Can I Get a Facial While Pregnant?

Woman getting a facial

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Your body is transformed when you’re pregnant. And while the prospect of a new baby is without a doubt worth it, let’s face it—pregnancy can be pretty uncomfortable sometimes. This is all the more reason why engaging in some self-care and pampering is important to help unwind and show yourself some love. But so many things are taboo when you’re pregnant, it can be difficult to know what baby-safe activities you can engage in—even seemingly innocuous ones, like getting a facial.

To help you navigate the Can I or can’t I? waters of pregnancy, we tapped two experts to weigh in on whether or not it’s safe to get a facial while pregnant. Plus, we’ll share some precautions you should take if you do decide to treat your skin to a little TLC. 

Getting a Facial During Pregnancy

If you’ve noticed changes in your skin while pregnant, know that you’re far from alone. Changes to your skin, as well as your hair and nails, are common while pregnant. And although some people’s facial skin is blessed with the healthy-looking flush of a pregnancy glow, others may experience increased oiliness, dark spots, melasma (a.k.a. the “mask of pregnancy”), acne, or dryness.

“Pregnancy brings a lot of changes to a woman’s body, including skin changes,” says Priyanka Dixit-Patel, MD, a family medicine physician at ChristianaCare in Smyrna, Delaware. “Many women can have acne, oily skin, increased hair growth, and melasma (hyperpigmentation in the skin).” These changes to your skin are mostly due to pregnancy hormones, but other reasons for them have yet to be uncovered.

That said, Dr. Dixit-Patel empathizes that these changes can be upsetting, so (safely) getting a facial while pregnant can be a great way to help lift your spirits.

Traditional facials are done by a licensed aesthetician. They involve a wide range of variations on cleansing, exfoliation, extraction (of blackheads, clogged pores, and whiteheads), if needed, and a facial massage.

Then, a treatment mask is applied to address specific concerns, followed by targeted serums, moisturizers, and sunscreen. Though the types of facials can vary widely, the goals are always the same: to revitalize your skin by improving its look and feel, as well as to provide some luxurious “me time.”

Every pregnancy is different. Be sure to consult with a healthcare provider about your circumstances if you have any questions about getting a facial while pregnant.

Is It Safe for Baby?

There are countless ways to treat the skin on your face, from an infinite number of skincare product applications, steamings, and facial massages to microdermabrasion, chemical peels, light therapy, laser resurfacing, and more. But not all of them are pregnancy-safe. The safety of getting a facial while pregnant depends on the type of facial you get and the ingredients used in the skincare products that are applied. 

“It can be completely safe to get a facial while pregnant,” confirms Jeannette Graf, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in NYC. “Before anything, though, it’s important to always double-check with your doctor.”

So, to be sure if it will be safe for you and your baby, contact your healthcare provider before you book your appointment. And let them know exactly what type of facial you’ll be getting and what skincare ingredients will be used. 

Also, keep in mind that as your baby bump grows, it will become less and less comfortable to lie on your back while you get a facial. So, if you opt for a facial, it’s usually best to go before your third trimester. Generally, you’ll feel your best during your second trimester, when morning sickness has subsided and before your belly really starts weighing you down.

Benefits of Getting a Facial During Pregnancy 

In addition to feeling divine, getting a facial while pregnant can help improve certain skin conditions.

“Your skin might have changed with pregnancy,” Dr. Graf reiterates. “A facial can help target certain concerns.” You’ll just have to be cautious regarding which type of facial you get. Dr. Dixit-Patel recommends oxygen facials (to boost blood flow), deep-cleansing facials, and hydrating facials.

Just be sure to confirm the safety of the ingredients that will be used and any other treatments you’ll be getting with your healthcare provider first. Once you get the green light, you can enjoy some of these benefits.

Clearer and More Hydrated Skin

Since your skin will be thoroughly cleansed and extractions will be performed, if needed, any gunk clogging your pores will be removed. And your skin will be left feeling refreshed.

Additionally, a facial can help rebalance your skin by removing excess oil and infusing it with hydration. “Some women can get very oily or very dry skin during pregnancy,” explains Dr. Dixit-Patel.

Treat Skin Conditions

By having the right pregnancy-safe ingredients applied, you can help treat certain skin conditions from dryness to oiliness and discoloration to acne. The key is to find the right ingredients that will be safe for your baby and to continue using them in your regular skincare routine to get the best results.

Relaxation

Having a baby can be a joyful experience, but also a stressful one. Perhaps the best benefit of a facial is its emotional one. “It can allow you to alleviate some of the stress of expecting a baby soon,” counsels Dr. Graf.

With all the concerns that can come along with becoming a parent to a new child, getting a facial while pregnant can be an excellent way to help calm your mind and pamper yourself.

Safety Precautions 

As with most things in pregnancy, getting a safe and proper facial while pregnant is all about knowing what’s kosher and what to avoid. Dr. Dixit-Patel notes that there are simply not many studies on a lot of skincare ingredients and, if we don’t definitively know that they’re safe, it’s usually best to avoid them.

To be sure, always run any ingredient or treatment you’re thinking about getting by your healthcare provider first. You may also want to stay away from the below.

Harsh Treatments

Dr. Dixit-Patel cautions against chemical peels, Retin-A products, microdermabrasion treatments, and laser treatments. She explains that this is because your skin can be especially sensitive when you’re pregnant, so harsh treatments can cause irritation. For this same reason, she also recommends only using products that are fragrance-free and paraben-free.

You may not know how your skin will react either. “A product that you use regularly can be too harsh on your newly transformed skin,” Dr. Graf says. “It is better to be safe than sorry when pregnant and opt-in for gentle products designed for sensitive skin.” Basically, baby your skin until your baby arrives to help keep any unwanted side effects at bay.

Retinol

In addition to staying away from Retin-A products, Dr. Dixit-Patel advises that it’s best to avoid retinol or any retinoid in general while you’re pregnant. This is because they’ve been linked to some potentially serious birth defects.

Instead, she recommends using products with azelaic acid, glycolic acid, and low levels of salicylic acid, as well as low dose topical benzoyl peroxide and vitamin C. These can help give you smoother, clearer, brighter-looking skin similar to retinol (albeit with milder results), but without all the risks. She also gives hyaluronic acid and grapeseed oil the go-ahead to hydrate your skin.

Another option is a natural ingredient called bakuchiol, which isn’t as harsh as retinol can be. “Bakuchiol is also a good ingredient that is a plant-based retinol alternative that some expecting mothers might want to opt into instead of a retinol,” explains Dr. Graf. It also improves the look and feel of your skin in ways that are comparable to retinol.

Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone—a skin-lightening agent found in dark spot corrector creams—should be avoided, says Dr. Dixit-Patel. This is because a significant amount of the ingredient is absorbed into your skin. So, practicing an abundance of caution is recommended.

A Word From Verywell

Treating yourself to a facial can be just the self-care you need during your pregnancy. However, there are still precautions to keep in mind, such as what products will be applied to your skin. Of course, this is far from a comprehensive list of all the safety precautions and alternatives you should keep in mind when getting a facial while pregnant. And everyone’s pregnancy is unique.

Above all else, always run any component of a facial you’ll be getting by your healthcare provider to make sure it’s safe for you and your baby. Then, lay back and enjoy your well-deserved pampering.

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7 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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