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July 21, 2022 | withSimplicity


skincare ingredients to avoid during pregnant

Pregnancy. It’s a time of joy, change, and a lot of research when you’ve been looking forward to adding to your family.

There are certain foods to avoid, and there are certain foods to add to your diet. Certain clothes you purchase, certain prenatal vitamins you need to take, and certain precautions to follow. The last thing you might think about is your skincare and makeup routine or even the body wash you use in the shower.

Knowing the skincare ingredients that are safe to use during pregnancy and the skincare ingredients that are not safe to use during pregnancy is crucial both for you and your baby’s well being. 

Before we deep dive into the list of ingredients to avoid, we want to clarify a few things:

  • We never use any of the ingredients listed below in our products. The purpose of this blog post is to be informative for all mothers who are researching safer skincare alternatives.
  • Even if you aren’t pregnant, we highly recommend you avoid all the ingredients below as they are toxic to your body!
  • Everything mentioned in this blog post and website is for informational purposes and isn’t meant to treat, cure, or diagnose. If you have any questions or concerns about your health or a specific ingredient, please consult your doctor. This list is only a brief overview of some of the harmful ingredients.
  • Almost all of our products contain essential oils that are properly and safely diluted. We mention essential oils below, but please be aware that it is referring to using pure, undiluted essential oils. 

With all of this said, YES, it’s still safe to use skincare, and YES, you should have a healthy skincare routine all throughout pregnancy.

What Skin Changes Happen During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, the skin becomes more sensitive due to changes in the immune system, and blood flow increases.

One of our “best friends” from teenage years can also make a return - yes, we’re talking about acne. Acne and hyperpigmentation can flare up during pregnancy due to a surge of hormones. A condition called “melasma” can also occur and appears in the form of brown patches on the face.

While you may get the strong urge to grab for any product there is to find relief, be careful about the ingredients you’re using.

What Skincare Ingredients Should I Avoid During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, ingredients absorbed into the skin may get in the bloodstream more easily and potentially affect both the placenta and the fetus due to the increase in blood flow.

While it’s very important to avoid toxic ingredients at all times, here a a few to steer clear of during pregnancy and lactation/breastfeeding (and honestly even if you aren’t pregnant or aren’t planning to become pregnant):


Hydroquinone is an ingredient used in bleaching creams and other skincare products to lighten dark spots, like those associated with melasma. While no concrete studies have been published yet about its effects on the fetus, it should still be avoided as 35-45% of it (which is a lot) is absorbed into the skin. 

Retinol, Isotretinoin, and other Retinoids

Retinoids are used topically and orally to treat acne and combat the signs of aging; however, they should definitely be avoided. These potent forms of Vitamin A are known to cause birth defects such as malformations to the baby’s head, brain, spinal cord, and heart when used in high doses.


This is a no-brainer when it comes to toxic ingredients! Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and should be avoided at all costs.

Parabens, Phthalates & Fragrance

You’ve seen these ingredients on “to avoid” lists everywhere. They’re all known endocrine disruptors (affect hormones) that can also affect the fetus during pregnancy. Even prenatal exposure to BPA (a type of paraben) has been shown to cause miscarriag, low birth weights, and stunted fetal growth.

Chemical Sunscreens

When you see ingredients such as oxybenzone or avobenzone, you’re dealing with a chemical barrier sunscreen. These chemicals are easily absorbed into the skin and bloodstream and are known endocrine disruptors. They’re linked to childhood obesity, ADHD, and issues with the development of the nervous system.

Are Essential Oils Safe to Use During Pregnancy?

Quick answers: Yes, but with guidelines.

Essential oils are safe to use during pregnancy when properly diluted in products (like our products). However, there are some essential oils that are recommended to be avoided or used cautiously during pregnancy. Here are a few:

  • Jasmine & Clary Sage: Could trigger contractions
  • Clary Sage & Rosemary: Can cause bleeding, and rosemary can cause an increase in blood pressure

Here is a comprehensive list of essential oils to avoid during pregnancy:

  • Aniseed
  • Basil
  • Birch
  • Camphor
  • Clary Sage
  • Hyssop
  • Mugwort
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme
  • Oak Moss
  • Parsley Seed or Leaf
  • Pennyroyal
  • Rosemary
  • Rue
  • Sage
  • Tansy (not the same as Blue Tansy)
  • Thuja
  • Wintergreen
  • Wormwood

As with general essential oil use, make sure they’re diluted in carrier oils before being applied topically. For more information on essential oil use during pregnancy, consult your doctor.

We hope you enjoy welcoming your new bundle of joy into the world!