Mama Sol Explains It All: Your Pregnancy Skincare Routine

Mama Sol Explains It All: Your Pregnancy Skincare Routine

 

So you’re in your pregnancy era, which is *quite* the journey. It’s hard to fully prepare for how truly wild some of these changes to your body can be, including how hormone fluctuations can affect your skin. (So much fun!) Increased estrogen, progesterone, and androgens derived from testosterone are just some of the hormones going into overdrive with pregnancy.

You always hear about that legendary “pregnancy glow” with rosy cheeks and radiant, lit-from-within angel skin. The reality is that for many of us, that “pregnancy glow” means oily skin, hormonal acne, hyperpigmentation, and melasma. For others, skin can suddenly feel dull, dry, itchy, and flaky. You might get eczema for the first time ever. Your skin needs can seemingly change overnight. It’s a trip.

We like to think of pregnancy as Puberty 3.0 when it comes to skin—we skipped 2.0 because growing a tiny human is truly next-level magic. Scrutinize the ingredients in your skincare routine to keep you and your growing baby healthy and safe.


Suddenly, everything seems to contain ingredients on the banned list for pregnant women. Plus, your sense of smell might be in overdrive, so fragrance-free products can be your best friend.


We, the mamas of Mama Sol, have put together a guide to the essentials of a pregnancy-safe skincare routine for different skin types and issues, plus some of our favorite skincare and body products. You may have mastered an 8-step Korean skincare routine before pregnancy, but now’s the time to simplify, both in steps and safe ingredients. #mamasolknowsbest

 

First Stop: Ask a Health Professional

For peace of mind, consult your doctor, dermatologist, nurse midwife, or your healthcare provider for guidelines and product suggestions. They’re qualified to give you personalized advice based on your skin type and any potential concerns. And since skin needs can change quickly over the course of a pregnancy, always check in with them if you have questions or challenges.

 

Ingredients to Avoid During Pregnancy 

Always, always check product labels for these ingredients. When in doubt, choose products specifically designed for pregnant women. Check out the American Academy of Dermatology’s breakdown of pregnancy-safe acne treatments, too.

  • Retinol, Retin-A, and Retinyl Palminate
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Certain Essential Oils
    • Teatree Oil
    • Rosemary Oil
  • Hydroquinone
  • Aluminum Chloride Hexahydrate (in deodorants)
  • Phthalates, Tolulene & Formaldehyde (in nail polish, hair dyes and treatments)
  • Dihydroxyacetone (in spray tans)

 

Ingredients Safe For Pregnancy

These vetted skincare ingredients get the green light for pregnant mamas-to-be and can address issues like dullness, hyperpigmentation, acne, and sensitivity.

  • Vitamin C
  • Niacinamide
  • Glycolic Acid
  • Bakuchiol
  • Azelaic Acid
  • Zinc Oxide
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Hyaluronic Acid

 

Cleansers

It’s daunting to realize how many harsh chemicals might be lurking in your pre-pregnancy products. Once you stop and really examine ingredients, it’s easier to choose gentle, hydrating, and nourishing cleansers that won’t irritate skin or strip away natural oils. When it comes to skin breakouts, only one bump can stay and it’s not on your face.


Hypoallergenic, fragrance-free face cleansers and makeup removers are ideal since they’re less likely to cause allergic reactions. Plus, that scent you loved before you were pregnant might be suddenly nausea-inducing.


Keep in mind that your face may have totally different needs than the rest of your body. For example, oily facial skin with breakouts versus dry, itchy belly and vice versa.


Pregnancy skincare is like shopping for a two-piece bathing suit, where your top size might not match your bottoms. And yes, your boobs feel way more ginormous during pregnancy.  

 

Face Cleansers

For all kinds of skin, especially sensitive skin:

Pai Light Work Rosehip Cleansing Oil

It seems counterintuitive to use a cleansing oil on an oily face, but oil clings to oil and lifts it from your skin. Mix this vegan oil with water for a soothing emulsion that takes away the day’s grime with rosehip oil for nourished, soft, and radiant skin. Remove sunscreen and waterproof makeup without irritation to prevent acne and breakouts.


For oily, hormonal skin & breakouts:

Matrescence Rose Glow Purifying Cleanser

A gentle face wash that helps clear breakouts and blemishes without irritating, Matrescence’s purifying cleanser is great for oily and inflamed skin. It won’t strip natural oils, with calming plant-based ingredients like green tea, burdock root, and plantain extract.


Body Wash For All Skin Types

Nécessaire The Body Wash (Fragrance-Free)

The Body Wash is a super-gentle, oil-in-gel body cleanser infused with cacay, marula, and meadowfoam oils. Rich in antioxidants like vitamins A/C/E and niacinamide it’s hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, and non-comedogenic. Nourishing and non-drying with a refillable, eco-friendly bottle, it’s formulated without any of the ingredients on the EU’s stricter prohibited substances list so it’s safe for pregnant and nursing mamas.  

 

Moisturizers

Hydration, hydration, hydration. In addition to investing in one of those giant 64 oz motivational water bottles with time markers that tell you when to drink more, you can slather yourself in non-comedogenic moisturizers, creams, lotions, oils, and body butters that help lock in hydration without causing irritation or breakouts.

As your belly grows which can cause skin tightening, we recommend moisturizing body/belly butters and oils to minimize irritation and stretch marks. And don’t forget these two words: Nipple. Cream. Finally, no one talks about wild changes to the place where you never expected soreness , irritation, and itchiness(hello, hemorrhoids), but we’ve got a bottom balm for you. Your booty deserves care, too.

 

Facial Moisturizers

For dry skin & all skin types:

Cocokind Texture Smoothing Cream

Cocokind’s moisturizer is like a green juice for your skin, improving skin tone, texture, and firmness with all-day hydration. The lightweight, non-greasy cream helps minimize the appearance of pores and control shine while leaving skin with a smooth, satin finish.

 

For oily/combination and blemish-prone skin:

Pai The Pioneer Geranium & Thistle Mattifying Moisturizer

Rebalance your skin with this non-greasy, hydrating, and mattifying moisturizer. Hydrate dry spots and control shine with omega 6 and thistle oil. Note that this moisturizer has a calming, light geranium scent.

 

Body Moisturizers: Hydrate + Prevent/Reduce Stretch Marks

Nēmah Nourishing Belly Oil

This vegan, nourishing body oil is designed to prevent and reduce the appearance of stretch marks while hydrating dry, itchy skin. Powered by squalene, it can be massaged day and night onto your belly, boobs, or wherever skin feels tight, dry, or itchy. It’s also safe for breastfeeding. Unwind with a light fragrance of Meyer lemon, blood orange, and sweet apricot mingled with mimosa flower, Arabian jasmine, and wild lavender.

 

MUTHA Body Butter

This 100% naturally derived body butter glides on thanks to the trifecta of shea, cocoa, and mango butters. Rich in vitamins A and E, fatty acids, and antioxidants, it delivers lightweight yet intense moisture and does some seriously heavy lifting to improve skin tone/discoloration and minimize stretch marks. We love its subtle citrus scent for an instant mood boost.
 

Nēmah Revitalizing Stretch Mark Cream

Combat and reduce the appearance of stretch marks and help your skin regenerate during pregnancy with this vegan, deeply hydrating cream that’s powered by an active blend of peptides and sustainably sourced marine-based fermented extract. Safe for sensitive skin and pregnant/nursing women, it can be used in combination with Nemah’s Nourishing Belly Oil for a smooth, moisturized bump.

Nipple Cream

Motherlove Nipple Cream

An award-winning organic herbal nipple balm that soothes nipples during breastfeeding and pumping, it’s also great for moisturizing pregnant, dry skin and locking in hydration. It’s non-sticky, not overly greasy, and won’t cause buildup. Calendula flower has soothing and anti-inflammatory benefits for nips, too.

 

Swehl The Nips Duo

It’s good to be prepared! Made for your postpartum nipple journey, but the organic duo of Calm de Nips and Balm de Nips helps quickly relieve the pain from cracked and sore nipples. It’s also safe for baby, so no need to wipe off before breastfeeding or pumping. Plus, it’s made in LA and dermatologist approved.

 

Booty Balm
(Yes, we’re talking about your butt.)

Motherlove Mom’s Bottom Balm

You’ll want to take care of that booty during pregnancy and postpartum. This organic herbal salve soothes and calms that place you never expected to be a thing (until now). It’s steroid-free and made for hemorrhoids and general irritation inflammation down there. Yes, there.

 

Sunscreen

Sun’s out, bump’s out. Dermatologists recommend sticking to mineral sunscreens that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, since they’re FDA-approved ingredients that physically reflect UV rays and aren’t absorbed by the skin. Sunscreen is essential for minimizing dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and melasma along with sunburn and premature aging.

Chemical sunscreens, which are absorbed by the skin, may contain ingredients that enter the bloodstream and are harmful to the development of your baby—more studies are needed to pinpoint exactly which ingredients, but it’s best to avoid them when possible.

A daily, broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 will help prevent and alleviate pregnancy-related skin issues and damage. Don’t forget to reapply throughout the day.


Facial Sunscreen:

Mama Sol’s 100% Moisturizing Mineral Sunscreen with SPF 30

This vegan 3-in-1 powerhouse does it all while being reef-safe and ready for nearly anything your day throws at you. It primes, hydrates, and protects your face from UVA and UVB rays and blue light, so you can get an extra 5 minutes back. Safe for pregnant and nursing mamas, this mineral facial sunscreen will moisturize, brighten, and soothe skin with a calming, subtle lavender scent and no white cast.

Keep an eye out for our upcoming mineral body sunscreen!

 

Body Sunscreen:

Kinfield Cloud Cover SPF 35 Body Sunscreen

Reef-safe, sport-ready, and water-resistant—this body sunscreen also blends like a dream without a white cast. It’s made with 100% mineral non-nano zinc that won’t streak or melt off, so you can go on a hike or to the beach while growing that baby bump. Aloe, glycerin, and sea kelp keep your skin moisturized but never greasy. Don’t forget to apply to the back of your neck and tops of your feet!

 

Skin Treatments & Serums

There are pregnancy-safe alternatives to retinoids and salicylic acid to address skin issues like melasma, hyperpigmentation, eczema, and hormonal acne. It’s worth doing a skin patch test when trying new products, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Keep an eye out for naturally derived ingredients like vitamin C, bakuchiol, and hyaluronic acid, which help brighten, clarify, and hydrate skin.

Tower 28 SOS Rescue Serum

Powered by a concentrated dose of stable hypochlorus acid, this fragrance-free, lightweight serum helps soothe chronically sensitive, inflamed skin. It’s gentle, pH balanced (4.5), and alcohol-free to reduce redness and clear skin. You can use it on your face or anywhere on your skin. Win-win.

 

Covey Sleep Tight Bakuchiol Serum

For smoother skin, head this way. An overnight treatment that’s gentle and as effective as retinol without the harsh side effects, Covey’s bakuchiol serum is a gamechanger. Combined with niacinamide and a blend of other safe ingredients, it helps address skin texture, firmness, wrinkles, and dullness without leaving skin flaky and dry.

 

Simplify Your Skincare Routine

Daytime

  1.   Cleanse: Start your day with a gentle cleanser to refresh and prep your skin.
  2.   Moisturize: Hydrate your skin to maintain its elasticity and lock in moisture.
  3.   Apply Sunscreen: Shield your skin from the sun's harmful rays, blue light from devices, and IR (infrared radiation).

Nightime

  1.   Gently Cleanse/Double-Cleanse: Remove the day’s SPF, makeup, dirt, and products without over-cleansing.
  2.   Moisturize Overnight: Use a nourishing moisturizer to help your skin renew and heal itself overnight. This is where the overnight retinol-alternative serums come in.

Pro Tips For Pregnancy Skin

Keep That Diet Healthy

The whole “eating for two” thing has been debunked, so make sure you’re getting the calories and nutrition you and your growing baby truly need. Ask your doctor and healthcare team for personalized recommendations based on your body’s needs.

Healthy skin needs those vitamins and antioxidants, so reach for What To Expect’s 18 best foods during pregnancy and the Mayo Clinic’s pregnancy diet guidelines. We get how tempting it is to give into junk food cravings, but it’s best to limit how much refined sugar you eat for the sake of your skin, health, and baby.

 

Hydrate Like a Mother


Doctors recommend about 96 oz of water a day during pregnancy—that’s ¾ of a gallon or nearly 3 liters of water, which seems like a lot at first. The Stanley tumbler and Owala water bottle-collecting craze will eventually end like all trends, but hydration is always in.

Stay well-hydrated and set reminders on your phone or computer if needed to keep drinking water. Add fruit or cucumbers to your drink if it starts to feel like a chore. All of this will help prevent dehydration and skin dryness while boosting skin elasticity.

We recommend at least one absurdly large motivational water bottle that encourages and affirms you as you drink each hour. You can stick to BPA-free water bottles by using stainless steel or glass bottles.

Yeti Rambler 64 Oz Water Bottle           

Go big or stay home—this 64-oz bottle is great for days out. It only needs one refill to hit your daily pregnancy-era water goal and keeps your water nice and cold without getting sweaty on the outside. It’s 100% leakproof, which is something we can’t guarantee for pregnant and postpartum bladders.

Bink Mama Bottle

This 27-oz hydration tracking bottle is made of glass with a food-grade silicone sleeve. Designed with am/pm markings to guide you during pregnancy and postpartum, it’s free of BPAs, lead, cadmium, and phthalates.

 

Attempt to Chill Out

Pregnancy can be stressful, but managing stress is crucial for both your mental well-being and your skin's health. Incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily routine, like gentle restorative yoga or guided meditation.

The Calm App

Relieve anxiety and stress, improve sleep, tune into your body, manage your rollercoaster of emotions, and nurture that growing baby—what can’t meditation and mindfulness do? It can’t assemble that crib or stroller for you, but it can do a lot for peace of mind during pregnancy.

Every single body is different, and every pregnancy is its own journey. There’s no right or wrong way to grow your family, so remember to be gentle and kind to yourself. Adapting your skincare routine is just one step in self-care and mindfulness when it comes to nurturing yourself and your baby. Our recommendations are pregnancy-safe, but it’s a good idea to consult your healthcare team for a professional opinion before trying any new skincare products.

 

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