How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks and Other Pregnancy Skin Issues

It’s not only your body that changes during pregnancy. Your skincare routine probably will too. That’s either because some ingredients in the products aren’t safe for babies or because you’re dealing with a whole new set of pregnancy-related skin conditions, like hormonal acne, super-dry skin, stretch marks or melasma (gray-brown patches on the face, also known as “the mask of pregnancy”). Here are 12 mama-to-be-friendly products for all your pregnancy skin woes.

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Say “No, Thank You” to Stretch Marks
There’s no surefire way to avoid stretch marks during pregnancy, but the Stretchmark Minimizing Cream ($48.99) from Belli Beauty is one way to garner a lot of good ingredients that can diminish their appearance. The formula was crafted to reduce the appearance of both the length and depth of stretch marks, thanks to ingredients such as darutoside and registril. A combination of ginseng and avocado acts to stabilize skin tone while softening and moisturizing. It’s also safe to use while breastfeeding.

Butter Up Your Belly
When it comes to minimizing stretch marks, you’ll want to look for ingredients that promote elasticity, such as biopeptides. The Intensive Treatment Stretch Mark Butter ($38) by basq NYC is packed with these peptides, plus darutoside for collagen renewal and Algisium-C to smooth and tone the skin. It’s best to start buttering up your belly as early as possible, because prevention is key.

Address Acne
Whether you’re dealing with pimples, rosacea, eczema or psoriasis, the Healing Balm ($106) by Shiffa can calm skin down considerably. Packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients like St. John’s Wort, chamomile and arnica, this formula is best applied at night to work its moisturizing and healing magic while you sleep. Use anywhere on your face, neck and body.

Boost Your Décolletage
A lot of pregnancy skincare focuses on the burgeoning belly, but what about the bust? Mustela’s Bust Firming Serum ($27) has been shown to firm the breasts, neck and neckline by an impressive 91%. Avocado peptides fortify elasticity while centella asiatica and elastoregulator help tone the skin, especially after it has experienced changes in volume. It’s safe to apply morning and night during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Stay Sun Safe
A sunscreen like Solar Defender SPF 30 ($22) by SkinResourceMD can be used every single day. It not only keeps you safe from UVA/UVB rays but also helps defend against melasma. Created by a dermatologist, this sunblock is packed with zinc oxide to act as a physical blocker, plus vitamins C and E, green tea and aloe to condition the skin and reduce any signs of premature aging of the skin.

Give Yourself Some Sugar
One of the best ways to care for your skin, pregnant or not, is exfoliating. The Raw Sugar Body Scrub ($15) by Body Boost scours away dry skin cells to promote the production of collagen and elastin and help foster product absorption. Made with sweet almond and coconut oils, vitamin E, chamomile extract, whipped shea butter and raw natural sugar (no drying salt!), the formula sounds like a dessert recipe but is really meant to hydrate, tone and treat dry, overstretched skin. It comes in an ultra-relaxing lavender vanilla scent, perfect for using during a warm shower.

Peel Away Your Problems
If your skin needs a breakthrough and you prefer a peel, try the Green Apple Peel Pregnancy ($45) by Juice Beauty. It’s made with alpha hydroxy acid and is free of vitamin A and salicylic acid so pregnant and nursing mamas are totally safe to scrub away to brighter skin. Use once or twice per week in the evening to tone your skin, treat blemishes and reduce any discoloration.

Follow a Skincare System
If you want all your facial skin needs met in one place, check out the three-step skincare system ($119) from Pretty Mommies. It comes with a Let’s Be Clear facial cleanser to wash away impurities and gently exfoliate, a Truth Be Told skin enhancer packed with antioxidants and safe yet effective anti-aging ingredients to hydrate and brighten skin, and a Protect & Reflect SPF 32 sunscreen for broad-spectrum coverage. As individual products, they work beautifully, but as a comprehensive package they combat hormonal acne, melasma, hyperpigmentation and various skin irritations.

Apply a Mask for Mamas-to-Be
Pregnancy exhaustion is real, and your skin might start to show some fatigue too. A revitalizing mask can wake it up and also feel awesomely indulgent, like you’re giving yourself an at-home spa treatment. The 4am Set, Dead Sea Mud Mask ($48) by 10 & Co is made with Dead Sea mineral mud, Australian green clay, aloe vera, and hydrating plant oils to help reinvigorate and brighten skin that’s experiencing, well, sea change. (And check out 10 & Co’s bestselling body oil, Motherlover, if you want an oil for that blossoming belly.)

Soothe Those Swollen Legs and Feet
Don’t look down! You may not recognize your legs and feet during pregnancy. That’s where HATCH Mama Beauty’s Down, Girl ($42) comes in. This anti-inflammatory gel-based cream is made with chamomile and aloe vera to provide some much-needed relief. A dose of ginger will both warm and stimulate inflated limbs.

Refresh Yourself
Wipes aren’t just for babies. If you need a midday cleanse, try Action Wipes from Life Elements. They’re all-natural, EWG VERIFIED body wipes made with pure essential oils and no harsh alcohol or chemicals. Plant-based ingredients, including a coconut-based surfactant, do all the heavy lifting with their antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. These wipes come in super-convenient single packets or 30-sheet dispenser packs ($1-22).

And Let’s Not Forget Lotion
There’s nothing more luxurious than slathering your hands and body in a rich, long-lasting lotion. The Ultra Moisturizing Body Lotion ($18) by Nine Naturals does the trick with its fast-absorbing, plant-based formula. It’s full of rose hip, chamomile oil, shea butter, kukui nut and jojoba oils, all of which hydrate, soften and soothe dry or strained skin. And maybe best of all, the lotion is free of any fragrance. So you won’t irritate your skin or your newly sensitive nose.

Share your best tricks for taking care of your skin during pregnancy!

— Whitney C. Harris

featured photo: Autumn Goodman via Pixabay


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