First up, What To Avoid

In general there are a handful of ingredients to avoid in pregnancy (not all listed here), so we encourage to do your own research and as always, consult your Dr or natural health practitioner if you are concerned or unsure.

Vitamin A

Usually at the top of the ‘avoid during pregnancy’ list is vitamin A.. aka retinol. With advancements in modern skincare and delivery systems, avoidance of this ingredient is up for debate. But we err on the side of caution. While Vit A has a long history of safe use in skincare, oral or ingested Vit A has been shown to interfere with fetal development. So, as a precaution- lets remove this from the skincare line up. This includes retinol, retinaldehyde and retinyl retinoate.

We hear the collective, but WHAT can I substitute my beloved retinol with? We get it- retinol is the gold standard at keeping skin tip top, but there are very effective and safe alternatives (which we will discuss below) 

BHA’s (salicylic acid higher than 2%)

Skincare acids are brilliant at keeping the skin clear and luminous, but not all can be used in pregnancy. Its best to avoid BHA’s with a baby on board. Research suggests oral salicylic acid is not safe in pregnancy, therefore the recommendation is to avoid it topically too- in concentrations above 2%. (AHA’s or PHA’s however are given the green light to use while pregnant)

We get it- retinol is the gold standard at keeping skin tip top, but there are very effective and safe alternatives


Often pregnant women will experience melasma, a pigmentation of the skin also known as the “mask of pregnancy.” It might tempt you to reach for a strong over the counter solution such as hydroquinone. It goes without saying- avoid this ingredient.


Also a an ingredient that is found in skin lightening agents. It is a derivative of hydroquinone, which as we’ve said- not safe in pregnancy.


Phthalates are chemicals commonly used as a plasticiser in cosmetics and as a fixative to increase the longevity of a product. They are also used in plastic packaging. Phthalates are commonly found in more mass market supermarket cosmetics- especially in perfumes, hair sprays, nail care, deodorant and body lotion. Look out for the common offender 'diethylphthalate'. Synthetic fragrance or perfume can often harbour phthalates, so opt for fragrance free formulas.

Chemical Suncare

During this time opt for a physical or mineral SPF versus a chemical one. Whether this is necessary is debated within the world of skincare. Nonetheless- chemical filters in SPFs such as oxybenzone and avobenzone are possible hormone disrupters so we’re choosing a physical formula instead.

Now we’ve highlighted some of the common don’ts, let’s get to the fun part- what ingredients you CAN use, plus our go-to picks from INÈS

Some of our favourite skincare ingredients such as vitamin C, niacinamide, peptides and hyaluronic acid are a few examples of what you can safely continue to use throughout pregnancy. Together, these ingredients can address all common pregnancy skin issues; blemishes, hyperpigmentation, dehydration and dullness. Keeping things simple, gentle and purposeful is key. Our advice: invest in skincare that is high quality and well reputed.


Derived from the lilac-coloured Indian Babchi plant, bakuchiol is hailed for its ability to mimic the effects of a manufactured retinol- naturally. Similar to retinol it works by speeding up the skins natural cell turnover process. We love Medik8’s Bakuchiol Peptides. Designed to perform as a Vit A, supporting many skin concerns brought on by fluctuating hormones. It can help lift areas of pigmentation, brighten out and even skin tone, and calm any redness, flushing or inflammation

Formulated with peptides and calming cica, this is a beautiful formula that can be a great support to your skin- AM and PM.

Keeping things simple, gentle and purposeful is key. Our advice is invest in skincare that is high quality and reputable

AHAs & PHA's

AHA’s or PHA’s are given the green light to use while pregnant. These acids are great for gentle exfoliation to revitalise and refine the complexion. They work wonders on skin experiencing breakouts, dryness and dullness, helping remove dead skin cells and bringing luminosity to the complexion. AHA’s such as glycolic or lactic acid are safe to use in pregnancy, as are more gentler forms such as mandelic. PHA’s or polyhydroxy acids are even more gentle and perfect for skin experiencing increased sensitivity. Opt for clean or organic solutions with unnecessary fragrance, alcohol and preservatives.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C serums are safe to use during pregnancy. L-ascorbic and all its derivatives are great antioxidant ingredients that brighten the skin and protect against free radical damage. With pigmentation a common skin concern during pregnancy, a good quality Vit C serum can be of support when treating and preventing this. Use in conjunction with an SPF year round for enhanced protection against UV damage. Not all Vit C’s are created equal- so look for a reputed and stable formula such as iS Clinical Pro Heal Serum, or Circumferene Vital C

Niacinamide (B3)

Also known as B3, niacinamide is a beautiful hardworking antioxidant and a great skincare companion during pregnancy. Safe to use- niacinamide helps regulate sebum production, reduces redness and inflammation, hydrates, repairs and can help combat hyperpigmentation. We love a moisturising cream such as Dr Rogers Restore Face Cream formulated with niacinamide for its soothing and nourishing properties.

Also known as B3, niacinamide is a beautiful hardworking antioxidant and a great skincare companion during pregnancy

Hyaluronic Acid, Peptides, Ceramides

Skincare’s juiciest ingredients to quench and plump skin. It’s common for skin to feel devitalised during pregnancy- and these skincare super ingredients will offer deep hydration, restoration and nourishment. Look for formulas that are void of any fragrance or unnecessary additives.

Physical SPF

Skin can be extra sensitive during pregnancy, and keeping it protected from harmful UV rays is important- not only for protection, but skin preservation. Opt for a physical (also referred to as mineral) SPF formula using zinc oxide. Common chemical formulas contain ingredients such as avobenzone, oxybenzone and homosalate. These ingredients absorb UV rays and convert them into heat- preventing skin from burning. Physical formulas on the other hand use ingredients that are NOT absorbed. Rather these formulas sit on the surface of the skin and work by reflecting UV rays. Its widely accepted that physical sunscreens are the better option to use in pregnancy. Why? There are questions surrounding the safe threshold for the absorption of chemical sunscreen ingredients and their effects on hormones and a developing bub. A simple switch to keep skin protected- remember Physical not Chemical.

For questions or personalised advise on your pregnancy skincare reimge- email