When you’re expecting, your skin is more sensitive.
You might also be worried about how skincare products affect your baby.
I understand your concerns.
That’s why today, I’ll review the best safe face washes during pregnancy.
Is it okay to use facial cleanser while you’re pregnant?
I’ve got good news for you.
Pregnancy acne can be a big problem.
But you can still use pregnancy-safe acne face cleansers.
You may need to take a break from the usual products.
Let’s discuss which ingredients are best to avoid while pregnant.
Skip these ingredients in your face wash
It’s best if expectant and nursing mothers check the label for these unwanted ingredients (1):
- Beta hydroxy acids, like salicylic acid – use lactic or glycolic acid instead. Also, stick with mild concentrations.
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Willow bark, which is equivalent to salicylic acid
- Diethanolamine (DEA)
- Formaldehyde (found in components like quaternium-15, DMDM, hydantoin, and imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea)
- Parabens of any type
- Phthalates which are common in products with artificial fragrances (better to go fragrance-free to protect sensitive skin)
- Retinol and retinoids
If you must use a face wash with one of these ingredients, make sure it’s one of the last listed on the label.
The problem is two-fold.
The ingredients might irritate your skin. Or your skin could absorb the ingredients and pass them to your baby (2).
For example, parabens are linked to low birth rate, impaired growth, and miscarriage (3).
Fortunately, there are many safe and effective face washes you can use while pregnant.
Belli Anti-Blemish Facial Wash – Cleanse Acne-Prone Skin
My first pick is Belli’s face wash for pregnant women and nursing moms.
This is my number one choice if you have pregnancy acne.
It doubles as a cleansing mask as you can leave it on the skin for up to five minutes. But it’s mild enough to use twice a day.
The active ingredients include lactic acid, green tea leaf, cucumber fruit, and lemon peel oil. These gently exfoliate, moisturize, nourish, and tighten pores.
Moreover, the formula doesn’t have sulfates, perfumes, or parabens.
Garnier SkinActive Micellar Foaming Face Wash
The next option is something you’re likely to find at the local drugstore or supermarket. It’s inexpensive and very mild.
Garnier imbues a transparent gel with the benefits of micellar water. It’s easier to use in the shower as you don’t need cotton pads to wipe it off.
It creates a little bit of lather that rinses clean. Plus, it won’t dehydrate dry skin.
There are only seven ingredients, so you don’t need to worry about oils, fragrances, alcohol, parabens, or sulfates.
Bioderma Sensibio H2O Soothing Micellar Cleansing Water
On the other hand, you might prefer to wipe off makeup with micellar water.
The best I’ve used is made by Bioderma. There are plenty of other brands now that micellar water, but this is the one I prefer.
There are different versions for sensitive or oily skin. Choose one which best fits your situation.
The formula is free of parabens fragrances, and sulfates.
CeraVe Hydrating Face Wash
There are two competitors with similar face washes: CeraVe and Cetaphil.
To my dismay, I discovered that Cetaphil’s face wash has parabens.
Meanwhile, CeraVe’s does not.
It features the classic three ceramide formula that appears in all of their products. The ceramides help restore the skin’s natural barrier against infection and moisture loss.
Next, it has hyaluronic acid to attract water into the skin. That way, your face doesn’t feel tight once you’re done washing. The effects last up to twenty-four hours after you wash.
Finally, it’s fragrance-free and won’t clog pores.
EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser
EltaMD makes more than one type of face cleanser. This one contains bromelain enzymes to reduce inflammation.
It’s made for all skin types, and it’s pH-balanced. The latter quality means that it’s unlikely to cause irritation or strip moisture.
Let it work for thirty seconds before you rinse.
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser
If you’ve ever stepped into a European pharmacy, you know that this brand has a section all to themselves.
French manufacturer La Roche-Posay has been in business for well over a hundred years. Their products are pricey but effective.
They avoid parabens, fragrances, and sulfates and have dermatologists test for allergens.
The base ingredient in most of their products is pre-biotic thermal spring water that’s mineral-rich.
The Toleriane cleanser also has glycerin and ceramide to increase hydration, plus niacinamide to calm redness. That’s no surprise as this face wash is targeted at normal to dry skin.
One bottle will last up to three months if you use it daily.
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Face Wash Cleanser
The difference between this cleanser and the face wash above is the texture. The cleanser feels like a gel, and it’s best for normal to oily sensitive skin.
It doesn’t clog pores or leave a residue. But it will remove face and eye makeup.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser for Oily Skin
If you have oily skin, reach for the Effaclar cleanser.
It contains zinc pidolate with two benefits. Not only does it remove impurities, but it also reduces shine.
Furthermore, it’s free of parabens, alcohols, soap, and oil. But take note, it does have an artificial fragrance listed at the end of the label.
Body Boost Clarifying Daily Face Wash
This pregnancy face wash is made for hormonal skin. You can also wash your chest, back, and neck with it.
It’s made in the USA without ingredients that could cause irritation or harm your baby. To illustrate, it doesn’t have parabens, dyes, phthalates, perfume, caffeine, rosemary, clary sage, mineral oil, or harsh sulfates. It’s also cruelty-free and vegan.
Instead, it uses lactic acid to remove dead skin and reduce hyperpigmentation.
Then, it has antioxidants from green tea and cucumber to repair damage.
And finally, natural astringents from fruit and lavender clear up blemishes.
Neutrogena Naturals Fresh Cleansing Daily Face Wash
There are pluses and minuses to the Neutrogena Naturals face wash.
Let’s do the bad news first. It has an artificial fragrance that’s the last ingredient.
That wasn’t so bad, was it?
If you can overlook that one problem, you can enjoy a product that’s 86% natural.
It features something called the spiny holdback, or the Peruvian Tara. It’s a plant from South America that was used by the Aztecs and Mayans. It’s very good at moisturizing and softening the skin.
What’s more, the formula is free of sulfates, parabens, artificial colors, phthalates, and petrolatum.
Alba Botanica Hawaiian, Pineapple Enzyme Facial Cleanser
Alba Botanica’s fruity face cleanser is hypoallergenic and pH-balanced.
As you may already know, “hypoallergenic” is propaganda. The FDA doesn’t enforce any particular standard that companies have to meet to use this word.
On the other hand, I took a look at the label.
Besides pineapple and papaya extracts, it has jojoba seed oil, aloe, ginger, vitamin E, and glycerin, among other things.
Some of these are certified organic.
Plus, I didn’t see any of the no-no’s like parabens.
Free & Clear Liquid Cleanser
The go-to product for people with sensitive skin is right here.
If you’re allergic to just about everything, and you have trouble with scents, check it out.
Free & Clear is made to be used on your face and body. It’s okay for kids, too.
There are eleven ingredients on the label, starting with purified water and glycerin.
None of them are dyes, fragrances, masking fragrances, parabens, formaldehyde, sulfates, betaines, or gluten.
First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser
Get First Aid for your face. It calms red, irritated, and dry skin. Then it leaves it smooth and soft.
This is a creamy cleanser that lathers up nicely when mixed with water.
The magic inside comes from aloe, allantoin, glycerin, licorice root, white tea, and feverfew.
It’s free of artificial fragrances, dyes, parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, sulfates, formaldehyde, drying alcohols, and more. It’s also vegan and doesn’t contain nuts, gluten, oils, and soy.
ACURE Brightening Cleansing Gel
ACURE’s gel cleanser contains several organic ingredients like açai, blackberry, and calendula.
For a face wash, it’s surprisingly rich in antioxidants and nutrients for your skin.
It doesn’t just wash away impurities and makeup; it also repairs damage and moisturizes. If you’re concerned about melasma, I’d give it a try.
Plus, it does all that without parabens, sulfates, or formaldehyde.
Aveeno Ultra-Calming Hydrating Gel Facial Cleanser
Aveeno’s face cleanser lathers away makeup and dirt without dehydrating the skin.
It has calming feverfew to reduce redness.
But there’s no Aveeno product that lacks oats, right? Of course not!
This one has oat extract to soothe irritation and help your skin stay hydrated.
It’s free of soap, artificial fragrances, and parabens.
Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Daily Facial Cleanser
In 2014, Neutrogena won the Insider’s Choice Beauty Award for this product. It also has the National Eczema Association Seal of Approval.
In other words, if you’re looking for a face wash from a recognized brand that’s gentle enough for sensitive skin, here’s a good choice.
The cleanser has a creamy texture that can remove makeup and excess oil without drying out your face.
It doesn’t have fragrances, parabens, soap, or oils.
What it does have is something called a “polyglycerin formula.” This makes it ultra-hydrating and good for eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea.
Era Organics Natural Moisturizing Face Wash
If you’d like an antibacterial soap, but you know it’s bad for you, try this face wash instead.
It’s naturally antimicrobial as it contains Manuka honey.
The formula helps heal blemishes and damaged skin with organic aloe, Vitamin E, and cehami.
Additionally, it comes with a sixty-day money-back manufacturer guarantee.
Oh, did I mention that it’s free of sulfates, fragrances, and parabens? It also wasn’t tested on animals.
DERMA E Sensitive Skin Cleanser
There’s something in this cleanser that makes it stand out from the rest.
It’s packed with antioxidants from green tea and Pycnogenol. I had no idea what this latter thing was until I looked at the label.
It turns out that each ingredient is explained there. This one comes from the bark of the pine tree.
Antioxidants are essential for skincare. They repair damage caused by environmental pollution and ultraviolet radiation. Otherwise, without antioxidants, you’d end up with more wrinkles and discoloration.
Obviously, all the antioxidants in the world can’t replace a good sunscreen.
To continue, the cleanser is fragrance-free and pH-balanced. It’s designed to leave your skin feeling smooth and soft and refreshed.
Simple Water Boost Micellar Facial Gel Wash
Simple also makes a gel wash with micellar water.
Micellar water removes impurities and excess oil without causing harm to the skin.
The gel texture makes it straightforward to use.
Happily, this product is free of phthalates, parabens, drying alcohols, artificial colors, and fragrances.
Vichy Pureté Thermale One Step Cleanser for Sensitive Skin
Vichy is a brand you’ll find in European pharmacies. You’ll pay more for it, but it’s worth it.
This cleanser removes makeup and cleanses your face in one step.
It has an ingredient called Captelae. It comes from shea, and it’s naturally detoxifying.
Moreover, the formula is made for sensitive skin. It’s free of parabens and alcohols and tested against common allergies.
Eau Thermale Avene Extremely Gentle Cleanser
The Avene face cleanser doesn’t need to be rinsed.
It’s a gel-like lotion that lets you wipe off makeup and dirt with a cotton pad.
It’s handy if you go camping or need to freshen up on the go. Additionally, it won’t sting your eyes.
Conversely, you can also rinse it. In fact, they recommend rinsing if you have extremely sensitive skin.
There are very few ingredients, and none of them include dyes, parabens, or fragrances.
I’m happy you dropped by today to look for face washes that are safe for use during pregnancy.
I spent a lot of time researching to make sure I found the best skincare products for expectant mothers.
I wish you all the best with your upcoming adventure. And I hope you’ll take the time to leave us a comment below.
1. https://www.parents.com/pregnancy/complications/health-and-safety-issues/12-cosmetic-ingredients-to-avoid-during-pregnancy/ accessed January 20, 2020
2. https://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-life/beauty/pregnancy-skincare-whats-safe-for-face-and-body/ accessed January 20, 2020
3. https://globalnews.ca/news/3383851/11-skincare-ingredients-to-avoid-during-pregnancy/ published April 17, 2017, accessed January 20, 2020