Pregnancy and Skin Care Cosmetic Products

Use caution when using skin care cosmetic products while pregnant or lactating. Most cosmetic products on the market are not regulated by the U.S. Federal Drug administration (FDA.) Many products are generally safe; however, there are some that may put you and your unborn child at risk. Ask your doctor to recommend products that are safe to use during pregnancy.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Most over the counter products containing alpha hydroxyl acids do not contain more than 10 percent. These are usually in facial creams and lotions. Alpha hydroxyl acids at low concentrations are believed to be safe for use by pregnant women; however, if you are pregnant, you should avoid higher concentrations. Products containing concentrations higher than 10 percent are only available by prescription.

Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha lipoic acid is a fatty acid found in the body. It is an antioxidant commonly found in lotions, creams and facial masks. Alpha lipoic acid penetrates the skin cells and helps to fight the effects of aging caused by free radicals. There is no evidence to suggest that alpha lipoic acid is harmful to pregnant women and their unborn children; however, the effects on pregnant women have not been sufficiently studied.


Hydroquinone is used in some products to bleach the skin and reduce the visibility of melasma, freckles and age related pigmentation changes. If you are pregnant, you should not use these products. Hydroquinone can cause complications and harm your unborn child.

Retinol (retinoids)

Retinoids are high concentrations of vitamin A. It is used to treat wrinkles and acne. If you are pregnant, do not use retinoids. Products containing retinoids can cause sever birth defects.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a form of beta-hydroxy acid. This is the common ingredient found in aspirin. The effect of salicylic acid applied topically to the skin of pregnant women is not known, at this time. There is concern that you could risk absorption of salicylic acid into your bloodstream, through the use of topical products. Salicylic acid has been linked to Reye’s syndrome in children. It may also thin your blood. Salicylic acid should not be used during pregnancy.

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