Is Pregnancy playing HAVOC with your skin?

Hormones in pregnancy can effect you in many ways.

Acne, dryness, sensitivity, can be common.

You most likely will have to adapt your skin care.

Here is an overview of some of the common skin issues during pregnancy and some ideas of how to help.

I’ve also included some of my favourite products


If you are reading this, chances are you are counting down the day’s to your baby’s arrival! Why don’t you email us to learn more about my maternity or newborn sessions.






During pregnancy, there are an increased amount of hormones in the body. These hormones can increase oil secretion, which in turn may result in increased acne/ breakouts. This is most common in the first and second trimester.


If your acne becomes severe or it is bothering you, it might be worthwhile having a chat with your midwife or GP. You will want to establish a good skin care routine, however, you will need to select your products carefully, as you do not want to use anything to harsh as it could cause more irritation.


Products to use


You need to look for gentle skin care products. You definitely want to stay away from traditional acne remedies containing retinol during pregnancy, you might also want to avoid products containing salicylic acid (a BHA). Although this ingredient won’t harm the foetus, given how the skin can become more sensitive during pregnancy, side effects from salicylic acid could increase.


Or you can also use a product containing azelaic acid. Neither an AHA or BHA, and totally safe to use in pregnancy, azelaic acid can significantly reduce the appearance of blemishes as well as help fade post-acne marks and other discolourations to reveal a more even skin tone. Try The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%, applied once or twice a day beneath your moisturiser or SPF.


Try exfoliating once a week and stay clear of acne medications. For stubborn spots, many women like to use a targeted treatment or cream on the breakout in a bid to make it disappear. Sudocrem’s Skin Care Cream is the perfect choice for this for pregnant women.



For a fantastic weekly face mask, take a look at the The Organic Pharmacy purifying seaweed clay mask: £37.95, The Organic Pharmacy


A much loved British brand, this product combines organic ingredients and medicinal herbs with a homeopathic approach to skincare and wellness. Many of the ingredients are extremely potent, which means during pregnancy you should be careful about which products you’re choosing, but their purifying seaweed clay mask is not only safe but also highly effective.

Ideal for all skin types, it’s especially good for those pregnancy breakouts and congested skin. Containing lavender, spirulina, clay, pine bark extracts and papaya, it draws out impurities and re-balances your skin. The seaweed calms any redness, while the pine bark boosts your glow. Your skin will be left glowing and bright.






Sensitivity can be increased with hormonal changes during pregnancy. You may even find you are sensitive to your usual skin care products. Its important to use gentle products in your skin care regime.


Products to use


Avène is renowned for its soothing, calming formulas and no-fuss approach to results-orientated skincare. Avène extremely gentle cleanser lotion: is a cleanser doesn’t dry out the skin like many cleansers, yet it is still great for oilier skin types. It contains an ingredient called parcerine, a new active that reduces skin reactivity.


A super mosturiser for sensitive skin is La Roche-Posay toleriane sensitive creme

It’s extremely comforting, dermatologist-recommended and anti-inflammatory – and is great for dry or oily skin as it rebalances and hydrates, without leaving a greasy residue. La Roche-Posay claim it’s so safe that you can use it on babies.


Also from the same range is the once a week calming mask  La Roche Posay Hydraphase Masque. This is free of fragrance and parabens as fragrances can often trigger inflammation





Small blood vessels and capillaries can multiply during pregnancy as many blood vessels get larger to accommodate a larger blood volume. Many women can see spider vessels and increased general redness on the face or even the palms of their hands. Occasional facial flushing is related to the hormonal changes of pregnancy.


Products to use

To manage hot flushes, try Bloom and Blossom Rejuvenating Facial Spritz, a fantastic skin conditioner with collagen-boosting ingredients, cooling aloe vera and lime oil which help improve skin tone and reduce wrinkles and dark shadows.


Another product suitable for pregnant women, is Bioderma Sensibio AR, which instantly soothes, reduces the intensity of redness and prevents it appearing and getting worse.




Some mums-to-be experience dry skin as all the hydration goes to the baby first. It’s important to eat a healthy diet and especially foods with a high water content such as vegetables, fruits and nuts. Take a look at my recent blog, on healthy eating during pregnancy.


Products to use

Weleda started in 1921 as a pharmaceutical laboratory, with its own plant garden. It’s now sold in over 50 countries on all five continents. It’s an affordable brand which is available from Holland and Barrett. For anyone experiencing skin dryness and dehydration during pregnancy, the perfect product for you is Weleda Skin Food. Being slightly heavier in texture, its best used at night to allow it to soak in.





This pillow spray is great for those restless nights before your little one arrives. What’s better is that is it safe to use with your little one when they arrive.





Stretch marks are common in pregnancy. This light but lovely scented balm, contains vitamins and oils to help prevent stretch marks.





This beautiful bath oil, contains fragrant essential oils to help nourish the skin and create a tranquil bath experience.




There are various ingredients – both natural and synthetic – that are advised against in pregnancy: This information has been taken from an article in Harpers Bazaar.

-Vitamin A/retinol. Some studies have linked retinol-based products to birth and child defects and therefore they are best avoided in pregnancy and during breastfeeding. Another reason to avoid vitamin A-based products is because as they speed up cell turnover, they “also make the skin much more prone to sun damage and developing pigmentation”.

-Phthalates/formaldehyde/toluene. Look out for these chemicals in perfume and nail polishes. While currently inconclusive, research is being carried out to assess a possible link with birth defects. Look to nail polish brands such as Nailberry which are formulated to be “12 chemical free”.

-Ammonia. Found in some hair dyes, it has carcinogenic properties, so steer clear. Your colourist will be able to advise you on ammonia-free options and whether it’s safe to colour your hair once you’ve passed the first trimester of pregnancy.

-Dihydroxyacetone via spray tans. This is the non-toxic active ingredient in self-tanning products which doesn’t travel beyond the outer layer of the skin and therefore isn’t absorbed into the body, so you don’t have to avoid it completely. However, the effects of inhalation are not known, so you may want to avoid spray tanning whilst pregnant.

-Certain essential oils.Although natural, there are several essential oils that should be used with caution during pregnancy. The agents they contain have small molecular weight and high volatility, so they may affect the body as a whole. Many essential oils increase the skin’s sensitivity to UV, which isn’t great considering the risk of pigmentation is higher during pregnancy.” Basil, rosemary, juniper berry, jasmine, cypress and chamomile blue are essential oils to avoid given their potential to over-stimulate and encourage menstruation. Camphor, peppermint extract, and mint oil are also not recommended during pregnancy, especially for those late in pregnancy or those with an increased risk of miscarriage.



So, hormones do effect your skin differently during pregnancy, however, there are so many products out there to help alleviate any skin conditions you may have. Its worth talking to your GP, midwife or a dermatologist if you have any specific questions.