Drugstore Pregnancy Skincare Routine

Screen Shot 2021 10 30 at 9.03.21 PM — Ami Desai
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Today I sat down with my dermatologist, Dr. Nina Desai.  We are going to talk about everything skincare for when you are pregnant. Let’s start with morning routine basics. Nina suggests starting with a gentle light cleanser and all of your active ingredients like Vitamin C, antioxidants and sunscreen. You would also want to put some moisturizer on too.

So as far as what I use for this routine. I use the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Cleansing Gel. I love it because it has hyaluronic acid. This can really retain moisture, which I learned from Nina! Nina recommends sticking to a gentle cleanser. While you are pregnant, she recommends avoiding harsh salicylic acid or the benzoyl peroxide-based cleansers.

Screen Shot 2021 10 30 at 9.04.12 PM — Ami Desai
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The reason to avoid this is because Salicylic acid is a derivative of aspirin. My second step is toner. I now use the Pixie Skin Treats Glow Tonic that uses five percent glycolic acid. Nina points out that glycolic acid is a great alternative to salicylic acid. It really brightens the skin, helps to slough off dead skin, helps with oil production which in turn will help with acne.

Screen Shot 2021 10 30 at 9.05.33 PM — Ami Desai
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Discoloration is a huge issue that women suffer during pregnancy, which is why I make sure to never skip Vitamin C in the morning. I found this one at my local drugstore. This is Derma E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum. This also includes hyaluronic acid to help with moisture. Nina says Vitamin C can help replace stronger products that we cannot use during pregnancy. Vitamin C can help protect the skin from sun damage. This product can be used at night or in the morning, it really just depends on your overall routine.

Screen Shot 2021 10 30 at 9.07.57 PM — Ami Desai
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My next step is moisturizing. I am very dry during my pregnancies, so right now I am using the Neutrogena Bright Boost Gel Cream. Nina loves this for pregnancy because it has mandelic acid in it which helps protect your skin pigment.

Last but not least, I apply mineral sunscreen. This was the biggest switch for me going from chemical to minerals. During pregnancy, you really want to avoid chemicals as much as possible. Mineral sunscreens sit on the surface of the skin, and they have those harmful UVA UVB rays bounce away from your skin.

Screen Shot 2021 10 30 at 9.08.24 PM — Ami Desai
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Now, onto our night routine. During this routine is when we you use a bit more of the stronger products like Vitamin A or Retin-A. I start with a gentle cleanser, and I double cleanse. I wear a lot of makeup throughout the day while filming, so double cleansing really helps me get everything off. Since I cannot use my retinol during pregnancy, I use Burts Bees Intensive Firming Serum. Nina recommends testing a product like this on a very small portion of your skin to start to make sure it does not cause a breakout. A note on that, if you open your product from a drugstore and try it, and it doesn’t work, you can still almost always take it back. The last step of my nighttime routine is obviously moisturizing. Next up, Nina is going to answer some of the top questions she got on Instagram.

Screen Shot 2021 10 30 at 9.09.32 PM — Ami Desai
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Screen Shot 2021 10 30 at 9.11.03 PM — Ami Desai
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First up, how do you prevent stretch marks while pregnant?

Nina: First and foremost, there is nothing you can 100% do to prevent stretch marks. A lot of stretch marks have to do with genetics. You can, however, keep your skin moisturized. Apply product to the abdomen, the breasts, underarms and thighs. Those are all areas that are going to be prone to stretch marks. One of my favorite products is Bio-Oil. Bio-Oil is fabulous for stretch marks, it’s fabulous for scars or old scars. It just helps to hydrate the skin and helps to keep the skin very pliable, so that’s a great one. Another product line that I love is the Mamma Mio product line. Mamma Mio is usually something you can find in the baby stores, they are all pregnancy safe, they contain omega-3 fatty acids so that’s great, again, for hydrating the skin.

Next question is, what to use for acne while pregnant?

Nina: if you are pregnant and you are breaking out a lot, there are some things you can do. First, I do urge you to see your dermatologist, because you want to make sure that what you’re using is the right routine for you. Things like glycolic acid, whether it’s going to be your wash, whether it’s going to be your toner, or whether it’s going to be your serum, are great for that mild acne especially during pregnancy. The other product that’s great for acne during pregnancy is azelaic acid. Azelaic acid is another one of those alpha hydroxy acids. Over the counter you can find about ten percent azelaic acid and it really helps to clear out your pores and brighten the skin. Those are two great alternatives. If you do need to use something like a benzoyl peroxide, you know I always say use it as a spot treatment when you do get a larger inflammatory breakout. A great brand for Azelaic Acid is The Ordinary.

All right next question, is skincare changing from pre- and post-pregnancy, like if you’re trying to get pregnant, should you be stopping retinol then?

Nina: Yes, so I always advise that when you know you’re going to actively start trying to get pregnant, that you do go on your pregnancy skincare routine at that time. The issue basically is, you don’t know exactly when you become pregnant, so you really don’t want any of those harsh ingredients on board when you do get pregnant.  Carry your pregnancy skin care routine through until you are done breastfeeding.

Screen Shot 2021 10 30 at 9.12.43 PM — Ami Desai
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Last question, are there any treatments that we should be avoiding, are there any treatments that we can be doing while we’re pregnant? 

Nina: During pregnancy we really keep it simple. No fillers, no Botox, no lasers. I do some light treatments that do not require any topical numbing when you are pregnant. Things like a HydraFacial might be great to use. Facials can be great during pregnancy. Very light micro-needling may be great as well during pregnancy. Some glycolic chemical peels, those can all be used during pregnancy. But post-pregnancy is when we may be able to work in some of the more intense or slightly more aggressive treatments. I really do say consult your doctor, see if you can make a game plan and decide when you’re ready for certain treatments.

That’s all for today, thanks for reading!



Ami Desai

Creative Producer & Owner at Ami Desai
Ami Desai is a creative producer, host, makeup artist, and lifestyle expert. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from UC Berkley and a Masters Degree in Broadcast Journalism from Boston University. She shares everyday tips on hair care, makeup, and fashion on her Instagram, YouTube, and AmiDesai.com.
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