If you were looking forward to that “pregnancy glow” but are finding more perspiration and acne, you should know you are far from alone. Our bodies go through so many changes in pregnancy and postpartum! And almost all the changes your skin goes through during that time are completely normal. (Of course, there are some exceptions, like extreme hand/foot itching, which should be discussed with your physician.) Everything from skin tags to eczema can appear or disappear during pregnancy!

Whether your pregnancy falls in the heat of mid-summer or the coldest, driest part of winter, it’s important to know how to treat your pregnant skin! The guide below will help you know what to do and what to avoid to take great care of your skin during and after pregnancy. 

Increase your water intake

The amount of water you drink is important in pregnancy and postpartum. To stay properly hydrated, you should be drinking 8-12 full cups of water each day. Also, try increasing the number of times you’re washing your face each day — if you typically wash just once a day, aim for twice. If you’re feeling extra oily and are working from home, a midday mask never hurt! 

Moisturize to lock in that extra water

Using a good moisturizer on your skin will definitely help with the “pregnancy glow” effect. I usually recommend the same kinds of products you would use on a newborn — Cetaphil, Kiehl’s, Aveeno, etc. Fragrant-rich moisturizers with alcohols and oils can often leave your skin feeling dry and dull! If you’re using a separate face and body moisturizer, try something like Follain’s moisturizer or brightening serum. Both are safe for pregnancy and contain no retinols, so if you love them you can use them long into postpartum. The serum can be particularly helpful with skin issues like melasma or face darkening in pregnancy. 

Protect your skin

While it is generally important to wear SPF year-round, it’s even more important when you’re pregnant. Your hormones make your skin sensitive to changes, and the sun can exasperate those changes. There are a number of great sunscreens you can try that are safe for pregnancy, but I’d definitely try the Blue Lizard (the official sunscreen of the Boston Red Sox)!

One of the biggest questions I get as a doula is about using pregnancy-specific products to help stave off stretch marks or the linea negra, which can appear on any pregnant person. While you can use pregnancy-specific oils and butters to support the changes in your skin, I think it’s easier to find products you’d be happy to use whether pregnant or not. After all, there will be so many changes in postpartum, it’ll be nice to count on your skincare routine! 

Dashanna Hanlon
Dashanna was born in Michigan and raised between there and Virginia. She moved to Massachusetts in 2011 after getting a bachelor’s degree in English and gender studies from the University of Pittsburgh. She married her favorite Massachusetts native (Tom) seven years ago. Together they have two sons, Lucas and Isaiah, born in 2018 and 2019. Becoming a parent ignited a passion for supporting others, and Dashanna became a doula before the birth of her second son. She is now the owner of Caring for Mamas, working with families all over Massachusetts and New Hampshire. She loves fresh-squeezed lemonade, good music, and helping and supporting families.