Pregnancy Skincare: What Ingredients To Avoid?
Pregnancy Skincare: What Ingredients To Avoid?

Pregnancy Skincare: What Ingredients To Avoid?

4 minutes read

Pregnancy is one of the most special times of your life, but managing the myriad changes your body undergoes can also feel overwhelming – especially when it comes to pregnancy skincare and the long list of ingredients and chemicals that can potentially harm your baby. Whilst some products in your skincare arsenal may seem harmless, it could be that they contain one or more chemicals to avoid during pregnancy. 

Plus, there are fake tan rules when pregnant, plus ingredients to try and ones to avoid. Read on.

Pregnant women

Skincare ingredients to avoid when pregnant

Whether you’re looking for pregnancy skincare products to alleviate hormonal acne or dark patches on your face, or a pregnancy moisturiser to nourish dry skin, look out for these ingredients so that you know what skincare products to avoid during pregnancy: 


The skincare and anti-ageing benefits of retinol are well-documented, but it’s one of the main chemicals to avoid during pregnancy. Studies have shown that using retinoids during pregnancy can lead to a condition called “fetal retinoid syndrome,” which is a pattern of physical and mental birth defects.

High-dose salicylic acid

Avoid using salicylic acid while pregnant. Whilst salicylic acid is a common ingredient to treat acne due to its anti-inflammatory capabilities, high dose applications, such as face peels, have been found to increase the risks of intracranial bleeding.


Your pregnancy skincare regime should not include phthalates, as exposure to these are endocrine-disrupting chemicals that can cause serious reproductive and hormone dysfunction. Check your product labels for diethylphthalate, commonly found in moisturisers and shampoo, and avoid using these skin products during pregnancy.

Skincare ingredients that are great during pregnancy

It is possible to make safe pregnancy skincare choices and keep your expectant mum glow! These ingredients are safe to use when you’re expecting:

Glycolic acid

Glycolic acid shares many of the same benefits as retinol but is safe to use during pregnancy. Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) used in many skincare products, such as this Clarins Exfoliating Body Scrub, £32, to gently exfoliate the outermost skin cells, revealing a brighter, more glowing complexion. 

Vitamin C

When it comes to brightening and smoothing skin tone during pregnancy, vitamin C is an effective skincare ingredient. Vitamin C also boosts collagen production and protects against environmental skin damage. If you don’t know, you’ll find that the benefits of vitamin C go more than skin deep. 


You can use niacinamide during pregnancy. Also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide benefits by soothing the skin, helping to improve the appearance of acne and pores, and protects against sun damage and environmental aggressors by maintaining your skin’s barrier.

Hyaluronic acid

Do you know about Hyaluronic acid? It helps keep our skin well-moisturised and hydrated from the inside. Because it’s found naturally in our tissue, it’s safe to use during pregnancy. You’ll typically find it in cleansers, face mists, serums, oils, and moisturisers. 


You can safely include products with ceramides in your pregnancy skincare regime to help combat the signs of ageing and thinning skin. Similar to hyaluronic acid, ceramides are naturally produced by the body and help maintain hydration. 

A safe pregnancy skincare routine

Spruce up your skincare and beauty routine with pregnancy-friendly options that will keep you glowing while keeping your baby safe:

1. Cleanse

Cleanse your skin both morning and evening with a Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser, £24 to neutralise the drying effect of hard water and cleanse the skin whilst respecting its pH balance (check out why you need to balance your face here.) And it also leaves the face feeling fresh, soft and clean. 

2. Tone

Rinse your skin and follow up with Clarins Purifying Toning Lotion, £36, to refresh and tone your skin whilst preparing it for your next skincare products. Alcohol-free, it softens the skin, for a wonderfully refreshing sensation you will really appreciate during and even after pregnancy.

Clarins Purifying Toning Lotion, £36

Toning lotion

3. Exfoliate

Once or twice a week, exfoliate the face. A Clarins Gentle Peeling Smooth Away Cream, £26, will eliminate dead surface skin cells and impurities, leaving your skin feeling very soft. The result is a clearer, smoother and more even complexion.

4. Protect

Your face needs particular protection in the morning. Despite daylight encouraging vitamin D synthesis, it can also accelerate signs of ageing. Use Clarins Multi-Active Jour, £47, which has been specially designed to smooth out early wrinkles and protect from the harmful effects of a stressful lifestyle, promoting a youthful-looking face for longer. At night, nourish your skin with Clarins Multi-Active Nuit, £49.

5. Stretch marks

To prevent stretch marks during pregnancy, apply moisturiser on your belly, hips, and thighs. Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil, £44, which has been the go-to product for pregnant women since 1965, is made from 100% pure plant extracts to tone the skin and improve elasticity, ideal for removing stretch marks.

Exclusive Clarins Gift For Mothers

maternity special offer
SPECIAL OFFER: Whether you’re expecting or have already welcomed your baby into the world, Clarins will help you feel beautiful with this gorgeous 4 piece kit and pouch when you spend £40. Offer available from 20th June – 31st December 2023. Click here for more information.

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