Pregnancy Skin Care: My Updated Skincare Routine

Before we started trying to conceive, I stopped taking antibiotics for my acne (I had only used them for about 2 months or a little less---you can read about that here). I was still using the Proactiv Refining Mask as a spot treatment, but about 2 weeks after I got my positive OPK read, I stopped using topicals too, "just in case." 

The first month and a half or so of my pregnancy, my skin was pretty incredible. It was more oily, but it was also very clear. I did still struggle with blackheads, but my acne was gone.  I'm still not sure if it was due to a surge in hormones or if my antibiotics had wiped it all out and kept it from coming back for a couple of months.

After the initial six weeks or so of pretty great skin, I did start to experience some breakouts, but they were different than the cystic acne I used to have. I still break out, mostly on my chin and jaw, but they are not as cystic/under the skin and painful as they used to be (although I will get an under the skin one occasionally).  The acne on my back also went away which I was thrilled about---though I have gotten a few pimples on my chest randomly since being pregnant.

For the first couple of months my skincare routine was incredibly simple: I used my La Roche Posay Effaclar cleanser (it doesn't contain salicylic acid or other no-no ingredients) and then applied my Neutrogena sensitive skin moisturizer on top.  That's it. At night, I had the same routine only I added eye cream (I was using Kiehl's).

Recently I ordered products from the Belli skincare line.  The line was created by a doctor and made with pregnancy-safe ingredients so I didn't have to stress about what I was using on my skin and could still use a spot treatment. I purchased the facial scrub, eye cream, spot treatment and belly oil.  So here's what my skincare routine looks like now.

  • Wash face with LRP Effaclar cleanser
  • Apply Neutrogena sensitive skin moisturizer
  • Apply Mamma Mio Tummy Rub (if I remember!)

Night (before bed):
  • Wash face with LRP Effaclar cleanser (with Clarisonic Mia)
  • A few times a week use the Belli scrub on my face
  • Apply Neutrogena sensitive skin moisturizer
  • Apply Belli eye cream
  • Apply Belli spot treatment if needed (usually just areas on my chin/jaw-this product is very drying so apply lightly)
  • Apply Belli elasticity belly oil

So, as you can see, my skincare routine is pretty simple these days. I am happy with it though. One odd thing I've noticed is that my forehead is a little bumpy sometimes, texture wise. It's like little tiny bumps but it's not excessive so most days I don't notice it much.  I also noticed more recently, between about 16-18 weeks of pregnancy that my jaw and chin areas are experiencing more blackheads and pimples than before. I usually can't resist extracting them which I know isn't good.

I didn't really know how pregnancy would affect my skin.  I would say my skin is just slightly worse now than how it was when I was on the pill-and it's slightly more oily. My dermatologist once told me that if your skin looks good on birth control, it will probably react similarly during pregnancy.  In my case, that appears to hold somewhat true.

How was your skin during pregnancy and how did your skincare routine change? Leave me a comment below, I love to hear your advice and experiences!


  1. I'm currently 37 weeks pregnant, and my skin has been amazing since week 17 or so! I had some bad breakouts and very oily skin for the first trimester and a little bit of my second trimester. But then, all of a sudden, it just completely STOPPED breaking out and it became less oily than it usually is. It's probably as close to perfect skin as I'll ever get! I'm sad that it will probably all end in a few weeks when my son is born, but I'm holding out some hope that maybe it will magically stay like this ;)

    I'd never heard that comparison about your skin during pregnancy to your skin on the Pill, but I guess for me, that holds true as well. I was on the Pill for 13 years, and my skin was usually pretty great during that time period. So maybe there is some correlation since I'm now experiencing great skin again!

  2. I also stopped using antibiotics and the skincare routine my DR gave me for my acne before getting pregnant. I really just used simple drug store moisturizer or products from DHC like their olive oil line.

    Now I am still nursing and I stick with the same thing.

  3. Hi V- I am about 6 weeks pregnant and have noticed dry bumps on the sides of my temples which I think is odd. I too was on acne meds before ttc and my chin area has been ok since I stopped but I have noticed little red pimples (non cystic) around my cheek area. Have you stopped using the kheils spot corrector and the proactive spot corrector as well? I am still contemplating on using them but will ask my ob-gyn next week.

  4. Judy--- I no longer use those treatments either because I do not believe the ingredients have been studied in pregnancy.

  5. When I was pregnant I switched to using Clinique's 3 step face wash system. I always have had acne and used products with salicylic acid pre-pregnancy. I really love the system and continue using it now that my daughter is 15 months old. I have to say too, my acne has been WAY better every since being pregnant and having my daughter. Bonus!

  6. i never get pimple, but started to during this pregnancy. the genetics dr said in her experience that means a boy, but the wive's tails say that girls "suck the beauty from you"

  7. Hi Veronika, my little guy just turned 10 months on the 22nd. My skin did crazy things during my pregnancy. About mid first tri I got horrible breakouts all over my back and shoulders. That had never happened before and I tried all kinds of "safe" things to get rid of it. Nothing worked! Then one day about mid second tri it all cleared up completely on its own and was beautiful the rest of the pregnancy. Hormones do crazy things to your body! So don't worry too much, just when you get it figured out it will change again. Good practice for when the baby comes:)

  8. I've never really had skin problems or breakouts, but it did look especially good during pregnancy. Afterward, of course it looks "tired" from time to time but it's more normalized never getting too dry or too oily, and I don't wash it every night (bad of me, I know).

    After I ran out of Mamma Mio, I started using Palmer's Cocoa Butter. NO stretch marks!!!

  9. Oh, and I am genetically prone to stretch marks. My mom and sister got a lot of them. So I swear by Mamma Mio and Palmer's Cocoa. Don't forget to do your legs and the sides of your breasts (especially if you breast feed).

  10. I've heard the same old wives tale as Kristen - that if you have clear, perfect skin - it's a boy, and if you're breaking out, it's a girl.

    For me - since I had boy-girl twins - my skin was both bad and glowing LOL! Guess they canceled the effects out a bit :-)

  11. I've started exclusively using LRP Effaclar cleanser as well and also experienced tiny bumps on my forehead. I wonder what that means! Anywho, thanks for the acne update. I'm always curious as to what other women are using!

    - Jen

  12. My skin has actually been a little bit worse than what it ever has been. I've never really had a problem with acne but it seems like the hormones have kicked everything into gear. That is one thing I'm looking forward to going away after baby boy is born!

  13. Like you, I break out in cystic acne when it is not controlled with antibiotics or the birth control pill. My skin was terrible when I was trying to get pregnant. We had difficulty conceiving due to my PCOS, and I was taking Provera, Clomid, and an hCG injection, so those all caused more damage to my skin than just being off of birth control did! Once I was pregnant, though, my face cleared up so quickly and was really nice throughout my pregnancy. I did break out A LOT on my chest, shoulders, and back. Fortunately, I was pregnant in the fall and winter so I could cover it up, but no matter what I did, it wouldn't clear up until after I gave birth. Then, when my son was about 3 weeks old, my skin went crazy. Worse than when I was on all of those hormones. I had deep, painful cysts all over my cheeks and around my mouth and chin. I felt so ugly and I cried a lot and refused to go out in public most of the time because I felt so terrible about myself. When my maternity leave was up and I had to go back to work at 6 weeks, I had a breakdown while getting ready because I didn't want to go because I felt like my coworkers would just look at me and be horrified. Of course, that wasn't the case, but I still felt uglier than I ever had. It took a while for the acne to heal despite being back on the pill at 2 weeks postpartum, and I was left with a lot of ugly red marks and some light scarring. 8 months later, it's still visible, but is fading - slowly. I doubt I will ever have my great-looking skin back like I had before my son, but it's a small price to pay, I suppose.

  14. I used baby oil in gel and Palmers cocoa during my whole pregnancy. The only stercht mark I got was in one of my breast when I was breastfeeding and didn't want use any product on my breasts.

  15. i have always had acne most especially right before my period - i was on accutane twice, and now use proactiv extra strength. with both of my children, i had awesome skin during pregnancy and i know its because i wasn't getting my period. my baby is now 10 months, and i got my period back when he was 8 months old (i'm still nursing him), and now that my cycle is back, i'm back to bad acne before i get my period (which lasts 2-3 weeks, so my skin is pretty much always broken out) :(

  16. i never ever ever comment, but i feel compelled to tell you about my life-changing skin care regiment. i have ALWAYS had cystic acne. i just recently had my third child and when i was pregnant with him, i ran across a blog post discussing oil cleansing method. go read about it, and give it a shot. i've been doing it now for a year and my skin is amazing. (i use a combination of castor oil, jajoba oil and baking soda). here's the original post i read......but there's much more out there--just google it!

  17. I have a 5 month old baby boy and during my pregnancy I got terrible acne, it was very upsetting because I was so thrilled to be pregnant, but so down to have such terrible skin. It cleared up very nicely during the 3rd trimester and had been very good after I gave birth, but I've noticed chin breakouts for the last month...perhaps hormonal since I'm breastfeeding?!

    During pregnancy, I cleansed and moisturized and used a little dab of Spectro's benzoyl spot treatment as I had read online and asked my OB if that was ok to use. I also used the ProActive refining mask as spot treatment.

    I love reading your skin care updates because I struggled so much with my skin during pregnancy. It's nice to hear what other women do!

    OH - and I used organice coconut butter on my belly every night and I did not get one stretch mark. I thought for sure I would have because my mother got them. I'm thinking it was the religious use of coconut butter - totally all-natural and very inexpensive - you can find it in your grocery store! :)

  18. I was so afraid of getting stretch marks I did so much research (I have access to academic databases) to avoid them. In the end, I didn't get any stretch marks on my belly where I used my little regimen, but I did on my sides where I neglected! The biggest thing is hydration! After showers I used trofolastin (which has gotu kola), diluted with some St. Ives. Rubbed my belly every few days with Burt's Bee's mama oil and a hand lotion with alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) (good for skin regeneration). If my belly felt dry, I put more lotion and made sure to massage my skin! I drank plenty of liquids, ate lots of Vitamin C and E (which are important for skin regeneration and repair). The third trimester is where you grow the most, so that's when I amped up my regimen and started using the hand lotion with AHA.

    I'm a nut, but I promise you, it worked for me! I'm very prone to stretch marks and it worked like a dream.


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