Skin care can be challenging when you’re pregnant. Not only are you protecting your baby, but you’re also dealing with hormonal changes that affect your appearance.
You’ve got to balance caring for your complexion while avoiding toxins. The solution is to use the best safe face washes during pregnancy.
Let’s talk a little more about face care during pregnancy.
What facial products are safe during pregnancy?
Here’s the brief overview:
- Avoid products with retinol or any type of retinoid. If you see “retin” in one of the ingredients, like retinyl palmitate, put down the bottle and choose something else.
- Steer clear of hydroquinone (skin lightener), too.
- Limit exposure to parabens, phthalates, artificial colors, perfumes, and essential oils.
- For pregnancy acne, choose a face wash with benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or glycolic acid.
You probably already know that you can’t use retinoids while you’re pregnant. They are linked to birth defects.
These include retinol, Retin-A, and related ingredients. Although it’s an excellent anti-aging and acne treatment, the risk is too great.
Hydroquinone for fading discoloration is also problematic as it absorbs into the mother’s system.
However, if you’re dealing with pregnancy acne, you still have options. For example, salicylic acid face wash is safe to use while pregnant. Several studies show that topical use of salicylic acid is unlikely to harm a developing baby (1). That’s good news as it’s excellent for reducing inflammation and unclogging pores.
Then, there’s benzoyl peroxide, another potent anti-acne ingredient. But very little is absorbed into the skin, so it would not affect the baby. The only problem is that it will bleach towels and clothing.
Also, there are alpha hydroxy acids, like glycolic acid. The small amount in a face wash shouldn’t cause any trouble, either. On the upside, glycolic acid and lactic acid are convenient for exfoliating without dehydrating the skin.
The trick to making skincare products safe during pregnancy is avoiding harmful ingredients as much as possible and limiting exposure.
If possible, stay away from parabens, phthalates, and artificial colors and fragrances, as they all pose a risk to sensitive skin. They may also harm a developing child (2).
Lastly, natural ingredients aren’t always as safe as you might think. Soy may contribute to pregnancy mask or dark-colored blotches on the face. And undiluted essential oils could cause contractions, bleeding, or alter blood pressure. However, the small quantity of essential oil in a face wash is likely not a danger (3).
Best Safe Face Washes During Pregnancy in 2020
Let’s look at the best non-toxic face washes to use while you’re pregnant.
Belli Anti-Blemish Facial Wash
Belli makes one of the best pregnancy-safe face wash for acne. It’s designed specifically for expectant and nursing mamas.
Therefore, it’s free of synthetic and natural ingredients linked to birth defects and harm to a breastfeeding baby. It has no parabens, phthalates, artificial colors, fragrances, or gluten.
Moreover, it doesn’t contain common acne medications like salicylic acid, either. Instead, it has lactic acid, which is naturally found in the body. It’s a gentle exfoliant that cleanses acne-prone skin.
Then, there’s lemon essential oil, which is naturally antibacterial. It brightens skin tone, while green tea and cucumber provide necessary antioxidants.
Reviewers say that it doesn’t just clear up blemishes, but it also helps reduce shine.
Belli Fresh Start Pre-Treatment Scrub
Boost your complexion’s radiance with this delicious natural scrub. It’s based on green tea, ginseng, and peppermint oil. There are no harsh synthetic ingredients.
It refreshes the skin while it cleanses pores and removes dead skin and dullness. Users say that it works very well, leaving their skin satiny smooth.
BELLA B Foaming Face Wash
If you love organic face cleanser, this one was made for pregnant women, especially those with pregnancy acne. It has no acne medication. In its place, it fights blemishes with pharmaceutical-grade tea tree oil.
While it foams away oil and grime, it moisturizes the skin with aloe and shea. Green tea, pomegranate, and açai promote healing, too.
The formula is mild enough to use twice a day. Also, it’s hypoallergenic and free of parabens.
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Polish
Women with sensitive skin appreciate this exfoliating cleanser. It’s free of allergens like gluten and nuts. It doesn’t contain artificial dyes, fragrances, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, alcohol, or other irritants.
It’s gentle enough to purify your complexion daily.
Aleavia Purifying Organic Facial Cleanser
It’s frustrating when you develop worsening acne and hyperpigmentation but can’t use certain products to get rid of it. This organic face wash promises to alleviate acne scars, pregnancy mask, rosacea, blemishes, and fine lines.
The formula is non-toxic enough for even a baby to use. It has no harsh chemicals, artificial scent or color, parabens, or GMOs.
The vegan formula has 7 simple, all-natural ingredients.
Julep Love Your Bare Face Age-Defying Cleansing Oil and Makeup Remover
How do you take off your makeup? How about a natural oil cleanser that leaves no greasy residue?
When surveyed, 91% of nearly a thousand customers said their skin was softer and more moisturized after using it only once.
Although it’s part of the 2-step Korean cleansing routine, it’s water-soluble and rinses clean. You don’t have to use another face wash afterward.
The cleanser is free of parabens and sulfates. In fact, it’s 5-free to protect yours and your baby’s health.
The magic is all due to pink grapefruit peel, olive, grape seed, and rosehip seed oils.
Dr Song Glycolic Acid Face Wash
Let’s switch gears from natural face washes to something a little stronger. This glycolic cleanser reaches deep into pores to clarify your complexion. At the same time, it rehydrates and rejuvenates the skin.
It respects the pH level, plus it’s naturally anti-inflammatory. With regular use, it reduces undereye circles, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation while clearing up acne.
Happily, it’s non-comedogenic and free of sulfates, dyes, and parabens. It comes with a satisfaction guarantee, as well.
Just a note: glycolic acid makes the skin prone to sunburn, so please put on sunscreen during the day.
Replenix Benzoyl Peroxide Wash with Aloe Vera
Nothing beats benzoyl peroxide for getting rid of pimples. It kills the bacteria that cause them. Thankfully, it’s safe to use while pregnant as long as you follow the directions. Now you can access medical-grade benzoyl peroxide in a non-drying face wash. It’s the strongest you can get over-the-counter.
The formula is pH-balanced and hypoallergenic. It has no fragrance, parabens, or oil that could clog pores or irritate the skin. If the 10% concentration is too intense even with the aloe, try the 5% version.
Please remember to wear sunscreen as benzoyl peroxide makes the skin more sensitive to sunburn. It’s also smart to use a white towel and washcloth only as it will bleach colors.
Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Face Wash with 10% Benzoyl Peroxide
Use Neutrogena’s face wash with benzoyl peroxide, and you’ll see a positive difference after only one day. It will shrink blemishes and reduce redness in 24 hours.
Another pleasant side effect is that it diminishes oil production to keep your skin fresh and less shiny throughout the day. It has a touch of menthol to cool and refresh your face.
If you’re on the fence about using benzoyl peroxide face wash during pregnancy, you can try a spot treatment with it instead.
Neutralyze Acne Face Wash
It seems like some anti-acne face washes are overly drying. According to the majority of reviewers, this one isn’t. It’s suitable for all skin types.
Clinical trials found that it was 95% percent effective against acne, with improvements visible in 24 hours.
It features 1% mandelic acid and 2% salicylic acid to exfoliate and cleanse pores. Moreover, it smooths fine lines and wrinkles and fades discoloration.
The formula has no artificial fragrances, parabens, or sulfates. Plus, it comes with a money-back guarantee that doesn’t require return shipping.
Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Daily Facial Cleanser
If you want to avoid chemicals but would still like to benefit from salicylic acid, check out this face wash. It has salicylic acid derived from willow bark to make it as natural as possible.
Furthermore, the cleanser is free of sulfates, parabens, dyes, phthalates, and petrolatum. It’s a transparent gel that lathers away makeup, grime, and oil with ease.
Cetaphil Redness Control Daily Foaming Face Wash
Calm your complexion and remove the redness with this soothing face wash. It takes away makeup and impurities yet balances and pacifies the skin.
It’s the blend of caffeine, allantoin, and licorice extract that works wonders.
DERMA E Sensitive Skin Cleanser
K-beauty fans already know about this brand. If you’ve never tried Korean beauty products, however, this is an outstanding introduction.
It’s a mild and effective cleanser made for sensitive, oily skin. It has no sulfates, parabens, or artificial fragrance. When you wash with it, it will leave your skin as soft as a baby’s bottom.
Some of the key ingredients include green tea, chamomile, aloe, and lemongrass.
Paula’s Choice SKIN BALANCING Oil-Reducing Cleanser
If you’re picky about your skincare products, you need to know about Paula’s Choice. It was founded by a woman with sensitive skin who couldn’t find what she needed to care for it. Now, the company’s products are sold around the world. Not only do they avoid harsh chemicals like parabens and fragrances, but they also use science to create solutions.
This face cleanser is perfect for oily and combination skin. It clears up blackheads and shrinks enlarged pores. Meanwhile, it keeps the skin clean by controlling oil production throughout the day.
Eau Thermale Avene Cleansing Foam
The best description I’ve ever seen of this product is that it “smells like roses and feels like clouds.” It’s a lightweight cleansing foam that removes makeup and oil, including on eyelids.
Although it leaves the skin matte, it’s not drying. It has thermal spring water and a low pH to prevent dehydration and irritation.
Visha Skincare Mommy Purifying Cleanser
A dermatologist/cosmetic surgeon from Memphis created this face wash for expectant and nursing mothers. It prevents hormonal breakouts, reduces redness, and clarifies the complexion.
The formula sweeps away environmental pollutants and impurities as well as makeup. At the same time, it nourishes and heals the skin with zinc, vitamin B5, and fruit acids.
Obviously, it has no parabens, sulfates, fragrance, or gluten.
Garnier SkinActive Gentle Sulfate-Free Foaming Face Wash
Here’s one of the best drugstore face washes for pregnant women. It’s been tested by dermatologists and ophthalmologists, and it’s mild enough for sensitive skin.
It has no parabens, oil, soap, sulfates, alcohol, or artificial fragrance. Use it twice a day to refresh your face. It’s packed with glycerin to moisturize the skin.
CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser
You can always tell it’s a CeraVe product because it contains three essential ceramides. They are a crucial part of healthy skin, but ceramide levels fall as we age. Restoring the skin’s levels ensures a healthy level of hydration.
The cleanser also has hyaluronic acid, which holds up to 1000 times its weight in water. It revives parched skin.
If you have dry or sensitive skin, this is a first-rate face cleanser. It’s fragrance-free and dermatologist-recommended.
Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Facial Cleanser
Get this cleanser if you’ve always wanted to try Neutrogena, but shy away from commercial products with chemicals. It’s been clinically proven to work well; plus, it respects sensitive skin. Even if you have eczema, rosacea, atopic dermatitis, or acne-prone skin, it should be safe.
The formula has no parabens, sulfates, phthalates, or pore-clogging oils. It does have an artificial fragrance, however.
Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser
Moms-to-be with extra sensitive skin or allergies will benefit from Vanicream’s extra-mild face wash. It’s free of more ingredients than it contains. It doesn’t have formaldehyde-releasers, either. It’s dermatologist-verified for safety.
Amazingly, it’s still perfectly capable of removing makeup and sunscreen.
Don’t let your hormones wreck your complexion. Take good care of your skin with a safe and effective face wash during pregnancy.
Several options here are mild enough for sensitive skin yet potent enough to clear up acne. At the same time, they are non-toxic to protect your baby.
If you discovered your new favorite face cleanser today, drop by again and tell us about it in the comments below.
1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3114665/ Safety of skin care products during pregnancy, by Pina Bozzo, Angela Chua-Gocheco, MD, and Adrienne Einarson, RN, published in Canadian Family Physician. 2011 Jun; 57(6): 665–667, accessed December 17, 2020
2. https://globalnews.ca/news/3383851/11-skincare-ingredients-to-avoid-during-pregnancy/ by marilisaraccoglobal, published April 17, 2017, accessed December 17, 2020
3. https://www.aoafamily.com/home/news-topic.php?newsid=122 accessed December 17, 2020