I’m Alicia Yoon, the Founder of Peach & Lily, and I’m currently 37 weeks pregnant, expecting our first child. A little bit about my skin: I have dry skin (meaning, I don’t naturally produce enough lipids on my skin), I have very sensitive skin, and I have eczema. All of this led me to study skincare extensively as an esthetician, on a mission to figure out how to combat my constantly rashy, painful skin.
Over years of studying and hands-on experience, I learned how to transform how my skin looks and feels with the right ingredients and knowledge. This hard-earned journey fuels my passion to empower you to do the same, no matter where you are in your skincare journey!
Pregnancy definitely throws a new curveball as huge hormonal changes can impact skin in both wonderful and challenging ways.
I have received so many questions from our Peach community about my pregnancy skincare routine. Everyone’s skin is different, so I’ll share my routine while also breaking down the common skin challenges you may face during pregnancy and the best ways to keep your skin smooth-sailing through this special time.
Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Guide:
Common pregnancy skincare changes:
- - Common pregnancy skincare change #1: Hyperpigmentation
- - Common pregnancy skin change #2: Breakouts
- - Common pregnancy skin change #3: tired more reactive skin
My Pregnancy Routine
First and foremost, like many of you, at the very top of my priority list was the health of my growing baby (and myself!). What’s normally considered safe for me could be harmful for a fetus, so I made sure to vet everything with my doctor. Since everyone is different, always check every ingredient list with your doctor to ensure it’s OK for your pregnancy. I literally copy/pasted all ingredient lists for my skincare products into an email for my doctor to make sure she gave me the thumbs up.
In terms of general advice I’ve heard from doctors, here are the ingredients that are usually on the list of what to avoid while pregnant:
- - Retinoids
- - Hydroquinone
- - Arbutin
- - Salicylic acid above 2% in formulas
- - Benzoyl peroxide above 5% in formulas
- - Chemical sunscreens
But again, as I’m writing from a personal point of view, and I’m not a doctor, please be sure to check all ingredients with your doctor. Safety first. ;)
You may notice during your pregnancy that your skin may become discolored or darker in some areas. And on your face, you may start to notice dark spots that form as little speckles or darker patches across your face. This is common! Some people call this a “pregnancy mask.” Essentially, what’s happening is hormonal changes can trigger our melanocytes to become more overactive in some areas resulting in this “pregnancy mask.” For me, around month two of my pregnancy, I noticed what looked like little sesame seeds, some bigger than others, all over my cheekbones and on my cheeks. I do get dark spots easily, but these dark spots were coming on fast and frequently.
To combat my pregnancy-hyperpigmentation, here’s how I approached it:
- 1. Keeping skin hydrated is important because brightening ingredients don’t work as well if skin is dehydrated underneath.
- 2. I was all about using gentle but super potent ingredients that are proven to target hyperpigmentation.
- 3. I was very consistent about applying mineral / physical sunscreen throughout the day even when I wasn’t going outside because the sun’s UV rays still come in through the windows and I was working from home where there are windows with sun coming in.
Here are the products I leaned on heavily for this three-pronged approach:
- -Hydration:Wild Dew Treatment Essence – this essence sinks deep into skin and absorbs quickly and drenches skin with hydration. It also is really calming and includes 2% niacinamide which pairs really well with the product I was using to target dark spots featuring Vitamin C. I used this morning and evening and after cleansing and toning, I would pat in sometimes one quick layer onto skin and other times even up to ten layers onto skin to give myself a little mini hydrating facial. In all my years doing facials, I have yet to meet someone who was too hydrated, so don’t worry about over-hydrating It’s hard to do that because of all the various factors in our daily lives that can result in transepidermal water loss (we’re creatures of comfort and love drying A/C or heat or face daily stressors that can create a less than perfectly protective skin barrier holding onto our moisture in skin).
- - Brightening:Transparen-C Pro Spot Treatment – we actually launched this product towards my third trimester, but we had the finished formula that I had from the lab, so starting month two, I was using this every. single. day! A little goes a long way, so just once a day is enough. I used the Transparen-C typically in the mornings as I loved the bit of extra protection the Vitamin C derivative can also provide against photodamage as a powerful antioxidant. The Transparen-C contains 20% Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, a celebrated luxe Vitamin C format that is very stable (so it doesn’t oxidize, turn brown and lose efficacy easily), sinks deep into skin, is very gentle on skin, and has incredible studies demonstrating the efficacy in targeting stubborn dark spots. After using daily around 4-6 weeks later, I saw visible results. My sesame-seed like dark spots looked faded and I wasn’t getting new ones. After about 8 weeks, I felt like my skin was back to my pre-pregnancy skin where I wasn’t dealing with the pregnancy-hyperpigmentation. I’m still using Transparen-C daily and I’ve been able to keep my pregnancy-hyperpigmentation at bay with skin that looks even-toned.
- - Sunscreen:SkinMedica Essential Defense Mineral Shield: We don’t carry this on our website (as we focus on Asian beauty brands), but wanted to share what I used the most for my daily sunscreen throughout my pregnancy. I liked that this didn’t break me out, irritate my skin or leave a white cast. I also was intentional about avoiding direct sunlight. For example, I’ve been working in my dining room on the dining room table lately and one side gets a lot more sun during one part of the day. I’ll just move to the other side during that part of the day. Easy but goes a long way.
Common pregnancy skin change #2: Breakouts
Breakouts are very common during pregnancy, again, with all the hormonal changes. For some, pregnancy may actually clear up breakouts! For me, I don’t normally struggle with consistent breakouts (my struggles are more my dry, sensitive, eczema skin), but through my pregnancy, I was getting constant breakouts along my hairline, around my nose, on my chin and my chest.
To help curb the breakouts, I used fast-acting acne patches and soothing ingredients to help quell inflammation. Hydration is also key, so the Wild Dew Treatment Essence also helped me with my breakouts. Here are the two products that were my everyday breakout skin-saviors:
While my breakouts didn’t stop per se, these two products really helped turn things around quickly so that any scarring was minimized and so that I wasn’t dealing with long-lasting blemishes. For the most part, it helped my skin appear clear by staying on top of anything that popped up and using the Glass Skin serum to help curb any new ones from forming.
We hear about pregnancy glow and how skin looks so vibrant. My skin became a little oilier than normal, so that helped with the glow a bit, but pregnancy can also be very fatiguing. I was dealing with severe morning sickness, heartburn and overall fatigue. All of this can lead to a weaker skin barrier, and that in turn led to my skin looking and feeling more tired and dehydrated (which means less moisture on the inside even if more oil on the outside!). I also felt my skin become more reactive and sensitive.
To give my skin support, I supplemented more often with skin-barrier supporting lipids and ceramides and pre and probiotics. Here’s what I incorporated into my routine when my skin would become more tired and reactive:
Pure Beam Luxe Oil: this doesn’t clog pores and can be used for all skin types. I love that it helps to strengthen the skin and also helps balance skin’s natural oils. I would use by applying it after my moisturizer or with my moisturizer mixing into my palms. I typically used this in the evenings.
• Glass Skin Water-Gel Moisturizer: this oil-free fresh hydrating moisturizer was like a cool drink of water for my skin. It just instantly perked it up and felt so incredibly refreshing whenever my skin was looking and feeling dull, reactive or tired. I love that the pre and probiotics are included as they are known to help support your skin microbiome. And a thriving microbiome is linked to helping curb breakouts, keep skin balanced, and fortify skin so it’s less reactive.
• KBeauty Rescue Balm: this balm was something I used every day for my lips, cuticles and anywhere else that needed extra TLC. For my face, when my skin would get reactive, I would place a small amount in my palms, warm it up and gently pat over skin and press onto skin. This includes ceramides to help with your skin barrier and calming turmeric. This balm helped get my skin back to calm quickly.
There were definitely days when I was just completely exhausted and I really couldn’t do my normal skincare routine. When we’re pregnant, our bodies are doing so much hard work, so I was gentle and kind to myself and took it easy. And on those days, I leaned on the Lazy Day All-in-one Moisture Pads (we can link to Lazy Day Pads article here) and gave myself a pat on the back for giving my skin good support even if it wasn’t my full blown routine. Kudos to all of you who are pregnant / have been pregnant – it’s not easy and you’re doing great!!
My Full Pregnancy Skincare Routine
For a quick summary of my step-by-step full routine, here’s the breakdown! It sounds like a lot, but on most days it’s usually steps 1-7 and the Acne Spot Dots, and the whole routine usually takes me just a few minutes to apply from start to finish.
- 1. Peach Pudding Makeup Cleanser (PM) / Peach Slices Clear Skin Micellar Wipes (PM on those days I just couldn’t manage to get to the sink!)
- 2. Power Calm Cleanser (AM and PM)
- 3. Be the Skin Power Toner (AM and PM, sometimes); Good Acids Pore Toner (AM and PM, other days)
- 4. Wild Dew Treatment Essence (AM and PM)
- 5. Glass Skin Refining Serum (AM and PM)
- 6. Transparen-C Pro Spot Treatment (AM)
- 7. Glass Skin Water-Gel Moisturizer (AM and PM; some days); Matcha Pudding Antioxidant Cream (AM and PM; other days)
- Optional add-ons as needed:
- 8. Pure Beam Luxe Oil (PM; some days)
- 9. Acne Spot Dots (throughout the day, pretty much everyday)
- 10. KBeauty Rescue Balm (lips, cuticles daily; and face sometimes)
- 11. Skinmedica Mineral Shield (AM)
- 12. Glass Skin Veil Mist (throughout the day on some days)
- 13. Be the Skin Non-Stimulus Face Polisher (1-2 times a week to exfoliate – this goes after cleansing and toning); Super Reboot Resurfacing Mask (sometimes – this has 0.5% salicylic acid so my doctor was OK with this, but I tend to be conservative and tried to avoid salicylic acid, so I didn’t use this too much – remember, always check everything with your doctor!)
- 14. Lazy Day Pads (whenever I couldn’t do the above!)
- 15. Sheet Masks whenever I felt like it! For some weeks in a row, I didn’t really want to do much let alone sheet mask and some weeks, I really wanted to sheet mask more often. Again, I let myself just go with the flow of what I wanted and tried to be gentle and kind to myself during this pregnancy.
I loved feeling like I was pampering myself and looked forward to soothing self-care moments as I’m growing a little one inside me. On days I have more energy and felt much more motivated, I’d turn the whole routine into a longer routine and incorporate facial massages as I applied my skincare.
I hope my pregnancy skincare routine breakdown was helpful for you all and if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below or DM me at @aliciayoon212 on Instagram! ;)
Sending you all lots of love and positivity!
Cheers to radiance,