Pregnancy asks that you give up some of your favorite things (which is okay, because you’re gaining something priceless). Along with cold cuts, sushi, soft cheeses, and that second glass of wine or coffee, you’re also asked to give up certain skincare ingredients. It can be daunting to overhaul your entire skincare routine, but the good thing is that there are many awesome pregnancy-safe moisturizers available. In fact, they’re so good, you just may never go back to your old ways.
Ingredients in your products are absorbed through the skin and can get into your bloodstream, according to a
2009 study done by L'Oréal Recherche. This premise is why the birth control patch is able to work, for example, but it also means what you put on your skin can get to your growing baby. Dr. Dendy Englemen, dermatologist, recommends avoiding the following ingredients while pregnant and nursing: Formaldehyde (found in hair straightening treatments, nail polishes and eyelash glue) Aluminum chloride hexahydrate (used in many deodorants) Diethanolamine (DEA) (found in hair and body products) Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) (found in self-tanners) Parabens Dyes Petroleum (i.e. propylene glycol, mineral oil, petrolatum, isopropyl alcohol) Oxybenzone Fragrance Triclosan Sodium lauryl sulfate hydroquinone Prescription medications like Accutane, Retin-A spironolactone, and tetracycline
Engelman tells Romper that certain doctors also recommend avoiding benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid while pregnant. Any product with vitamin A in it is a known
teratogen, which means it’s known cause birth defects, according to Engelman. “Because of the known dangers of Accutane, all vitamin A derivatives — retinol and retinoic acids — have been deemed potentially unsafe and it is recommended that they be avoided during pregnancy and nursing,” Engelman explains.
Dr. Sandy Skotnicki, author of
, also cautions against certain essential oils and botanical extracts. Why they may seem natural and safe “recent studies have shown that lavender and tea tree oil may be hormone disruptive in young children. It is common to want to be more natural during these times [but] plants are still chemicals. If you want a more natural alternative 100 percent squalane oil is a good option for a moisturizer,” Skotnicki tells Romper. She also recommends glycolic acid AHA which, “comes from sugarcane and is safe during pregnancy.” Beyond Soap
It's daunting and time-consuming to read every label to figure out what you should be
using on your face and body while pregnant. Plus I know your skin is probably really, really dry and you need a remedy like, now (pregnancy is known for causing dryness because of the hormone changes and tightening skin, per Healthline.) I got you. Read on for the 30 best moisturizers to use while pregnant. We only include products that have been independently selected by Romper's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. 1 Organic Body Butter
This 100% organic body butter blends Moroccan argan, jojoba and sunflower oils plus essential oil for a deeply moisturizing butter you can use anywhere (and the smell will chill you out). A little goes a long way here too, and you’ll notice your skin feels smooth and hydrated even the day after you use this one.
2 Aloe Vera Gel Moisturizer
If you’ve ever lathered on aloe after getting a sunburn, you already know it’s a savior for skin. This lightweight moisturizer pairs organic aloe leaf juice with shea butter, omega-6 fatty acids, evening primrose oil, plus witch hazel and tea tree oil (which can help manage acne). You’ll keep this one in your rotation even after your pregnancy.
3 Grown Alchemist Anti-Aging Moisturizer
Chances are the skin on your body is just as dry and itchy as your face. Quench parched pregnancy skin with this
Age-Repair + Intensive Moisturizer from Grown Alchemist. The generous size helps justify the price and shea butter, jojoba oil, and almond oil make this cruelty-free and vegan formula ultra hydrating yet gentle. Mandarin and rosemary leaf give this an uplifting, fresh scent. 4 Amazon Antioxidant Treatment
A rich, hydrating blend of Brazilian butters paired with nourishing ingredients like passion fruit and organic acai for an antioxidant-rich moisturizer that can help heal even severely dry skin. It may also help dry-up any hormonal blemishes that pop-up (fun), or eczema and psoriasis.
5 Ritual Body Lotion Bar
This stick of lotion makes moisturizing on-the-go a breeze and keeps hands from getting sticky. It can be used on itchy bellies or anywhere you need a hydration boost, and the formula is made with beeswax, wildcrafted herbs, and plant ingredients like pumpkin seed oil and raspberry leaf.
6 Radiance Grape Stem Cell + Squalane Day Cream
Made of a luxe blend of grape stem cell extract (an antioxidant that can help skin heal itself), plus hydrating squalane, and prickly pear oil which absorbs easily and helps brighten skin, this moisturizer feels like it should cost a lot more than it does. Plus the jar has a push top which dispenses the product, so you don’t have to dunk your hands (and everything on your hands) into the jar each time.
7 Superfood Hyaluronic Acid Air-Whip Moisture Cream
How could you go wrong with kale, spinach, and green tea? This lightweight moisturizer is like a smoothie for your face.
Hyaluronic acid binds to water and helps the body retain moisture. 8 Hydro Boost Water Gel
This deeply hydrating moisturizing absorbs quickly and leaves skin looking healthy and matte. Perfect for under makeup, the gel texture is soothing and comfortable. Plus it contains hyaluronic acid for the hydrating win.
9 Cerave Moisturizing Cream
This classic moisturizer can be used on your body and face. Ceramides form a protective layer over the skin, while hyaluronic acid locks in moisture. Bonus that this is safe to use on your baby too.
10 Lip & Skin Balm
RMS is best known for their natural makeup (and it really is noteworthy), but their lip and skin balm is amazing when you need hydration on-the-go. You can use it under makeup or on its own. Best of all, it comes in cocoa flavor for when you need a little dose of sweetness.
11 Bakuchiol Smoothing Serum
If you're sad to see your retinol go when you're pregnant or nursing, you'll love bakuchiol oil. Bakuchiol is a vegan plant extract that increases cell turnover and can stimulate collagen production. Unlike retinol however, this oil is both pregnancy and sun-safe, and the oil serum is hydrating though if you're really dry, you'll want to follow it with a more conventional moisturizer.
12 100% Squalane Oil
Dr. Skotnicki specifically recommends 100 percent squalane oil as a natural and pregnancy-safe moisturizer. Your body naturally produces squalene (which is almost identical to squalane oil) but it decreases as you age. The oil is derived from olives and leaves skin soft and bouncy.
13 Waphyto Moisturizer
Yes it’s a splurge but trust me when I say
Regena Enriched Cream is so worth it. It has a bouncy texture but is thick and rich so you’ll only need a bit. Made with potent botanical ingredients like rice germ oil, evening primrose oil and a luxe blend of plant oils, this deeply hydrating pregnancy-safe moisturizer leaves skin supple and incredibly soft. 14 The Water Cream
Don't let the name fool you: Tatcha's The Water Cream is a whole lot more than just water. Formulated with Japanese botanicals (and a touch of 23 karat gold, according to their
website) this leaves skin hydrated and pores looking less noticeable. Your face will look refreshed and hydrated, but never shiny. 15 Whipped Argan Oil Face Butter
This whipped face butter (sounds strangely delicious) contains powerhouse ingredients argan oil, soothing aloe,watermelon seed oil, and fresh cucumber extract. Your skin will feel hydrated and refreshed (thanks to the cucumber). This is great for skin that's prone to redness.
16 Fleur & Bee Hydrating Moisturizer
H2 Oh Yeah is affordable but it works just as well as more expensive products. It has a velvety rich texture and 21 actives (meaning ingredients that actually do work on the skin) including aloe, organic evening primrose oil, and organic gotu kola extract (which helps stimulate collagen). 17 Skin Food Light
Weleda Skin Food is an absolute classic, and for good reason, but it can be a little heavy for everyday use. Enter Skin Food Light. The same beloved rich, deeply hydrating balm is made lighter and less thick. It's affordable price point means you won't feel bad lathering it all over.
18 AM Therapy Facial Moisturizer
Elta MD is a favorite among dermatologists (it's literally sold in my derm's office) and this AM moisturizer is no exception. It even skin tones and hydrates, but is light enough to wear under makeup. It's oil-free and absorbs quickly for those mornings you're just trying to get out the door.
19 Everyday Radiance Moisturizer
This daily moisturizer brought to us by the Honest Company has licorice, fig, cherry, calendula, and chamomile, all of which deeply nourish the skin. Your skin will look brighter and feel soft. If Jessica Alba (founder of the Honest Co.) approves, then I think it's worth a shot.
20 Hyaluronic Gel Moisturizer
Tata Harper is a bit of a hero in the natural beauty world, and this gel moisturizer is a must for oily skin. It hydrates the skin while keeping it shine-free. Plus it contains free-radical fighting antioxidants that help protect your skin against environmental stressors like smoke and poor air quality which helps justify the price point.
21 Nutrient Day Cream with SPF 30
You can't beat a moisturizer that's packed with plant-based ingredients and also functions as an SPF. Seriously, there are so many amazing ingredients I can't even begin to list them all, but just to name a few, there's broccoli oil, green tea, and chamomile. It comes in an amazing tinted version too.
22 Cactus Water Moisturizer
This moisturizer contains water from the Queen of the Night Cactus succulent. Cacti are known for recovering from dramatic dehydration and this will help your skin do the same. Try keeping it in the refrigerator for a treat on a hot day.
23 Supernal Glow Oil
If you prefer a pregnancy-safe face oil to a moisturizer (or you like to layer the two for ultimate hydration) then look no further than
Supernal’s Cosmic Glow Oil. Yes, it looks chic on your vanity (the citron green color is amazing), but more importantly, it packs Vitamin C and Omegas 3, 6, and 9 for glowy, hydrated skin. 24 Mama Bee Nourishing Body Oil
Made from a blend of almond oil, lemon oil, and vitamin E, the body oil helps heal thirsty skin. It helps lock moisture in and it smells slightly sweet and very clean. Your dry skin will thank you, plus you can't beat the price.
25 Ultra-Calming Fragrance-Free Daily Facial Moisturizer
Aveeno is a fan favorite among moms because of its affordable price point and quality ingredients. The calming moisturizer is fragrance-free and suitable for all skin types. Plus it has an SPF of 15.
26 Watermelon Sleeping Mask
You can leave this mask on overnight, or use it as a typical moisturizer. Watermelon hydrates and helps calm skin. And it smells amazing and is a beautiful pink color.
27 Ultra Repair Cream
You'll want to use this cream all over, so it's a good thing it comes in a tub-size. It contains shea butter and oatmeal (remember oatmeal baths for chicken pox?) which are soothing for the skin. And it's gentle enough to use on your kids too.
28 Rose Ingleton Moisturizer
Lightweight yet hydrating,
Rose Ingleton Moisturizer works well for all skin types and all seasons. It’s made using Dr. Ingleton's Jamaican SuperFruit Blend which features hyaluronic acid and sugarcane, lemon, orange, bilberry, and sugar maple extracts. It also has peptides, which help amp up collagen production and ceramides which help to moisturize and strengthen the skin barrier. This luxe, pregnancy-safe moisturizer is vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free. 29 Alpha H Moisturizer
A moisturizer with SPF is always a good idea and it cuts a step out of your morning routine (though you may still want to layer on a different SPF). This
Essential Skin Perfecting Moisturizer from Alpha-H helps defend against environment and lifestyle factors (like pollution, sun, or blue light). It’s a vegan and cruelty-free formula and it contains botanical ingredients including geranium oil and bilberry fruit extract. 30 A Moisturizer From Cetaphil
Cetaphil is a classic for a reason: it’s gentle, often recommended by dermatologists, and gentle enough to share with your baby. This pregnancy-safe body lotion is lightweight and easily absorbed by the skin but it’s long-lasting.
Cetaphil contains niacinamide (vitamin B3) and glycerin for gentle but effective hydration.
With so many pregnancy-safe moisturizers to choose from, you’re sure to find a product to fall in love with. If you’re lucky, it might even become one of your favorites postpartum, too.
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This article was originally published on
Aug. 31, 2019