Pregnancy Safety

Is Sunscreen Safe During Pregnancy?

How do I care for my skin in the sun? Is SPF safe? Are there any ingredients I should avoid? Why?

It’s super-important to wear sun protection while you’re pregnant. Thanks to the hormonal rage going on inside your body right now (it is a rage, isn’t it?), the pigment-producing skin cells (melanocytes) react more strongly to the sunlight and cause chloasma (aka “the mask of pregnancy”), dark-brown splotches on your skin — and you want to look all glowy, not splotchy!

So while you’re pregnant, never leave the house without wearing sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Not all sunscreens are safe. Many chemical sunscreens can enter the bloodstream and could affect the fetus (exactly how is unknown, but many of them may affect estrogen levels), so avoid using anything with ingredients like oxybenzone, homosalate, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor, octocrylene and para-aminobenzoic acid. These chemicals can also irritate your sensitive skin and can cause allergic reactions.

Instead, use physical or mineral blocks, which are safer options. These are the ones made with either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Just be wary of products that say they have micronized or nano-sized particles of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are smaller than a lot of the chemical molecules and might be easily absorbed into the body. They’re very new to the market, and there’s not enough research out there yet to really prove they’re safe to use during pregnancy.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Is spray-tan safe during pregnancy?

Top 6 Annoying Pregnancy Skin Issues (and How to Deal)

Skin Changes During Pregnancy

By Melissa Schweiger and Annette Rubin, coauthors of Belli Beautiful: The Essential Guide to the Safest Health and Beauty Products for Pregnancy, Mom and Baby