Can You Use Retinol When Pregnant?

Can You Use Retinol When Pregnant?

There’s no denying that pregnancy is an exciting time, having said that it can feel confusing most of the time too. Certain things you aren’t allowed to eat, drink, and even specific skincare products. The latter is something we can help with today, but before we dive in, I just wanted to remind you how important it is to consult with your doctor or midwife for peace of mind you’ll be applying the safest formulas to the skin. We will be exploring further into finding out which ingredients should be used, and which are best avoided, such as retinol. 

What are the benefits of retinol?

Retinol is one of the highest performing ingredients in the beauty industry. Adored by skincare experts this potent form of vitamin A delivers an impressive amount of skin benefits. Applying a topical retinol product in your evening skincare routine will have a significant improvement in complexion, here are some examples of the benefits you can expect to see.

  • Reduces the appearance of wrinkles helping to smooth out the skin and preventing further fine lines and wrinkles from developing.
  • Increases the speed of skin cell turnover helping to reveal new skin cells underneath leaving the complexion, glowing, brightened, and healthy.
  • Minimises the frequency of breakouts and blemishes whilst regulating sebum production on the skin surface.
  • Helps improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation and dark spots caused from overexposure to UV rays and other free radical damage.

If you wanted to find out more about retinol and its various skin benefits, check out our dedicated blog post.

What happens if you use retinol while pregnant?

While there is no firm evidence to suggest how topical derivatives of retinol products can cause birth defects, it is still advised by many to avoid retinol completely until your baby is born and you have stopped breast feeding. This is because even products applied to the face will absorb into the bloodstream and pass into the baby through the placenta, or when feeding. The form of retinol that must be avoided at all costs is systemic retinoids that are taken orally. Whether you are applying retinol to your skin or consuming it, all experts agree that avoiding any form of retinol is best for limiting the risk of birth defects occurring in the embryo and fetus.

When should I stop using retinol during pregnancy?

It is advised to avoid using any form of retinol once you are pregnant. This is due to the fact that there is still a lot unknown about the effects of retinol and other forms, such as tretinoin, has on the baby’s organs forming probably. Depending on the strength of the formula, it is considered ok to apply retinol between months four and nine of your pregnancy. Having said that, it is still vital to consult with your doctor or dermatologist to determine it is the best formulation. Do not use any products on the skin containing retinol without receiving all clear from your GP to ensure you remain safe throughout your pregnancy and keep yourself and baby safe and healthy.

As for using retinol whilst breastfeeding, you’ll find there is more information over on our dedicated blog post about using retinol when breastfeeding. 

Can I use vitamin C serum while pregnant?

Yes, it is considered safe to use vitamin C serums while pregnant. The only factor you must be mindful of how your skin will react to the potent powerhouse. This is due to the fact that your skin type can often change whilst you’re expecting, some mothers to be find their skin can become increasingly sensitive and prone to redness so always perform a patch test for 24 hours before applying any formulation to your face.

Another bonus to using vitamin C is the fact that one of the main benefits is its antioxidant properties and abilities to counteract signs of dark spots and hyperpigmentation. By working these together, you’ll find the complexion is left looking even, glowing, and luminous. 

What face products to avoid while pregnant?

There are a number of face products that must be avoided using while pregnant, below are examples.

  • Retinol derivatives

As I have already mentioned, there is still a lot unknown about retinol and how it can affect the baby’s development. Whilst looking at over the counter formulas it is thought best to avoid any products containing ingredients, such as retinyl acetate, retinyl palmitate, retinyl linoleate, and retinyl propionate.

  • Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is a very popular skincare ingredient and is found in an array of products, from body cream, shower gels, and overnight serums. It is important to ensure you check the ingredients in the formula, ensuring you opt for products that contain lower levels of the potent BHA to bypass any unwanted irritation and reaction.

  • Essential oils

Although essential oils are completely natural, it is still thought best to limit the number of times you apply them to the skin. This is because there some side effects that can occur when applying them regularly to the face, such as increased sensitivity to sun exposure and increased risk of areas of hyperpigmentation developing with long lasting damage caused to the skin.

  • Glycolic acid

As one of the most used AHAs, glycolic acid is advised to safe until the baby has arrived safely. Having said that, this does not mean that all AHAs are bad, lactic acid for example, is considerably more gentle than glycolic acid.

There you have some examples of some ingredients to avoid, as I have already mentioned, for peace of mind, always perform a patch test for 24 hours before applying anything to the entire face.

There you have a little more information about using retinol whilst pregnant. Don’t forget if you have any further questions, you can come and find us on Instagram.

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