Best Pregnancy Skincare Products

Skincare during pregnancy can be tough. Especially if you deal with hormonal breakouts, dry skin, oily skin — you name it, it can happen! 2018 has been a huge year for skincare. With that comes a bunch of recommended products:

(Before using any products, please speak with your doctor to confirm that they are safe to use during your pregnancy.)

Photo: Courtesy of the retailer

Being pregnant is (of course) a joy, but it also means giving up some fun foods (sushi, cold-cuts, wine) and activities (high-intensity workouts) for nine months. Pregnant women also have to be careful about their skin-care, particularly because several ingredients that disrupt the skin barrier ? effective acne-fighting ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid or fine-line diminishers like retinoids ? are exactly the things doctors would urge patients to avoid. That can be bad news to moms-to-be, whose acne and other skin conditions may get worse during this period. To find the best alternatives based on skin?s needs, we spoke to five dermatologists about what ingredients to absolutely avoid during pregnancy and the best products to tackle problems like acne. Says Dr. Jennifer MacGregor of Union Square Dermatology: ?Regardless of your skin issue, get a recommendation from your dermatologist and check with your OB before trying to conceive, or as soon as you find out you are pregnant.?

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%


at Deciem

Unfortunately, retinoids (and retinols), the Vitamin A?derived holy-grail ingredient that works wonders on both acne and fine lines by promoting skin-cell turnover, are considered unsafe to use during pregnancy. So how should pregnant women address acne if many go-to products contain retinoids and salicylic acids? All five of our experts recommended azelaic acid, a topical that is used for acne and rosacea. It works by killing bacteria found in pores and also decreases the production of keratin. Dr. Michelle Park of Washington Square Dermatology thinks it?s fantastic because it has dual properties: not only is it great for acne, ?but it also basically stops the production of pigment in the skin.? MacGregor agrees and says that ?Azelaic acid has a subtle brightening effect.? Although typically prescribed by doctors (under the name Finacea, for example), azelaic acid can also be found over the counter. Try this ?multifunctional brightening formula? by The Ordinary.

Acnomel Adult Acne Medication Cream


at Amazon

In addition to azelaic acid, New York dermatologist Dr. Cybele Fishman says that pregnant women can use ?topical erythromycin (prescription) and all over-the-counter topical sulfur, topical zinc, and topical niacinamide treatments.? Fishman recommends this sulfur-based acne medication called Acnomel, as well as this niacinamide and zinc blemish treatment from The Ordinary.

Acropass Trouble Cure


at Soko Glam

As is the hot new product from Acropass. But be careful: The Acropass patch is a two-step process that includes sanitizing the blemish with a swab soaked in salicylic acid, so Park advises skipping that part and using regular alcohol instead. The microneedles are safe, too. (Microneedling in general is considered safe during pregnancy, but other procedures like Botox and fillers are not.)

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel


at Ulta Beauty

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) are both popular types of skin exfoliants, but according to MacGregor, ?They disrupt the skin barrier and enhance penetration of other topicals including botanicals and other untested substances.? While she advises that it?s best to avoid them, there wasn?t a general consensus among the derms we spoke to on what types of acids within each category were safe. Some doctors advised avoiding them altogether (salicylic acid is a BHA, for example), while others, like Fishman, said that certain acids like glycolic, lactic, malic, and mandelic acids, are okay to use. Hyaluronic acid, though, is just fine. Park likes Neutrogena?s Hydro Boost gel cream, which contains hyaluronic acid. ?Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance found in our body?s tissues that?s naturally there anyway, so it?s not like introducing a foreign chemical,? she says. ?It has a lot of benefits of moisturizing and plumping up the skin, which can fight fine lines. It?s just an overall great moisturizer.?

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5


at Deciem

Strat beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton also wrote about her favorite hyaluronic acid products. Check out this affordable ?supersmooth, plumping? serum from The Ordinary that has ?all the deeply hydrating and moisturizing effects of a fancy serum, but at the best price ever.?

Glytone Enhance Brightening Complex


at Dermstore

For another face cream that contains the benefits of exfoliating acid, there?s Enhance Brightening Complex from Glytone. It?s one of Park?s favorite moisturizers and contains both azelaic acid and glycolic acid, which she says is fine to use during pregnancy. ?They help both with acne but also to even out skin tone.?

EltaMD UV Physical Broad Spectrum SPF 41 Sunscreen


at Dermstore

For pregnant women looking for a safe and simple skin-care routine that will help to minimize acne flare ups, Dr. Arielle Nagler of NYU Langone recommends ?embracing good hygiene, like using gentle cleansers to remove makeup all the time,? and getting the occasional facial with extractions. For MacGregor, the best regimen includes ?a gentle cleanser, topical vitamin C, and a mineral SPF moisturizer.? She loves Elta 41 and Elta 44. (Park and Nagler also recommend choosing a physical sunscreen over a chemical one.) ?A good, bland moisturizer for evening is best,? she adds.

Cerave Moisturizing Cream for Normal to Dry Skin


at Ulta Beauty

For Dr. Nava Greenfield of Schweiger Dermatology Group in Brooklyn, moisturizers that are not anti-aging, which she says would likely contain an acid, are fine to use during pregnancy. She recommends Cerave moisturizer and SkinCeuticals? Triple Lipid cream, which she cautions is pricey. She also recommends Revision Skincare?s Hydrating Serum.

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum


at Sephora

?Vitamin C is something I love to use in pregnancy or not,? says Park. ?Used in conjunction with sunscreen, it not only has properties that boost collagen production and has a retinol-like effect, but also works as an antioxidant that helps fight sun damage.? Try this Rio-approved formula from Drunk Elephant, which, though expensive, Newton calls ?one of the best vitamin-C serums I?ve ever used, and I?ve used a lot. It?s incredible for brightening and making your skin look clean and radiant.?

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Why are your skincare products so expensive?

We all wonder what is behind the expensive price tags of those pricey skincare regimens being sold at department and beauty stores. While each product is different and contains different ingredients, there are a few key areas that quickly rack up the price of a product. Whether you are talking about a serum or face mask, it is important to understand what is inside your products!

White truffles boast of a high price tag due to their rarity, according to Shannon Dunn, Eco Beauty editor and “Green Your Routine” life-stylist and coach. They are found only in the wild, primarily in Northern Italy and for just one pound, you can expect to pay up to $10,000.

They are remarkable for aiding in hyperpigmentation, Dr. Green told INSIDER.

“Since their Vitamin C content is so high, they’re effective in fading dark spots. They are also composed of Vitamins B3, B6, and B12. These vitamins repair damaged skin and prevent dry and irritated skin,” Dr. Green said.

Plus, they help with reducing inflation and minimizing fine lines and wrinkles, she added, because of their fatty acid content. You can find white truffle in masks, eye creams, moisturizers, and serums.


Is your skin dehydrated?

Most of us understand the detrimental impacts of not drinking enough water on our overall health. But have you ever thought about the effects it has on your skin? Yes, you could have dry skin as it is, but is there an underlying issue of not enough water consumption? Here are a few tips on how to treat and heal dehydrated skin!

During a recent facial, I listed my main skin concern as breakouts, and after a skin analysis, the aesthetician kindly let me know I’m not actually suffering from acne. And although I was pretty sure about the congestion (it is my face, after all), I was open to her explanation. Turns out, my skin is severely dehydrated, which came as a surprise, as I’d generally considered my skin to be oily or, at the very least, combination. But don’t be fooled: The skin can be both oily and dehydrated ? a new type of combination skin, if you will.

“Dry skin is characterized by fewer oil-producing glands on the face and body,” says Ross C. Radusky, a board-certified dermatologist at SoHo Skin & Laser Dermatology. “Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, is a lack of water, not oil. So you can actually have an oily complexion but still have dehydrated skin.”

Most of us understand the negative impacts of dehydration on our overall health, but who knew it had the potential to wreak such visible havoc on our faces? In order to understand the difference between overall dryness and dehydration, I consulted a few experts, who share the three steps to healthy, hydrated skin.

Step 1: Diagnosis

Basically, dryness refers to a skin type, and dehydration refers to a skin condition. “Dry skin lacks oil because it produces less sebum than normal skin, and the lack of sebum means the skin is without the lipids it needs to retain moisture and to build a strong barrier to protect against external aggressors,” says Tata Harper, organic skin-care mogul and founder of Tata Harper Skincare. “Dehydrated skin does not have enough water. Dehydration is caused by many external factors, but the most common are weather, environment, diet, and caffeine consumption, all of which can result in diminished water content within the skin.”

A good test, says Radusky, is to pinch your cheek. If it’s wrinkling with gentle pressure instead of holding its shape, your skin cells are desperate for water. He also notes that dehydrated skin will feel tight, look dull in the mirror, and you may notice more exaggerated wrinkles, or ones in places you don’t remember having them, along with more exaggerated dark circles beneath your eyes.

“Common signs of dehydrated skin include redness, lots of congestion, and inflammation,” adds Kate Somerville, paramedical aesthetician and founder of Kate Somerville Skincare.

Dry skin, on the other hand, tends to be uncomfortable, flaky, and itchy. The worst areas are typically near the eyebrows and around the corners of the nose and mouth. On the body, common trouble areas include the neck, the inside of the arms, and the thighs. “When things are at their worst, rubbing the skin might sound like grinding fine sandpaper,” explains Radusky. “And it isn’t snowing in your bathroom, but rather dried flakes of skin are falling.”

Step 2: Treatment

For dry skin, there are a number of ways to soothe parched complexions (i.e. amping up your antioxidant intake and reducing the number of acids in your routine). Dehydration, on the other hand, is a different story. While hydration is key if you’re suffering from dehydrated skin, there are a few other at-home treatment options to consider, too.


“My favorite tip is exfoliating,” says Francesca Fusco, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “As dead skin builds up, it can diminish the absorption of moisturizers.” She recommends exfoliating at least once a week to remove dead skin cells, which “allows your moisturizer to work better.”

Add a Serum to Your Routine

“To hydrate the skin, aim for serums and apply these before any moisturizer,” says Radusky. “Serums are not moisturizers and vice-versa.” He recommends finding a serum with hyaluronic acid, which is the same ingredient used in many fillers.

Your skin naturally produces hyaluronic acid, but supplementing via skin care is key for addressing dehydration, says Radusky. He recommends products that contain hyaluronic acid stimulators, like The Ordinary. Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 or products containing avocado peptides, which boost your skin’s ability to produce its own hyaluronic acid.

Use a Heavier Moisturizer at Night

“Even though we’re shielded from the harsh outdoor climate, heated dry air causes us to naturally lose moisture while we sleep,” says Radusky. “Use a heavier oil-free and non-comedogenic moisturizer at night to counteract this.” We like Sunday Riley’s Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream, which is formulated with hydrating hyaluronic acid and exfoliating papaya enzymes to pump moisture back into the skin ? all while you sleep.

Pay Attention to the Seasons

Temperature and humidity changes can really affect the way your skin looks and behaves, says Radusky. “Winter is particularly harsh as cold, low humidity air can cause skin to dry out and become itchy, cracked and irritated,” he says. “Cold air also tightens pores, reduces circulation, and reduces sebum production.” Low humidity, hot showers, and central heat also contribute to skin dehydration, which is why it’s so important to create a winter-specific regimen to soothe weather-worn skin.

Fortunately, Radusky adds, the atmosphere holds more water in the spring and summer, providing that extra boost of water to our skin. But too much direct sunlight can cause dehydration, so be extra vigilant with sunscreen. (We recommend these new summer launches for the most UV protection.)

Drink Water

It might seem obvious, but it’s important to mention that drinking water is important. “Internal hydration is vital,” says Radusky. “Drink plenty of fluids, and eat water-rich fruits and vegetables and essential fatty acids.” He recommends starting the day off with a green juice made of celery, spinach, and cucumber, for example.

Radusky recommends eight glasses of water per day, but to remember eight is just an average. “That Pilates and spinning class will cause you to burn through much more water, especially on the skin where sweating will worsen dehydrated skin,” he says.

Consider a Humidifier

“Consider putting a humidifier in your office or home to keep the air adequately humid so your skin doesn’t release moisture to the air,” says Fusco.

Step 3: Maintenance

Dry skin is an inherent skin condition that will sustain for most of your life, explains Somerville, whereas dehydration is more of a state your skin is in that you can fix. “When we think of water weight elsewhere on the body, we think of bloating and swelling,” says Radusky. “It’s the same thing on our skin. When hydrated, our skin cells swell, and this can be a great thing. It minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and generally makes us look less tired.”

A dehydrated state can be corrected relatively quickly by drinking fluids, says Fusco. But for a quick pick-me-up, keep a facial mist (like the Herbivore Botanicals Rose Hibiscus Coconut Water Hydrating Face Mist) handy throughout the day, and use a moisturizing mask (try the Paula’s Choice Rehydrating Moisture Mask) weekly to replenish skin’s moisture.

More on how to soothe dry skin:

Now, see how skin care has evolved in 100 years:


Kim Zolciak-Biermann’s Biggest Skincare Secret

Celebrity skin care routines are almost taboo and are not always shared with the public. Real Housewives of Atlanta star, Kim Zolciak-Biermann, shares her biggest secret — laser treatments! Kim went public with a fresh face pre-laser treatment and discussed her routine which occurs approximately four times a year!

  1. Kim Zolciak-Biermann Shares Fresh-Faced Photo as She Reveals Her Skincare Secret
  2. Kim Zolciak, 40, looks different as she visits her dermatologist to get laser treatment for ‘flushing and redness’  Daily Mail
  3. Full coverage


Kim Kardashian West’s favorite skincare products

With your skin being the largest organ in the body, the routine you use daily is important. Kim Kardashian West is known for her dewey, clear and ultimately “perfect” skin. Although her routine will cost you a pretty penny, being able to look into her beauty cabinet shows just how serious she takes her regimen.

  1. Kim Kardashian Spends Over $4500 on Her Skincare Staples
  2. 7 Anti-Aging Products Kim Kardashian Stocks in Her Bathroom Cabinet  InStyle
  3. Full coverage


10 skincare products for your body

Skincare routines are mainly focused around the face even though it only makes up a very small percentage of our overall skin content. The rest of our bodies tend to receive the least amount of care and the cheapest valued products. With a growing market of body-skincare brands, there is no excuse not to make your body just as much of a priority.

  1. 10 best body skincare products  The Independent
  2. Full coverage


Skincare Tips for Traveling

Cabin air is not the healthiest for your skin and can be a huge factor that goes into your skincare routine if you are on a plane more than the average person. Traveling weekly for work and business trips can be tolling on your skincare and the routine you have set at home. Here are a few tips to keep your skin hydrated and clean throughout your busy traveling season:

  1. Skincare For Business Travelers  Forbes
  2. Full coverage


The 9 Best Oils for Fine Hair Types

Having fine hair is no excuse anymore for having dry hair. With advancements in science and technology, there are many different oils out there to help your hair become more beautiful and saturated. We have the nine best oils for fine hair types, and you’re going to want to read this if it applies to you:

This luxury oil is formulated with sandalwood, cedarwood and argan oil and protects the hair from UV damage. It also happens to be one of our deputy beauty director’s all-time favorites. Here’s why.

“My hair is so fine that even some dry shampoos weigh it down (usually the wetter formulas that contain a lot of alcohol). But because I highlight it, and I don?t cut it very often, my ends are very dry. This beautiful-smelling stuff can go on damp or dry hair, but I like to use it once my hair is dry to smooth down frizz and add shine. Once I?ve blow-dried my hair, I squeeze out the tiniest little drop and rub it between my palms. Then I run it over the ends of my hair and whatever?s left I usually skim over my face-framing layers, which are fuzzy thanks to the fact I have a bad habit of pulling my hair back when it?s wet (which is a big no-no according to hairstylists). I also like to use it almost like a gel if I?m wearing my hair in a slicked-back ponytail or tight, low chignon.”

$48 (Shop Now)


Dermatology scale validates quality of life

The quality of life can supposedly be determined by a dermatology scale. There are various scales out there that can study hyperpigmentation disorders among adults, and then show the person’s quality of life from the results. Who knew so much can be told about someone just from a possible skin disorder

Can having a skin condition impact the quality of your life? Absolutely, claim Boston University School of Medicine researchers who have set out to find the best tool to measure the impact on patients.

Several dermatology and disease-specific tools have been developed to measure the impact of skin disease including the widely used Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) and the non-validated Skin Discoloration Impact Evaluation Questionnaire (SDIEQ). But the question remains: is one scale superior to the other, and/or easier to use?

In this study, BUSM researchers compared the DLQI with a short questionnaire (SDIEQ) to determine the impact of dark spots on a patients’ quality of life

After analysis of 321 adults with hyperpigmentation disorders using both scales the researchers found that DLQI and SDIEQ were similarly effective in measuring quality of life, however SDIEQ was simpler to use and less time consuming.

“Knowing how a condition impacts a patients’ quality of life is essential and a helpful guide in making treatment choices,” explained corresponding author Neelam Vashi, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at BUSM and director of the Boston University Cosmetic and Laser Center at Boston Medical Center. “Measuring health related quality of life is also important in patients when it comes to allocation of resources.”

Vashi added that further studies are needed to validate the use of this tool in different patient populations and potentially other disorders of pigmentation, such as vitiligo.

These findings appear as a Research Note in the Journal of Dermatology.


Food allergy is triggered by perfect storm of genetics and skin exposure to infant wipes, dust and food

A lot of people you know may have a food allergy of some sort, as it is more common than not having any allergies. Some recent research has shown possible links between environmental factors and genetic factors coexisting to trigger this allergy. When it comes to children, this perfect storm is rather easy to concoct on it’s own:

Infant and childhood food allergy, whose cause has long been a mystery, has now been linked to a mix of environmental and genetic factors that must coexist to trigger the allergy, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.

The factors contributing to food allergy include the genetics that alter skin absorbency, use of infant cleansing wipes that leave soap on the skin, skin exposure to allergens in dust and skin exposure to food from those providing infant care. Food allergy is triggered when these factors occur together.

“This is a recipe for developing food allergy,” said lead study author Joan Cook-Mills, a professor of allergy-immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “It’s a major advance in our understanding of how food allergy starts early in life.”

The paper will be published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology on April 6.

Food allergies are on the rise and affect an estimated 4 to 6 percent of children in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The prevalence of reported food allergy increased 18 percent among children under age 18 years from 1997 to 2007. Recent data also show hospitalizations with diagnoses related to food allergies have increased among children.

Food allergy risk factors can be modified at home

The good news is factors leading to food allergy can be modified in the home environment, Cook-Mills said.

“Reduce baby’s skin exposure to the food allergens by washing your hands before handling the baby,” Cook-Mills said. “Limit use of infant wipes that leave soap on the skin. Rinse soap off with water like we used to do years ago. “

Scientist discovers the ‘perfect storm’ triggering food allergy

Cook-Mills made the discovery by using clinical evidence about food allergy in humans, the effects of food allergen and environmental allergen exposures and neonatal mice with genetic mutations that occur in humans.

Clinical evidence shows up to 35 percent of children with food allergies have atopic dermatitis and much of that is explained by at least three different gene mutations that reduce the skin barrier.

Cook-Mills used a neonatal mouse model with skin barrier mutations and tried exposing its skin to food allergens like peanuts. The peanuts alone had no effect.

“Then I thought about what are babies exposed to,” Cook-Mills recalled. “They are exposed to environmental allergens in dust in a home. They may not be eating food allergens as a newborn, but they are getting them on their skin. Say a sibling with peanut butter on her face kisses the baby. Or a parent is preparing food with peanuts and then handles the baby. “

Next, she read about skin research studies that delivered compounds through the skin by using soap. “I thought oh my gosh! That’s infant wipes!” Cook-Mills said.

The top skin layer is made of lipids (fats), and the soap in the wipes disrupts that barrier, Cook-Mills explained.

Skin problems that occur with skin barrier mutations may not be visible until long after a food allergy has already started. The neonatal mice with the mutations had normal-appearing skin, and the dry itchy skin of dermatitis did not develop until the mice were a few months old, the equivalent of a young adult in human years.

After the neonatal mice received three to four skin exposures of food and dust allergens for 40 minutes during a two-week period, they were given egg or peanut by mouth. The mice had allergic reactions at the site of skin exposure, allergic reactions in the intestine, and the severe allergic food reaction of anaphylaxis that is measured by decreased body temperature.

A skin barrier dysfunction was necessary for food allergy to develop in the mice, but there is a wide continuum of severe to mild skin dysfunction with eczema or atopic dermatitis, which in its mildest form may simply appear to be dry skin.

In patients with skin-barrier defects, there are changes in the proteins in the skin that are a result of mutations in the genes. These gene mutations in patients are primarily heterozygous, which means there is a mutation in one of the two copies of a gene.

Accordingly, in the preclinical studies, neonatal mice were also heterozygous for skin barrier mutations. The mice were co-exposed to food allergens such as egg and peanut proteins, allergens in dust (house dust mite or Alternaria alternata mold) and sodium lauryl sulfate, a soap present in infant cleansing wipes.

These novel animal studies provide a basis to test interventions that will more effectively block the development of food allergy in infants and children, Cook-Mills said.

She is currently studying molecular responses in the skin that are unique to this combination of genetics and skin exposures. The goal is to determine unique signals in the skin that occur during development of food allergy. This will lead to approaches to intervene with those skin signals and block the development of food allergy.

The study was supported by National Institutes of Health grants R01 HL124120, U01 AI131337 and R01 AI095282.