Share this with your friends!

Skin Care Ingredients to Avoid while Pregnant

Pregnancy is an exciting time full of changes, both physically and emotionally. You are growing a human being inside of you and it is amazing! However, there are a few things you should avoid during pregnancy, including a number of skincare ingredients that could pose a risk to your baby. Be sure to check the labels of the beauty items you use for these 5 ingredients you should avoid during pregnancy.

Retin-A, Retinol and Retinyl Palmitate

Retinoids are a class of synthetic and naturally occurring compounds that are structurally related to vitamin A. They are commonly found in over-the-counter acne medications and wrinkle creams. There are multiple reasons why you should avoid retinoids during pregnancy.

There is some evidence to suggest that exposure to retinoids during pregnancy can increase the risk of birth defects, specifically those affecting the development of the brain and spine. While more research needs to be done in this area, it is best to err on the side of caution and avoid retinoids during pregnancy.

In addition to birth defects, retinoids have also been linked to other pregnancy complications like preterm labor and low birth weight. If you’re using retinoids and you become pregnant, it’s important to speak with your doctor right away so that they can monitor your pregnancy closely.

Furthermore, there is some evidence to suggest that exposure to retinoids during early pregnancy may increase the risk of miscarriage. While more research needs to be done in this area, it is best to avoid retinoids during pregnancy just to be safe.

Chemical Sunscreens

Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing the sun’s rays, rather than reflecting them like mineral sunscreens do. Chemical sunscreens usually contain active ingredients like avobenzone, octinoxate, oxybenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene. Some of these ingredients have been linked to endocrine disruption, which means they can interfere with your hormones. And we all know how important hormones are during pregnancy!

Endocrine disruption has been linked to a variety of problems, including birth defects, developmental delays, and cancer. So it’s best to avoid chemicals that might cause this type of disruption. Mineral sunscreens are a safer option during pregnancy because they don’t enter your bloodstream like chemical sunscreens do. They work by reflecting the sun’s rays away from your skin. We recommend the Sun Bum mineral sunscreen spray as the best option for moms-to-be.

Dihydroxyacetone, also known as DHA

Dihydroxyacetone is a colorless sugar molecule that reacts with the amino acids in the dead cells of the outermost layer of skin to create a browning effect. This is what gives sunless tanners their color. DHA has been approved for use in sunless tanners by the FDA, and it is considered generally safe for use on the skin.

However, when DHA is inhaled, it can be toxic. There have been reports of people developing flu-like symptoms after being exposed to high levels of DHA fumes. This is why most sunless tanning products come with a warning not to breathe in the fumes while spraying or applying the product. So while there is still much research to be done in this area, it is best to avoid DHA while pregnant.


Hydroquinone is a bleaching agent that is commonly used in skin-lightening products. It works by inhibiting the production of melanin, which is the pigment that gives skin its color. While hydroquinone can be effective in lightening dark spots, it can also cause a number of issues to an unborn baby, including:

  • Cleft lip and palate
  • cardiac defects
  • limb defects

According to the FDA, hydroquinone is a category C as it has a very high absorption rate into the bloodstream. So while you may develop dark spots during pregnancy, it is best to wait until after delivery to attempt to lighten them using any products containing hydroquinone.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a type of beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that’s commonly used in skincare products for its ability to exfoliate the skin and unclog pores. It’s an ingredient that pregnant women should avoid, though, as it can be absorbed through the skin and potentially cause harm to the developing baby. Some studies suggest that only very large amounts of Salicylic Acid pose a threat to baby, but most moms choose to take the cautious route and avoid them until after baby arrives.

Read Next:

Swaddles n' Bottles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This program does not effect the price a customer pays for products. To read more on affiliate links, please view our privacy and disclosure page.