Northern Beaches Mums Group
Northern Beaches Mums Group

How to choose pregnancy and breastfeeding-safe skincare

Dealing with your skin’s changes during pregnancy and breastfeeding is tough, especially if you’re not sure which products are safe for you and your baby. Here’s everything you need to know about hormonal skin changes, and which skincare products you can use to help.

Skin changes during pregnancy and breastfeeding

When you’re riding the emotional rollercoaster of pregnancy or caring for a newborn, your hormonal fluctuations are huge. These peaks and troughs impact every system in your body, including your immunity, circulation and metabolism. Because of these changes, your skin and hair can change considerably too. 

Dermatologists say around 90% of women will notice a change in their skin during pregnancy and breastfeeding. While it’s no fun to break out or deal with skin changes, you’re not alone. 

What are common skin changes during pregnancy?

Skin changes during pregnancy and breastfeeding can be an exacerbation of an existing condition, or a completely new skin condition altogether.

If you have pre-existing conditions, they may become worse. These can include:

  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis

These can translate into symptoms such as:

  • Melasma (dark spots)
  • Increased sebum production causing oiliness
  • Redness and more prominent veins on your face
  • Breakouts, particularly on your chin

Usually, if you experienced these changes, you would reach for your favourite cream or product to fix it right? During pregnancy and breastfeeding though, you’re acutely aware that what you put in or on your skin can go straight to your baby. This means looking for new solutions.

Safe skincare products for breastfeeding and pregnancy 

Choosing skincare that works on hormonal skin conditions that’s also safe during these special times can be tricky. While you want a solution, you also need to be mindful of harmful ingredients. Here are the top things to look for:

1. A reputable brand, from a country you trust, that says ‘safe for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding’ on the products you choose. Australian-made products are a great option as these products are required to list every single ingredient. This isn’t the case in some other countries. Natural skincare products are becoming the favoured choice by many mums and mums-to-be.

2. Niacinamide (B3): This safe ingredient really works on hormonal skin by helping to clear breakouts and calming inflammation, plus it’s anti-ageing. Concentrations around 5% or less are safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

3. AHA’s like lactic acid: The gentle exfoliating effect of AHA’s helps boost cell turnover and battle melasma. This means dying skin cells are turned over and new, bright skin cells come to the surface. It also helps to work on dryness and spots by clearing dry skin to unblock pores.

4. Clarifying ingredients for spots: While you want to steer away from the potent ingredients in acne creams, you can look for powerful natural ingredients like Blue Tansy to help manage breakouts. A clarifying routine from cleansing through to moisturising helps keep your skin clear but hydrated. 

You may not have products with the above ingredients; so if your skin is changing, it’s time to mix up your skincare routine.

Products to avoid during pregnancy and breastfeeding

During pregnancy and breastfeeding, you know what you put on your skin can go straight to your baby. This means looking for new solutions that don’t contain nasties like:

  • Retinol (vitamin A) 
  • Hydroquinone 
  • Salicylic acid at high concentrations
  • Any active ingredients in very high concentrations
  • Products with an essential oil concentration greater than 1%. These should never be applied to the skin during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
  • Niacinamide at concentrations greater than 5% should be avoided.

Create a moment of luxe during this busy time with your skincare

When you’re pregnant or a new Mum, prioritising your own wellbeing always comes second. By finding a skincare brand you love that uses baby-safe ingredients, your daily skincare routine can become a moment of self-care. 

Aspects that help create these moments are delicate fragrances, luscious textures and appealing containers. The difference between reaching for a big tub of unscented white cream and a glass jar filled with aromatic, velvety-soft face oil is huge for your senses. So look for a baby-safe brand that appeals to you. It doesn’t have to be expensive to give you a moment of luxe. 

Discovering the changes your body goes through during pregnancy and breastfeeding is a lot to manage, so don’t let your skin changes get you down. There are safe ways to manage them, but it usually means trying something new. Find a great brand with positive reviews, and discuss the products with the brand creator or rep if you have questions. Your skin will love the new, baby-safe regime, and you may even discover a quiet moment of calm for you.

*If you’re experiencing severe skin changes, it’s best to discuss them with a dermatologist. 



Carole Staeck is the co-founder of Melbourne-based skincare brand, Samson & Charlie. She is passionate about creating effective, luxurious skincare for busy women. Her mission is to help everyone have healthy, happy skin at every age. https://samsonandcharlie.com.au/collections/best-natural-vegan-skincare

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