Pregnancy and Skincare

Pregnancy is a special experience when expecting mothers revel in happiness and glory. Some women experience a glowing beauty. However, some women also experience skin issues because of the extra hormones.

The elevated androgen levels in the first trimester usually cause skin issues. Rise in hormone levels increases the skinís natural oil secretion, which leads to skin issues. Not just acne but also rashes, skin spots and discoloration. A lot of women also experience dark circles under the eye. These are temporary and usually settle down as the pregnancy progresses.

Pregnancy and Skincare

While some women are prescribed antibacterial skin creams, it is also safe to use home remedies. The right skincare routine with a fat-free diet of fresh vegetables and fruits can bring back a glowing skin.

What to Expect?

The skin is the first to respond to pregnancy with a number of changes and shifts. The most common is skin pigmentation in different areas. You might notice the skin around the breast nipples getting darker. The same darkening happens in the inner thighs and pubic area. Some women can find a dark line from the navel to the pubis.

Be prepared to deal with dark patches on the face, known as chloasma that appears prominently on the cheek and around the lips. Do not worry as chloasma usually goes away after delivery. Since these patches get darker with exposure to the sun, avoid going out too much. Stay in the shade and if you do need to go out use a safe sunscreen cream or lotion. If the patches worsen, ask your doctor to prescribe a topical Vitamin C cream, which can bring down the darkening. Creams containing azelaic acid are also safe. However, do not use anything without consulting your doctor.

Acne is another common skin issue during pregnancy. Many women experience acne during the first trimester of pregnancy because of changing levels of estrogen hormone. Women dealing with pregnancy-induced acne can seek the advice of the dermatologist for the use of a safe topical antibiotic. Though acne goes away after pregnancy, it can cause irritation, redness and itching. Treatment options for acne include retinoids, agents such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. According to Dr. Sumayah Jamal, Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology and Microbiology at NYU Medical Center, women should not use any products containing retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid. Oral forms of these agents were found to pose complications to the developing fetus, however topical application in small amounts was less likely to cause complications. However seek the advice of the healthcare provider before using creams or lotions containing retinoids and salicylic acid.


Retinoids are a type of vitamin A; studies reveal high quantities of vitamin A during pregnancy can be harmful to the unborn child. Intake of oral retinoids during pregnancy was found to cause serious health problem to the fetus. Isotretinoin is an oral retinoid which is used to treat severe acne. Taking isotretinoin during pregnancy can result in miscarriage, premature birth, birth defects like cleft palate, congenital heart defects, hydrocephalus, ear and eye problems.

Topical retinoids are applied directly to the skin. There is no sufficient data to prove that topical retinoids are safe during pregnancy. Consult with your healthcare provider before taking oral retinoids and using topical retinoids.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid belongs to the aspirin family which is used to treat certain skin disorders including acne. Research studies state high doses of salicylic acid in oral form can cause birth defects and other pregnancy-related complications. Small amounts of cream containing salicylic acid applied onto the skin are unlikely to pose any risk to the developing baby.

Sulfur-based topical creams and some creams with alpha hydroxy acids are considered safe. Again do seek the help of a doctor who will help you decide on the best option. Other prescription creams considered safe include erythromycin cream and creams with an azelaic acid base. Oral antibiotics should be avoided during pregnancy.

Natural Home Remedies for Treating Skin Problems During Pregnancy

A wide range of home remedies works best for skin issues during pregnancy as they are safe and free of chemicals.

Clean your skin with cold water and mild soap. Avoid strong soaps. Try an Ayurvedic soap that contains sandalwood oil, neem, turmeric or Aloe Vera. Avoid hot water as it can dry out the skin. Do not scrub the skin as it can abrade and cause bleeding. Gently rub the soap in a circular motion. Wash well and gently pat using a clean towel. You can use a gentle, oil-free moisturizer to avoid dryness. Do not keep changing your soap and moisturizer.

Try the following natural solutions to rid yourself of acne, discoloration and spots.

Baking Soda

Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate improves the pH levels of skin. It has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and soothes the skin. Mix one teaspoon of baking soda with one teaspoon of water or lemon juice. This paste can be used to daily for exfoliation.

Baking Soda Soothes the Skin

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera replenishes skin nutrients and cleanses the skin. Use freshly cut aloe vera to extract the juice and apply over the face. Wash off with cold water after a few minutes.

Lemon and Turmeric

Lemon is a good astringent and cleanser. Use half a lemon dipped in turmeric powder and dab over the face. Wash with cold water after a few minutes. The combination of lemon and turmeric has antibacterial properties, which takes care of minor skin infections.


Cucumber is a natural coolant and soothes the irritated skin. Either use freshly sliced cucumber or extract juice, which can be applied to the face. Let it remain for a few minutes. Wash with cold water.

Milk and Saffron

Milk is a natural moisturizer and aids in healing acne. Mix a few strands of saffron in cold milk. Let it stand for a while. Apply over the face and wash off with cold water after a few minutes.

Rose Water

Rose water is a natural cleansing agent. It purifies the skin and keeps the skin cool and moist. Use good quality, certified rose water along with regular water to wash your face.

Rose Water Cleanses The Skin


Fenugreek (methi seeds) is a great coolant and cleanser. You can easily buy fenugreek powder at a general store. Make a paste with water and apply first thing in the morning. Rinse with cold water after it dries out. Alternatively, soak fenugreek seeds in water and grind to a paste. Apply as a mask. This will leave your skin feeling cool and fresh.


Sandalwood powder or even sandalwood oil is used to remove marks and blemishes. Make a paste with water and apply over pigmented areas and over acne. Wash with cold water. Sandalwood has antiseptic properties and fights skin infections.

Apart from external applications, it is important to follow a balanced and nutritious diet. Add plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to your daily meals. Go along with colorful salads like carrot, green, red and yellow peppers, broccoli and zucchini. Get a handful of nuts every day. Go for the almonds and walnuts. Take coolants like yogurt and buttermilk. Avoid deep fried and over-spiced foods. Stay away from heavy foods that do not digest easily. Be light yet include nourishing foods. Taking care of the skin from within is important. This will also keep you fit and healthy throughout the pregnancy.

Eat a Balanced Nutritious Diet


  1. Safety of skin care products during pregnancy - (
  2. Pregnancy week by week - (

Latest Publications and Research on Skin Care During Pregnancy

Most Popular on Medindia