What to use if you've given up retinol during pregnancy
There are a slew of other skincare ingredients that can help combat signs of early aging
Pollution, sun damage and poor lifestyle habits can make our skin age faster than it naturally would. There’s no fighting the natural cycle of life, but there are skincare products that can help us embrace our age the best we can while maintaining our skin’s health. An expert favourite multitasker that can combat hyperpigmentation, acne, blemishes and early signs of ageing are retinoids – whether prescription tretinoin, retinol or retinal – but when you’re pregnant, retinoids have to take a backseat and you find yourself hunting for other pregnancy-safe anti-ageing ingredients.
Don’t panic; we know how long it took for your skin to get used to retinoids. You can always pick up where you left off once you’re done breastfeeding.
While pregnancy-safe anti-ageing products may not have the same effect as a retinoid in controlling acne, breaking up dark patches and buffing out wrinkles, they are efficacious if you’re patient.
Your pregnancy-safe anti-ageing skincare kit
When it comes to fighting signs of early ageing — hyperpigmentation, dark spots, wrinkles and damaged skin — the first and best line of defence is sun protection. Dr Kiran Sethi recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen (protecting against UVA and UVB rays) on a daily basis. You will need about 1-2 teaspoons to effectively cover your face and neck, and extra for your arms and other exposed areas. This equates to about 2-3 fingers in terms of length and depends on the surface area you need to cover. “The stronger the barrier, the better the sun protection,” she says.
When shopping for pregnancy-safe anti-ageing products, you can rely on ceramides to maintain a healthy skin barrier. It’s naturally produced in our body, but as we age, the levels deplete, causing our skin to lose its elasticity and moisture. Pair ceramides with humectants that hold onto hydration, like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, to plump up the skin.
Dermatologist Aradhana Dhawwan says that vitamin C is a pregnancy-safe ingredient and a powerful antioxidant which can help with collagen stimulation, skin brightening, and evening out skin tone. She recommends sticking to low-dose L-ascorbic acid (pure topical vitamin C) at a maximum of 10% or vitamin C derivates (we’ve broken it all down here), again at the lower end of the dosage spectrum (15%) to avoid any potential irritation while your skin is already sensitive.
“Along with vitamin C, peptides are believed to stimulate collagen production, which naturally breaks down over time. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and can soothe skin irritation.”
Even if you start using these pregnancy-safe anti-ageing products as a temporary fix until you can get back to your treasured MVP, we have a feeling this is the beginning of a long-term relationship. Just be sure to check with your doctor about using different actives on your skin.
A note of caution: This story is for educational purposes with inputs from trained experts. Please consult your healthcare provider to know what suits your needs best.