Current Skincare Routine While Pregnant and Acne Prone

One thing up front, if you have any questions about products or medications being safe while pregnant, ask your doctor.

So as you may or may not know, I am about six months pregnant. How I handle my skin, among many other things, has changed. Historically, I have had a very oily t-zone (shine breakthrough no matter the products I use after 2-3 hours on my chin and nose), normal to dry cheeks, very dry under eye area and mild to moderate acne controlled fairly well. This had not changed with the weather (other than my cheeks getting slightly drier) for the past two winters I have lived in Minnesota.

What does my skin look like today? Nearly normal t-zone, dry cheeks, almost normal (getting more dry now) under eye area, mild to moderate acne not so well controlled. Now I can't really say what has caused this sudden change of oil - pregnancy generally increases oil production but mine was so high already who's to say it didn't flip the other way. It also coincided with a fairly cold, dry winter this year and who's to say my skin didn't acclimate to the winter finally (after living in Miami for nearly 10 years with constant normal to high humidity). We'll see next year when not pregnant during the winter, perhaps!

In regards to the ingredients to avoid during pregnancy, there seems to be some mixed information out there to what is really bad or we-don't-know-so-don't-use-it bad. The for-sure-don't-use ones are Accutane, Retin-A, tetracycline. Retinol products are lumped into this group as well. Some sources say benzoyl peroxide is okay (doesn't work well for me anyway), most say salicylic acid is a no-no, glycolic acid is also mixed in with maybe safe or not. My previous prescription spot treatment of sulfur/sulfacetamide is not recommended but this is due to lack of testing (and who is going to test on pregnant ladies, right?). Everything falls under the "ask your doctor" category, basically. I opted to cut out all of those types of products in the better-safe-than-sorry mentality and bought a couple items from Belli which are formulated for use in pregnancy, see their FAQ here:

So with all this change, in addition to avoiding most active ingredients used for anti-aging and acne, my skincare routine has shifted quite dramatically. Here's what I'm doing now!

  • Wash face with Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser for Normal to Oily skin (hate how this stuff smells, should have bought the Gentle Skin Cleanser which is fragrance-free) - lately also using a cleansing cloth for a little gentle exfoliation to help with dry cheeks and flakes from acne treatment
  • Moisturize face/neck/chest/ears, under eyes and lids with one of the following:
    •  Cetaphil DERMACONTROL Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30 or
    •  LORAC protecTINT SPF 30 Tinted Moisturizer in Dare to Bare (I don't take this down my neck/chest, I will use one of the other two for this) or
    • Boots No 7 Rebalancing Day Fluid SPF 30 (just finished this bottle, finally)
  • Apply spot treatment to blemishes, lower chin and nose with Belli Acne Control Spot Treatment (uses colloidal sulfur and formulated for usage in pregnancy)
  • In shower, wash face and remove eye makeup with Trader Joe's NOURISH All-in-One Facial Cleanser (picked this up on a whim not knowing anything about it, just checked the ingredients to make sure there weren't an active ones I should avoid)
  • Moisturize face/neck/chest, under eyes and lids with Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel
  • Moisturize under eyes again after letting moisturizer sink in a few minutes bringing any excess down cheeks and around base of nose (as they've become a little more dry in the past month or so) with Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil (have a mini bottle from 100 point Sephora sample)
  • Apply spot treatment to blemishes, lower chin and nose with Belli Acne Control Spot Treatment (uses colloidal sulfur and formulated for usage in pregnancy)
And how has this new routine worked? It's okay, I'd say. My acne is definitely less controlled with this setup. I have 2-7 blemishes around my chin most of the time, a few smaller spots pop up on my nose and forehead but are the type that heal within a couple days. I will say that the Belli spot treatment is fairly effective at getting rid of an active spot, but I get more spots overall despite applying in my problem areas proactively than I did with my old sulfur/sulfacetamide treatment. I do get more peeling and flaking with the Bell as well, so I am careful to not apply it to high up on my chin/under my lip regularly because that area will peel if regularly treated. I did also try the Anti-Blemish Facial Wash but a) it had a stinky smell and b) it seemed to be causing some excess dryness so I switched to a gentle face wash instead.

Adding the Josie Maran 100% Argan Oil has helped my under eyes which were reverting back to being dry. I haven't found any of the other moisturizers have aggravated my acne and they are keeping my skin from being too dry. I am fairly happy with the Trader Joe's face wash, it's not great at removing eye makeup but does fine with one round of cleansing as long as I haven't tightlined heavily with a waterproof liner or used a more goopy mascara. I also appreciate that it's not scented; the first 5 months of pregnancy I had been very bothered or nauseated by a lot of scents that normally wouldn't bother me. That's finally calming down and I can wear a bit more of my regular fragrances again.

I think that about wraps it up! Hopefully this is helpful to someone with my skin type considering options during pregnancy. Let me know if you have any questions or comments and thanks for stopping by!