When you are pregnant, you may notice changes in your skin, according to the American Pregnancy Association. You may notice the tell-tale glow associated with pregnancy, or you may develop uneven pigment on your face, known as the pregnancy mask. Some women notice an increase in acne. Stretch marks occur in about 90 percent of women. Skin-care products may be able to help reduce some of these changes.
According to the Discovery Health website, using a moisturizer with a sun protection factor of 15 that protects your skin from UVA and UVB rays may help reduce the development of the pregnancy mask. During pregnancy, your body produces more hormones, which can trigger an increase in pigment cells. The sunblock may keep these new pigment cells from becoming splotchy or discolored. If you plan to be in direct sunlight, increase the SPF to 30 or higher. You can safely use sunblock products containing Avobenzone or Parsol 1789.
Some specialty pregnancy skin-care products claim to help prevent stretch marks. While these are safe to use during pregnancy, most scientific research shows you can’t prevent stretch marks by using moisturizers. The APA reports you can use products with vitamin E and alpha hydroxy acids.
Safe Acne Treatments
Some women may notice an increase in acne or pimples during the first trimester of pregnancy, according to the APA. The increase in hormones often causes your oil glands to secrete more oil, leading to the increase in pimples. You can use an over-the-counter facial cleanser to clean the excess oil from your skin. If nausea is one of the pregnancy symptoms you have been experiencing, consider a fragrance-free cleanser. To help with acne, you can use an astringent product. Safe products include glycolic acid, witch hazel and topical erythromycin. You need a prescription for topical erythromycin.
Unsafe Acne Treatments
Although almost all skin-care products are safe to use during pregnancy, most doctors caution against the use of topical retinoids, used to treat acne. Dr. Neal Schultz, a cosmetic dermatologist in private practice in New York, says scientific studies have shown that the use of retinoids has caused malformation in rodent pregnancies. Although the studies have not concluded whether the product may cause human deformation, he recommends erring on the side of caution. Products containing retinoids include Retin-A and Differin. The Discovery Health website adds salicylic acid to the list of skin-care products you should avoid using while pregnant.