A guide to pregnancy safe skincare

If you're expecting a baby or breastfeeding, it's time to re-evaluate your beauty routine

Pregnancy is a journey filled with incredible changes, surprises, and, of course, unpredictability. You’re constantly adapting, whether you’re decoding weird and wonderful pregnancy cravings or figuring out which morning sickness remedies work for you. 

Among the endless things to consider is which skincare products (including your go-to skincare acids) are safe to use throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding. After all, your skin experiences many changes along with your body during your pre- and post-natal journey. You may battle hormonal acne and bouts of dryness or notice more pigmentation and wonder what can be done. 

To demystify what’s safe for you and your baby, here’s a guide to pregnancy safe skincare available in New Zealand that’ll enhance your ‘pregnancy glow’. 

2024’s top pregnancy safe skincare brands



Pregnancy Skin Essentials, $305 at Alpha H

Are you wondering whether you can still enjoy the benefits of anti-ageing skincare acids while pregnant? Look no further than Alpha-H, a science-backed skincare brand that offers a selection of safe pregnancy and breastfeeding products. 

Alpha-H’s best-selling product is the Liquid Gold Exfoliating Tonic, made with 5% Glycolic Acid. It’s designed to accelerate skin renewal and reduce hyperpigmentation (melasma) and uneven texture. Its low pH level means it deeply penetrates the skin to produce clinical-grade results. 

For optimal results, pair the Liquid Gold Exfoliating Tonic with the Balancing Cleanser, Vitamin C Serum and SPF 50+ Moisturiser, all conveniently included in Alpha-H’s Pregnancy Skin Essentials Kit. This combination ensures you’re locking in moisture if you’re experiencing dryer skin, while the SPF helps mitigate hyperpigmentation. 

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JSHealth Vitamins Skin

Luminous Vitamin Oil, $65 at JSHealth

Created by Australian nutritionist Jessica Sepel, JSHealth Vitamins Skin caters to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers who desire gentle, soothing and non-irritating skincare for the face and body. 

Combat dratted first-trimester hormonal acne with the Balancing Vitamin Cleanser and protect against hyperpigmentation with the Pro-Collagen Vitamin Serum, which is rich in vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. 

As your skin stretches and grows, reach for the Luminous Vitamin Oil to keep it firm and radiant. This potent, glowy oil contains Bakuchiol, a safe alternative to retinol. Then, layer with the Probiotic Vitamin Moisturiser to further boost your skin’s elasticity. 

For a hassle-free routine, the serum, oil, moisturiser, and gentle cleanser are available in a 4-Step Vitamin Skincare System set, perfect for use morning and night throughout pregnancy and beyond.

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Emma Lewisham

Skin Reset Serum, $152 at Emma Lewisham

New Zealand beauty entrepreneur Emma Lewisha’s frustration with the lack of safe, effective skincare for treating hyperpigmentation while starting a family led her to create a natural, science-backed brand. The result? Luxurious and highly effective products safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding. 

The Emma Lewisham Skin Reset Serum is a game-changer for combating hormonal and sun-induced hyperpigmentation, as well as breakouts, with its anti-inflammatory properties. It can be applied both in the morning and at night. To further prevent acne and maintain smooth, radiant skin, use the Illuminating Exfoliant twice weekly.

For those nights when you’re too exhausted to do your full skincare routine, we recommend the Supernatural Face Oil. It uses Bakuchiol as a safe retinol alternative and keeps your skin supple and nourished until morning. 

If you desire an all-rounder skincare routine, consider the Emma Lewisham Pregnancy and Maternity gift set, which includes the Illuminating Exfoliant, Skin Reset Serum and Supernatural Face Oil. It’s an indulgent treat for yourself or a thoughtful present for an expectant mother. 



Nourishing Nipple Balm, $25 at The Iconic

Hailing from Australia, Endota offers a dedicated natural, organic skincare range tailored to mothers and babies. These products are free from harsh chemicals, parabens, colourants and synthetic fragrances, ensuring peace of mind for expectant and new mothers. 

If you’re looking to pamper your body, the Endota Hydrating Belly Oil is a staple for your changing belly, breasts, thighs, and buttocks. Pair it with the Moisture Rich Belly Butter for an added layer of hydration. Both products are available in the Belly Bliss Pack

After you welcome your baby, the Endota Nourishing Nipple Balm will become an essential. Infused with cocoa butter and vitamin E, it offers relief for sore nipples and doubles as a lip balm or salve for dry, broken skin. 

And don’t forget about Endota’s baby-friendly skincare. The Protecting Barrier Balm is an excellent aid for soothing nappy irritation, while the Gentle Baby Lotion is a pampering way to keep your little one’s delicate skin moisturised. Use it a soothing massage treatment after bath time.

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Kora Organics

Minty Mineral Hydration Mist, $76 at The Iconic

Miranda Kerr’s Kora Organics skincare range is not just super-model approved, but it’s gained praise from mothers worldwide. With a focus on certified organic ingredients, Kora Organics is a worry-free choice for pregnancy and beyond. 

Our favourites from the brand include the Tumeric Brightening and Exfoliating Mask, perfect for revitalising tired, dull skin. The Berry Bright Vitamin C Eye Cream adds a touch of radiance to delicate under-eye areas, and the Minty Mineral Hydration Mist offers an instant refresh for when you’re feeling overheated or stressed. 

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Rosehip Oil, $48.99 at Life Pharmacy

Aotearoa’s own Trilogy is renowned for its safe, glow-inducing skincare products suitable for pregnancy. Its star product, the certified organic Rosehip Oil, is safe for use on the face and body. Frequent users even say the multi-tasking product minimises the appearance of stretch marks. 

If you’re an exhausted, expectant mother, the Rosehip Oil is the one product we’d recommend using at night. It nourishes the face while effortlessly removing makeup, simplifying your nighttime skincare routine while ensuring your skin remains radiant. 

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Weleda Skincare

Stretch Mark Body Butter, $32.90 at Adore Beauty

Weleda offers an affordable range of natural and nurturing skincare, including specialised pregnancy products like the Stretch Mark Massage Oil, Stretch Mark Body Butter, Perineum Massage Oil and Nipple Balm

The Stretch Mark Body Oil has been a pregnancy bestseller for over twenty years. It’s enriched with almond and jojoba oils and vitamin E and is enhanced with a gentle floral scent to encourage moments of calm when applied.

There’s also Weleda’s baby skincare range, which keeps your newborn’s skin soft and protected while relieving irritation. Containing organic calendula extracts, we love the Nappy Change Cream, Shampoo and Body Wash, All Purpose Balm, and Baby Oil

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Navigating pregnancy safe skincare: Your questions answered

1. Is Vitamin C skincare safe during pregnancy? 

Absolutely! Vitamin C is a skincare superhero that’s entirely safe to use during pregnancy. This potent antioxidant shields your skin from environmental aggressors, brightens your complexion, and promotes collagen production, keeping it radiant and resilient.

2. Which skincare ingredients are safe to use during pregnancy?

During pregnancy or breastfeeding, it’s crucial to choose skincare ingredients that are safe for you and your baby. Some pregnancy safe ingredients include:

  • Hyaluronic Acid: For hydration and plumping up the skin.
  • Vitamin C: An antioxidant that helps with pigmentation and promotes collagen production.
  • Glycolic Acid: A gentle exfoliant suitable in low concentrations.
  • Lactic Acid: A mild exfoliant for a brighter, smoother complexion.
  • Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide: Sunscreens that protect against UV damage.
  • Niacinamide (Vitamin B3): For reducing inflammation, treating hyperpigmentation, and supporting the skin barrier.
  • Ceramides: Maintaining the skin barrier and moisture.
  • Bakuchiol: A plant-based retinol alternative for targeting signs of aging.

Always consult a medical professional before introducing new products into your skincare routine during pregnancy or breastfeeding, as individual sensitivities and conditions may vary.

3. How should pregnant women deal with acne?

Facing acne during pregnancy is common, thanks to hormonal fluctuations, but traditional acne-fighting heroes like retinoids and high-strength salicylic acid are off the table.

The good news? There’s a safe and effective alternative: bio-retinols. Bakuchiol, a natural compound found in the babchi plant, mimics the skin-renewing benefits of retinol without the associated risks during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Our favourite Bakuchiol-infused skincare products include the JSHealth Vitamins Skin Luminous Vitamin Oil and the Emma Lewisham Supernatural Face Oil.

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