t evidence saying that it’s not safe to use while pregnant but I think everyone is just extra cautious. If it were me, I would use an over the counter retinol and discontinue the prescription (like my Advanced Resurfacing Serum) alternating with AHA Smoothing Serum 17% and Skin Correcting Serum. The combination of the three (used on different nights) will really help clear clogged pores and prevent breakouts while still bringing a balance to the skin. It’s an amazing strategy and so many of our clients have great results with this–pregnant or not. But again, discuss with your doctor about using an over the counter version. Hope that helps! There are other options for you.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

      Reply
  3. Should the Advanced Resurfacing Serum be added to this list, since it contains retinol?

    Posted By: Brooke  | 

    Reply
  4. So glad to see this list! I’m pregnant with my second and my skin has been going crazy this time around. I will stop using the daytime blemish gel. The Anti Cyst treatment has helped a ton, but is there anything you can recommend to calm my skin and get it back on track? I have extreme combination skin (if there is such a thing).

    Posted By: Heather  | 

    Reply
    • Hi Heather, The Skin Correcting Serum and the Bio Calm Repair Masque would both be excellent for you.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

      Reply
  5. I know it’s not listed on your list, but is the Anti Cyst treatment safe to use during pregnancy? Thank you!

    Posted By: Sarah  | 

    Reply
    • Yes, Anti Cyst Treatment is definitely safe during pregnancy! It’s a lifesaver for hormonal cysts. 🙂

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

      Reply
  6. Hi-
    BHA Clarifying Serum also has Salicylic Acid in it. It is safe to use? I didn’t see it on your list. Thanks!

    Posted By: Meaghan Williams  | 

    Reply
    • Thanks for letting me know, I will add that to the blog post. You should avoid the BHA Clarifying Serum while pregnant.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

      Reply
  7. Because it contains Salicylic Acid and most doctors suggest avoiding this ingredient while pregnant.

    Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

    Reply
  8. Just out of curiosity, why can’t a pregnant woman use the Triple Berry Smoothing Peel?

    Posted By: Autumn  | 

    Reply
  9. Hi Linda,

    We have never heard of anyone having difficulties having used these ingredients on their skin, but this is what doctors are suggesting. I’m sure your baby is beautiful…and we think that those who use Renée Rouleau products while pregnant will have a baby with beautiful skin! 🙂

    Posted By: Lydia Noel  | 

    Reply
  10. I had no idea about the AHA/BHA Cleansing Gel. I used it the whole time I was pregnant. Guess it didn’t hurt her because she is a healthy 3 month old!

    Posted By: linda taylor  | 

    Reply

Post a Comment:

Find your
skin type

Great skin starts with knowing your skin type. Take our quiz to get personalized tips and product recommendations.

Take the Quiz