Updated: 2019, Aug 1

Mother-to-be? Anti-Wrinkle Ingredients to Avoid During Your Pregnancy

Mother-to-be? Anti-Wrinkle Ingredients to Avoid During Your Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an incredible experience, and every mother-to-be wants to be graceful, and age beautifully years after having a baby, no one wants the wrinkles and fine lines that come with growing old. As much as anti-wrinkle creams go a long way to reducing the signs of aging, some contain ingredients that can turn this beautiful experience into a sour one for expectant mothers.

Retinoid, Resveratrol and Salicylic Acid, are ingredients an expectant mother must keep note of before and during the pregnancy period. It is found in some anti-wrinkle creams and should be entirely avoided during pregnancy because they pose a threat to the unborn child. In fact, most doctors advise women in childbearing age not use products or medications with these ingredients.


It has been proven that there is a connection between developing babies born with congenital defects and the use of Retinoid. Doctors advise patients to halt its use if pregnant or better, totally avoid it before getting pregnant.

Retinoids are found in prescriptions used for the treatment and control of wrinkles as well as acne, they are found in Retin- A and Accutane. It is derived synthetically from Vitamin A. On the stickers of products; they are listed as retinoic acid, retinaldehyde, retinyl palmitate, tretinoin, adapalene, isotretinoin, and tazarotene.

Skin Ingredients info

There exist three generations of retinoids, the first, the second, and the third generations:

  • Tretinoin (retinoic acid), isotretinoin, retinol, retinal and alitretinoin falls under the first generation.
  • Etretinate and acitretin( a metabolite of etretinate ) also form the second generation.
  • The third generation constitutes tazarotene, adapalene, and bexarotene.

Isotretinoin and tretinoin are related but different, their mode of applications vary, Isotretinoin is taken orally, and tretinoin is applied topically. When larger amounts isotretinoin reaches the fetus it causes great harm to the baby; they may have abnormalities such as eye and ear defects, mental retardation, and cleft lips, its use during the first trimester causes more harm, even in minute quantities. Common deficiencies that may occur as a result includes undersized jaws, fluid build-up in the skull leading to swollen brain and small heads and brains, due to tretinoin relationship with isotretinoin it better to avoid them due to the defects that result.

Prescription and OTC drugs have been put into five categories. These are A, B, C, D, and X. In topical form, Retinoid falls under Category C drugs based on the classification by FDA, under this category it has been clearly stated that enough research has not been done to determine the safety of these drugs, meaning its best to avoid them. The good news here, however, is that guidelines have been made available about specific Category C drugs that should be avoided entirely during pregnancy and tretinoin which falls under the first generation Retinoid is on this list.
When retinoid is applied topically there is some interaction with tretinoin; its side effects are exaggerated. Despite the fact that low amounts of tretinoin reach the fetus after traveling through the skin to the bloodstream it is still advisable to avoid it as the less tretinoin used, the lower the risk of harming the baby. Risks of harming the baby are higher in the first trimester because that is when the organs are forming.

The caution does not end after having a successful delivery since most drugs can travel into breast milk. It is not a known fact if tretinoin passes into a lactating mother’s breast, but a lot of caution must be exercised at this stage as well since there is a possibility.


About Red Wine Resveratrol

A lot of good has been said about red wine because of the single ingredient resveratrol. Research has proved that it contributes towards overall heart health, resveratrol however also makes an appearance in anti-aging creams. A study done on mice showed it slowed aging. It is better to refrain from it as it can lead to abnormalities in the fetus. Though it offered benefits in the area of metabolism for pregnant women, it caused some defects in the development of the pancreases of the fetus. As to how this happens, the research doesn’t come with any facts.

Salicylic Acid (Beta Hydroxy Acid or BHA)

BHA is present in most anti-wrinkle creams; it is also a common ingredient in exfoliates and acne products. There have been situations where complications have arisen as a result of pregnant women taking aspirin. Salicylic acid is part of the aspirin family. As to whether the topical application may cause complications, is not known, but It is advised to avoid it so that as an expectant mother you can live without the risks of having complications.


The pregnancy journey as a whole requires a lot of precaution; care must to taken regarding products and medications used either topically or orally. It is best to stick with skin care products that have been certified as safe for pregnancy. Seek a doctor’s advice before using any drugs which you have little knowledge of as the do’s and don’ts about pregnancy keeps changing and a physician is always up to date with these modifications.


Dr. Ahmed Zayed

Dr. Ahmed Zayed Helmy holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree in 2011 at the University of Alexandri

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