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Pregnancy Safe Treatments



Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy result in more than just a growing belly, they may have a significant impact on our skin. Since studies on safety of various topical medications are very few and not routinely performed on pregnant women, it is best to practice caution with application of stronger topicals that can result in systemic absorption. However, there are a few products that can be safely and effectively used during pregnancy. As an expectant mother of twins, I know how important it is to have a safe and effective skin regimen during this time. Below are a few common skincare conditions that occur during pregnancy and our favorite therapies to help expectant mothers.


Striae gravidarum or stretch marks will develop in up to 90% of pregnant women. There is some evidence that tretinoin can reduce stretch marks, but its use in pregnancy is controversial. Traditional treatments like cocoa butter and olive oil have not been proven effective. We recommend Stratamark® ($100, 50 g), which is a transparent and odorless topical that is safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Studies show a 43% reduction in stretch mark development. It also improves color, visibility and itching associated with stretch marks.


Topical retinoids are the mainstay of therapy for acne, however, they are contraindicated during pregnancy. Although, topical application results in very low absorption there is controversy as to whether this can result in birth defects. For this reason, it is recommended to avoid the use of topical retinoids during pregnancy.

There are prescription topicals such as finacea (azelaic acid) and antibiotics that can be safely and effectively applied during pregnancy for the treatment of acne. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) provide chemical exfoliation to help keep pores clean and prevent acne. AHA can be safely used in pregnancy, especially in low concentration. We recommend the Glytone Mild Gel Wash ($33, 6.7 fl oz) and Neocutis Neocleanse Exfoliating Cleanser ($38, 4 fl oz) for clear and bright skin during your pregnancy.


Although topical retinoids should be avoided during this time, there are plenty of options to keep your skin protected and wrinkle-free. As always, strict sun protection is paramount during pregnancy. We recommend a broad-spectrum sunscreen that contains zinc oxide, my favorite product is colorescience® Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield ($39, 1.8 oz). This is a lightweight, chemical-free mineral sunscreen with invisible coverage and UVA and UVB protection. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is excellent for skin hydration as well as anti aging and thankfully is safe to continue during pregnancy! I recommend the SkinMedica® HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator ($178, 2.0 oz) which will reduce fine lines and can be used with or without additional moisturizers. It is best to avoid any injectables (neuromodulators such as BOTOX® and fillers such as Restylane®) as these have not been well studied.


Many women can experience worsening eczema or dry skin during their pregnancy. Practicing gentle skin care and using bland emollients especially after bathing is the first step in treatment. I recommend Avène® XeraCalm A.D Lipid Replenishing Cream ($33, 6.76 oz). This is a fragrance-free lotion that is safe for moms and babies alike. Helps sooth skin, reduces itching and irritation, and helps to restore the skin barrier.

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