Are you pregnant and wondering if you need to change up your skin care routine?
Between pregnancy acne, increased skin sensitivity, and the occasional dark spot, you may find yourself needing a host of new products. Or you may realize your regular skin care products aren’t the safest for your baby.
We’ve put in hours of research to help you weed through the countless skin care products marketed to pregnant women. We’ll answer all your questions about skin changes during pregnancy and explain which beauty products you should avoid.
We’ll also list our top 20 recommendations for the safest and all-around best beauty and skin care products for pregnancy.
- Clinically proven
- All-day hydration
- Pure blend of essential oils
- Supports natural moisturization
- Fast absorbing
- Irresistible scent
- 100% satisfaction guaranteed
- Natural botanical ingredients
- 100% organic
- Vegan, gluten free, & cruelty-free
- Made in the USA
- Dermatologist tested
- Certified to NSF/ANSI 305 standard
- No artificial fragrance
- Dermatologist tested
- Has collagen and elastin
- Paraben and phthalate-free
- 7 LED colors
- Chemical-free treatment
- Combats signs of acne & scaring
- 100% natural and organic
- Dermatologist & ophthalmologist tested
- Natural, nutrient-rich ingredients
- Developed by doctors
- World-class blend of ingredients
- Safe for sensitive skin
Skin Changes During Pregnancy
You knew your belly would grow, but you probably had no idea about the host of other changes your body would experience during pregnancy.
One of the more unexpected things you may experience is a change in your skin.
Some of the most common skin changes during pregnancy are:
- Pregnancy glow: When you’re pregnant, the volume of blood coursing through your veins increases by nearly 50% (1). This increased blood flow can cause your face to appear brighter, giving you that gorgeous pregnancy glow that everyone raves about.
- Increased acne: Some pregnant women glow, while other women get acne. How fair is that? Acne during pregnancy is incredibly common as pregnancy-related hormones increase oil production, resulting in more frequent or severe breakouts.
- Skin darkening: Also known as the “mask of pregnancy,” hormones can cause your skin to darken, thanks to increased pigmentation. About 50% of pregnant women experience this phenomenon, usually on their forehead and cheeks.
- Skin sensitivity: When you’re pregnant, you may find your skin is extra sensitive to environmental irritants and sun exposure (2). You may discover some of your previous skin care products irritate your skin. Or you may find that your skin needs extra care to keep from becoming itchy, inflamed, or breaking out.
How to Choose Pregnancy Safe Skin Care Products
When shopping for beauty products while pregnant, look for the following criteria:
While the term hypoallergenic doesn’t mean the product is regulated by the FDA, it is a good indicator that it will likely cause fewer allergic reactions than other products. You should still review the ingredient list before purchasing a beauty product, but the label is a good first-line indicator it may be safe for your super-sensitive skin.
Parabens are preservatives commonly used in beauty products. They mimic estrogen in the body and should be avoided during pregnancy. A paraben-free product is a safe choice.
Lacking Harmful Ingredients
Review our list of ingredients to be avoided during pregnancy, and opt for products that don’t contain any of them.
Non-comedogenic products will not clog your pores. Some women are more susceptible to acne when pregnant. If that sounds like you, choose a product that specifies it’s non-comedogenic so it won’t wreak havoc on your complexion.
Editor's Note:Katelyn Holt RN, BSN, BC
The Best Pregnancy Skin Care Products of 2022
Here are our favorite pregnancy-safe skin care products.
1. Beautycounter Melting Body Balm
Best Moisturizer for Pregnancy
This lotion will help you moisturize your skin without exposing it to harmful chemicals. The company has its own “Never List” of ingredients to provide the safest products to everyone.
It is non-greasy and unscented. This means it has a lower chance of irritating sensitive skin and won’t bother you if you’re sensitive to smells during pregnancy.
It is also cruelty-free, having not been tested on animals.
2. Kneipp Lavender Body Oil
Best Body Oil for Pregnancy
Does pregnancy have you feeling stressed? The calming scent of lavender in this oil can help you unwind after a long day.
Whether you’re using it as a moisturizer or massage oil or pouring it in the bath, you can feel good that this product is made primarily with plant oils. It helps to moisturize your skin without a greasy feeling.
It also contains vitamin E, which helps with scarring and stretch marks.
3. ArtNaturals Bath and Body and Foot Wash
Best Body Wash for Pregnancy
This body and foot wash is 100% natural. It contains no parabens that can interfere with your body’s natural estrogen, and it’s cruelty-free.
It also has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties that can battle odor and infections for the active woman by using various pregnancy-safe oils.
The oils also give it a refreshing peppermint scent that may appeal to you in the morning if you suffer from morning sickness.
4. Glow Organics Belly Butter
Best Body Butter for Pregnancy
This belly butter can help you soothe ultra-dry, irritated, or stretch-marked skin with 100% organic and vegan ingredients. It is also cruelty-free.
It is composed primarily of ultra-moisturizing shea butter and cocoa butter. And this belly butter contains no parabens, synthetic ingredients, dyes, phthalates, or artificial fragrances, making it less likely to have ingredients that will irritate your skin.
There are no hidden ingredients, and it is made right here in the USA.
5. Earth Mama Belly Butter
Best for Stretch Marks
What better way to battle stretch marks than with a product designed specifically for your pregnant belly?
This product is free of parabens and contains no artificial fragrance. Its naturally occurring fragrance is light and won’t aggravate morning sickness.
It is made with organic ingredients, so you can feel good about slathering it all over your belly. And it has been dermatologist tested to ensure it doesn’t cause irritation.
6. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Bust Cream
Best Bust Cream for Pregnancy
This natural bust cream has been dermatologist tested and contains shea butter, vitamin E, and elastin.
It is designed to help firm and tone the skin on your bust. The argan oil with high vitamin E levels helps fight stretch marks you may have developed.
It has fatty acids and antioxidants, helping to soften and condition the skin. However, be advised that when using this product, you should wipe it off your breasts before nursing.
7. LED Face Mask
Best for Acne
If simple hygiene changes make no difference in your stubborn pregnancy acne, it may be time to invest in a non-medicated product.
Though pricey, this mask uses only LED light — with absolutely no harmful chemicals — to battle acne bacteria at its source and help to clear your complexion. And since it’s a multi-use product, you can continue to use it even after pregnancy to help with anti-aging and uneven skin tone.
With this mask, you’ll get to use the same technology at home that upscale dermatology salons use.
8. Aleavia Purifying Organic Facial Cleanser
Best Facial Cleanser for Pregnancy
This gentle and effective facial cleanser doesn’t contain any ingredients that could irritate your sensitive skin.
It is 100% natural and is made with organic ingredients. It contains no toxins, artificial fragrances, dyes, GMOs, and the cleanser is paraben-free.
Even though it’s gentle on your skin, it’s still effective and will even remove waterproof makeup and mascara at the end of a long day.
9. Burt’s Bees Sensitive Facial Cleansing Towelettes
Best Face Wipes for Pregnancy
These pre-moistened cleansing towels are the ultimate convenience and are made of 99% natural ingredients. They are especially great for sensitive skin.
The aloe formula helps calm your skin, and the simple wipes cleanse your skin thoroughly without the need to rinse your face afterward.
They are hypoallergenic and free of fragrances and contain cotton extract to help keep them soft. They are also made with ingredients certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, so you can rest assured this product won’t affect the environment.
10. Puracy Natural Shampoo
Best Shampoo for Pregnancy
This natural pregnancy-safe shampoo helps to cleanse your hair effectively without the use of harsh chemicals or sulfates.
Unlike some natural shampoos that don’t lather well, this one produces enough lather to cleanse your thick pregnancy hair. It has a citrus and mint scent that is typically tolerable for women with even the most severe morning sickness.
It can even be used on color-treated hair and comes in a pump bottle for easy application in the shower.
11. Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner
Best Conditioner for Pregnancy
This rich moisturizer contains shea butter, sea kelp, and argan oil to keep your thick hair manageable. It’s safe for use on all hair types, including color-treated and over-processed hair.
It is made with ethically-traded natural and certified organic ingredients so you can feel good about your purchase, knowing it contains no harmful ingredients that could pose a risk to you or your baby.
12. Herbatint Permanent Haircolor Gel
Best Hair Dye for Pregnancy
Professionals tend to disagree on whether it’s safe to dye your hair while pregnant. However, the amount of chemicals absorbed into your body is minimal, so most people tend to think it’s OK, especially since dyes are applied so infrequently.
This hair color is an excellent compromise between the full-scale chemical dyes you may be accustomed to and natural dyes that have a poor reputation for being ineffective or not lasting.
While Herbatint does contain some chemicals, it contains far less than most other brands available. Even better, the scent is not as strong as most coloring products as it doesn’t contain ammonia.
This product is also cruelty-free and vegan-friendly.
13. Karma Organic Nail Polish
Best Nail Polish for Pregnancy
This nail polish line contains no toluene, formaldehyde, phthalates, or parabens. It is safe for pregnant women, children, and allergy sufferers.
They have no harsh odor, and the results are chip resistant. The polishes come in many colors and finishes.
This nail polish will not cause your nails to turn yellow, and they even contain ingredients that help strengthen your nails.
Karma Organic Nail Polish is certified cruelty-free, and the packaging is 100% recyclable.
14. Piggy Paint Nail Polish Remover
Best Nail Polish Remover for Pregnancy
Acetone is not only harmful internally, but it also dries out and weakens your nails. This non-acetone nail polish remover has aloe vera to help condition and strengthen your nails while effectively removing your polish.
Piggy Paint nail polish remover was designed for kids as young as 3 years old to use safely to remove their Piggy Paint, so you can rest assured it will be safe for you to use during pregnancy.
While other brands of non-acetone polish removers have a reputation for ineffectiveness, reviewers agree this one works well, without the strong chemical scent.
15. Sun Bum Original Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion
Best for Sun Protection
This SPF 30 sunscreen offers broad-spectrum protection. This means it blocks UVA and UVB rays from the sun — all without gluten, oil, or parabens.
It’s even enriched with vitamin E, an excellent skin moisturizer an0d conditioner.
It is non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog your pores, and it goes on silky rather than greasy. It is waterproof for up to 80 minutes and has been tested and approved by the Skin Cancer Foundation.
It does not contain some of the most common allergens and is suitable for sensitive skin. It’s also vegan-friendly and cruelty-free.
16. Belli Anti-Blemish Facial Wash
Best for Acne-Prone Skin
Belli helps to calm your skin, reduce inflammation, and calm acne. This product will help with overall skin appearance.
This facial wash is OB-GYN and dermatologist approved and helps give your face a good cleansing routine.
This product is best suited for those with acne-prone skin types. Its formula is never tested on animals and is gluten- and allergen-free. It also contains no harmful chemicals, parabens, or artificial dyes.
17. Bio-Oil Multiuse Skincare Oil
Best for Lightening
This product doesn’t contain any of the dangerous lightening chemicals you need to avoid during pregnancy. Instead, it uses safe ingredients to help even out skin tone and minimize dark spots.
This bio-oil has no formaldehyde, parabens, or sulfates. It is not greasy and is hypoallergenic, so it is not likely to irritate your skin. Using it can also help with hydration, wrinkles, and fine lines.
The company is committed to cruelty-free products, so it has not been tested on animals.
18. Aloe Infusion Face & Body Cream
Best for Rehydrating
If you have severely dry skin, go for two of the best moisturizing ingredients known to man — aloe and shea butter. This product has both to help you soothe ultra-dry skin without any of the harmful chemical additives you should be avoiding.
It is made with organic ingredients and has 75 vitamins and antioxidants. It contains no artificial colors, fragrances, or parabens.
It even comes with a money-back guarantee if you’re not happy with the product.
19. Neutrogena Hydro Boost
Best Anti-Aging Cream for Pregnancy
Since you can’t use traditional retinol-based anti-aging products, this product is the next best thing. It uses hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring substance in your body, to help your skin retain moisture. This causes it to become extra plump or full, filling in fine lines and wrinkles without harmful retinol.
It is non-comedogenic, fragrance-free, dye-free, and oil-free. While it goes on like a gel, it is absorbed quickly and acts like a cream.
Neutrogena does not test its products on animals, except in the rare cases where it is required by law in other countries.
20. LilyAna Naturals Eye Cream Moisturizer
Best Eye Cream for Pregnancy
This retinol-free eye cream will help smooth, firm, lift, and brighten the area around your eyes with none of the additives you need to avoid during pregnancy.
It contains no parabens, artificial dyes, or fragrances. It is made with natural and organic ingredients, so you can feel good about putting it on your skin. It is also vegan-friendly and is never tested on animals.
It’s gentle enough for twice-daily use on the most sensitive skin, and if you’re not happy, there’s no risk because this eye cream comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Beauty Products To Avoid During Pregnancy
For a healthy pregnancy, these are some of the most common beauty and skin care ingredients you should avoid:
- Retinoids/retinol: These are derivatives of vitamin A, commonly found in acne and anti-aging products.
- Salicylic acid: It is generally recommended to avoid the frequent use of products with salicylic acid in them. It is an ingredient commonly found in products used to treat and manage acne.
- Benzoyl peroxide: This is another ingredient often found in acne products. It’s best to avoid regular long-term exposure.
- Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde is linked to reduced fertility and miscarriage (3). You are most likely to encounter it in nail polish.
- Soy: Soy can mimic estrogen in the body, so it’s best to avoid it during pregnancy. It can also make your dark skin patches worse.
- Parabens: Parabens can also mimic estrogen in the body. During a time when your hormonal balance is so important, avoid products that may interfere with it.
- Chemical sunscreens with oxybenzone: You need to protect your skin, but opt for a barrier, such as a mineral sunscreen, over traditional varieties that contain oxybenzone. This chemical helps absorb the UV rays in your skin and helps you metabolize it. Mineral sunscreens sit atop your skin and never enter your bloodstream.
The Bottom Line
Our top pick as the best pregnancy skin care product is Glow Organics Belly Butter. Every pregnant mama needs a good, high-quality body butter to help ease discomforts related to abdominal skin stretching and help minimize stretch marks.
This product is organic, hypoallergenic, paraben-free, and developed specifically with the pregnant woman in mind — which is why it’s the perfect pregnancy skin care product every mama should have in her skin care arsenal.