Wouldn’t it be nice if we all got that pregnancy glow? The plumped pout, wonderfully juicy skin and an angelic complexion that tells the world that you and your baby are doing just fine. Truth is, most of us won’t – and will instead spend nine months fighting off sunspots, acne and dark circles in a battle to bank healthy sleep and eating while our hormones are having other ideas. So, if ever there was a good time for skincare to have its faux glow showtime, it is now.
Wherever you stand on skincare ingredients (high tech or home-spun, organic or injectables) you will however all need to stand on the right side of safety when you are pregnant. That usually means avoiding retinol, salicylic acid (topical Salicylic acid is thought to be pregnancy safe up to 2%), hydroquinone, parabens, aluminium chloride, and many essential oils. Bad news for anyone who doesn’t read the inky list of ingredients on the back (now you really need to) but in fact, not such bad news for your skin.
Pregnancy-safe skincare has come a long way now. Even a beauty junkie like me (I’ll try anything once) can get what she needs from the baby-friendly beauty aisle. So, what did I get exactly?
Pregnancy Skincare Essentials
No beauty editor will ever go without sunscreen, particularly during pregnancy when skin is both more sensitive and prone to sunspots. Do try to go for mineral-based physical screens, however, which are both kinder to temperamental skin and safer for baby. I loved CeraVe’s solutions; which not only blended a face-friendly, combination of mineral filters zinc-oxide and titanium dioxide, but also came without any whiff of that all-too familiar sweet tropical scent.
If you are worried about sunspots, you would do well to keep up the vitamin C too, just as I did. The wonderstuff brightens skin, is completely safe throughout pregnancy and will help regulate an otherwise tumultuous melanin production over the next 40ish weeks. I am forever loyal to Skinceuticals C E Ferulic, but generally, if the solution is 10 per cent vitamin C or above, you’re in good glow-getting hands.
Hyaluronic acid (an ingredient which binds water to skin to keep it hydrated and juicy) is a non-negotiable for me, and thankfully I didn’t need to negotiate at all while expecting as it’s completely safe during pregnancy. I did however stick to reliable, derm-tested brands for their versions, including Vichy and La Roche Posay.
The Retinol Alternative
What’s a skincare addict to do though when skin-conditioning retinol is taken off the list? Fear not, that’s what, because alternatives are finally here. Bakuchiol is one such wonderstuff, being a powerful antioxidant that also reduces inflammation, reconditions skin texture, fades lines and wrinkles – much like a retinol. (It is important to note, that while there is no evidence of harm, equally there is not a huge amount of research confirming it is completely safe in pregnancy, studies are still emerging). FTC’s Brighten Up, a blend of melasma targeting bakuchiol, repairing antioxidants and plumping fatty acids, comes in a very close second best to retinols for transforming tired skin.
While Medik8’s Bakuchiol Peptides also kept my skin and I satisfied when sleep was hard to find.
When your list of things to do, buy and try is ever-growing, it feels good to keep skincare essentials down to, well, just the essentials. To me, a quartet of vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, sunscreen and a good retinol alternative, is all you need. Let’s make things easy and leave the ‘faux glow’ work to your well-edited skincare.