Magic (?) Retinoids and pregnancy

Kate Somerville RetinolREN RetinolDermologica RetinolDifferin

We’ll start with the basics and work our way to the skin guru fave, retinoids.

Retinoids are a form of Vitamin A.
Vitamin A is necessary for baby development. It is essential for vision, skin integrity, and bone development. Although most women in the US get adequate amounts from their diet, it is also usually found in prenatal vitamins.

Expert recommended supplementation dose is less than (or equal to) 5000 IUs daily.

But … vitamin A can cause harm to a developing fetus when exposed to high levels. Defects from the brain to face to heart to kidneys can be severe. If a little bit of something is good, it does NOT mean that a lot of it is better.

Vitamin A has significant antioxidant properties and is important for wound healing. This is where the beauty industry enters.  The form of vitamin A called retinoids has been touted as having magical skin care and anti-aging benefits. Women use it for prevention and treatment of wrinkles, blemishes, acne, discolorations … basically any skin care complaint one might have.

Retinoids can be divided into a few sub-groups. The most common are isotretinoin, tretinoin, acitretin, and adapalene.

Still with me?
Good. Let’s continue. Continue reading “Magic (?) Retinoids and pregnancy”

you care I care skin care


Winter’s here, and nobody wants alligator skin. Yes, even in Los Angeles we see our skin suffer with the season.

What about skin care products during pregnancy? Blemishes, zits, peels? What is safe to use?

First, most skin care products are safe to use during pregnancy. Topical benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and azelaic acid have not been studied thoroughly in pregnancy, but are all likely safe to use in small amounts.

There are, however, some major categories to avoid:

  • Tretinoin (Retin-A), if taken by mouth, is associated with birth defects. Using it on the skin might be ok because only small amounts get absorbed, but I would recommend avoiding it completely. There are other safer products you can use for these 40 weeks.
  • Self tanning lotions and professional spray tans use an ingredient called DHA to “tan” the skin.  No studies prove they are safe to use in pregnancy, so it is best to avoid them.

And that’s it for today. Long alligator, short lesson.


Source: Organization of Teratology Information Specialists – Great resource to find out what’s safe and what’s not safe in pregnancy.