What makes sunscreen safe for pregnancy?
“Everyone should consider a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays and is SPF 30 or higher and water-resistant,” says Masterson. “Most importantly, one that you will wear and is easy and convenient to reapply. It doesn’t matter how good it is if you don’t put it on and reapply as needed. When you are pregnant, your skin may be slightly more sun-sensitive, and you always have to be concerned about the safety of the chemicals in products that you put on your skin and how they might affect your baby’s health.”
What ingredients should you look for in pregnancy-safe sunscreen?
“Sunscreens that are mineral-based, like zinc oxide and/or titanium oxide, are minimally absorbed and therefore are safer by acting as a physical barrier,” says Masterson. “The FDA has established them as generally safe. Pregnant skin can be more sensitive to chemicals, so a hypoallergenic sunscreen is recommended.”
Dr. Murad recommends looking for vitamin C, “a great ingredient for helping to brighten skin and boost collagen.” He adds: “It can help counteract any discoloration that can occur as a result of sun exposure and increased risk of hyperpigmentation during pregnancy. Any mineral SPF is also great for expecting mothers. In general, products containing azelaic acid, lactic acid, and hyaluronic acid are great for people who are pregnant, too.”
What are ingredients one should avoid?
“Avoid oxybenzone and PABA and trolamine salicylate, which is dangerous and illegal in sunscreen sold in the U.S.,” says Masterson.
“The FDA has created a labeling system called the Drug Facts label to help clearly communicate actives and inactive ingredients in the product,” adds Murad. “However, before using new products while pregnant, it’s important to check with your doctor to determine what will work best for you. Overall, I would recommend avoiding isotretinoin, hydroquinone, doxycycline, retinoids, and benzoyl peroxide.”
Is sunscreen more important during pregnancy?
According to Masterson, “During pregnancy, the skin can be more prone to hyperpigmentation, discolorations, and melasma due to pregnancy hormones.” She adds: “An extra layer of sun protection can help prevent and minimize this occurrence. It may take a while postpartum for these hormones to return to normal, so it continues to remain important.”
What about using sunscreen postpartum and while breastfeeding?
“Chances are you can continue to use the sunscreen that you used while pregnant, but you may also have more options so, again, consult your physician,” cautions Murad.