Trying to keep that pregnancy glow going postpartum, but worried about what ingredients are safe while breastfeeding? These are our top picks for skincare for breastfeeding moms.
Now that you’ve given birth, you might be wondering what products can you begin to use again, especially if you’re breastfeeding. As a new mom, you want to make sure you’re squeezing in some self-care while only using ingredients that are safe while breastfeeding. So we did the homework for you and curated a list of the best skincare products for breastfeeding moms currently on the market.
(FYI: This blog post contains affiliate links, meaning if you purchase a product through this post we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Also, please check with your doctor, midwife, or lactation consultant to ensure these products are safe for you as recommendations and ingredient lists can change frequently.)
Let’s dive in mamas. These are the top 8 best skincare products for breastfeeding moms. (And if you’re a first-time mom, don’t miss our best tips on becoming a breastfeeding pro ASAP.)
Best BB Cream
Protect and perfect your skin with this all-natural broad spectrum moisturizer/SPF combo with a subtle tint from Josie Maran.
Best Skincare Tool
Clarisonic Mia Prima is awesome for getting your skin squeaky clean without any harsh chemicals. The sonic vibrations help stimulate the skin for clearer and younger more vibrant looking skin without resorting to any of the normal acne or anti-aging chemicals.
Best Eye Treatment
Help those tired mama under-eyes with this chemical-free and natural Biossance Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel. An awesome splurge to smooth out any fine lines that are bugging you.
Best Exfoliating Serum
Want glowing skin that looks years younger after just a couple weeks of use? This is your jam then. If your skin is just… a little dull and needs a pick-me-up, try Herbivore Botanicals – Natural PRISM Exfoliating Glow Potion.
Best Anti-Aging Cream
Women are raving about this totally affordable and all-natural firming and moisturizing cream from Burt’s Bees. It smells amazing and the results are legit.
Best Overall Face Oil
You know that dewy, hydrated and super youthful look you see on a lot of 20-something’s skin lately? Youth To The People Superberry Hydrate and Glow Oil has helped the writer of this article (who is in her 30’s) get that look. It’s magic and feels so good on the skin. It is oil and not cream, so it takes getting used to for those who are not accustomed to it but works great on combination skin.
You probably watched labels like a hawk for those nine months of pregnancy, making sure everything that went in or on your body was safe for the little one growing inside of you. But if you are breastfeeding, you will also want to keep an eye out for ingredients that aren’t safe for your nursling too. Let’s take a look at the best skincare products for breastfeeding moms.
Just a quick note that even if you are not breastfeeding, you might consider cleaning up your skincare routine.
The ingredients in your skincare products may not be ingested by your baby via your milk, but I bet you are still kissing and touching your baby with your face countless times a day. What is in your skincare rubs off on them. So sticking with some clean skincare products for a while wouldn’t be a bad idea.
First, let’s take a look at ingredients that are safe and not safe to use while breastfeeding. But note that in many cases there have been no or very limited studies on whether certain ingredients are safe while breastfeeding.
This means that doctors are usually basing their recommendations off of information like whether a particular ingredient crosses from the skin, and into the blood. Then they consider what similar medications do when they pass into the blood and are then consumed by babies through breastmilk.
In some cases, doctors are able to say that an ingredient is very likely to be safe but they are not 100% sure, and in some, they can conclude that it is probable, not safe but check with your own doctor. This makes it a bit murky when determining the best skincare products for breastfeeding moms.
The bottom line is that you should always check back with your own doctor/midwife and pediatrician, plus do your own research if you are concerned. A great place to check the safety of any medication or treatment is usually called Lactmed. It’s a website database of how various drugs and chemicals interact with breastmilk and the effects on babies.
Most of the information in this article is sourced from Lactmed, which is considered the standard for such information by many breastfeeding advocates and lactation consultants.
What skincare ingredients to avoid while breastfeeding?
Are Retinoids safe while breastfeeding? What alternative skincare products for breastfeeding moms can you try?
There is a whole subset of skin care ingredients called “retinoids,” such as Retin-A, Retinol and Tazarotene. For the most part, you should steer clear of these while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Why are retinoids bad while breastfeeding? Mostly because we just can’t be sure they are safe. Some experts say that retinoids probably don’t cross into your milk when used topically, but o.
According to WebMD, Retin-A is mostly used as an anti-acne medication that is applied topically. It is recommended to never use it during pregnancy, and that it is unknown whether it actually crosses into breastmilk.
However, Dr. Jay Gordon answered this question on his website by stating that the oral version of Retin-A definitely crosses into your milk when ingested, but that the topical version is safe to use while breastfeeding.
Lactmed states that it is generally considered safe for topical use as it likely doesn’t cross into the blood in significant enough amounts to matter, but does note that “A review of adverse reaction reports on retinoids causing a breast reaction submitted to a French pharmacovigilance center found 1 case of gynecomastia was associated with topical tretinoin use.”
Retinol, which is used more for anti-aging, falls under the same family as Retin-A, though Retin-A is prescription and Retinol is OTC.
There is the same mixed advice when it comes to Retinol as Retin-A. While many consider it compatible with breastfeeding, many also say “why risk it?” Like this Miami Herald article.
What’s the best alternative to retinol?
We get it, giving up the retinol right when you’re hitting the age that some anti-aging ingredients might pack a good punch is rough. Fortunately a natural ingredient has been taking the skincare market by storm. Bakuchiol.
Is Bakuchoil safe?
This seemingly miracle ingredient is considered safe by many skincare and cosmetic companies, but of course you can always double check for yourself with a doctor or lactation consultant.
Is salicylic acid safe while breastfeeding?
This is another topical acne treatment, and it is generally considered to be safe while breastfeeding.
While there is not much info on the topical use of salicylic acid and breastfeeding, there is probably not much being absorbed by the skin. It is likely not much of the chemical is actually able to enter the bloodstream through the skin, posing little risk to breastfeeding babies.
It is noted that you will want to take care with allowing babies/toddlers to touch or lick areas where you use salicylic acid.
Can you use fragrances, parabens, and phthalates while breastfeeding?
The first on this part of the list, fragrances, refers to a wide range of ingredients that are used to basically make skin care products smell good. The problem with this is they are not required to individually list out many of the ingredients that are used as “fragrance.” At least in the US you really don’t know what is included under that one single word on the label.
Beyond any health concerns though, strong scents can be detrimental to breastfeeding because babies, especially newborns, use scent to help latch, nurse effectively, and feel safe. So strong smells could inhibit those instincts. Plus who wants fragrance overpowering that newborn or baby scent?
Now to Phthalates and Parabens…
These chemicals are found all over the place in anything from shampoo and hand soap to your skincare. Studies have shown that they can also be found in your breastmilk.
Phthalates are dissolving agents and parabens are a preservative used to stave off mold and bacteria. Both have been linked to disrupting hormones, and it is theorized that they might affect the healthy development of babies who are exposed to them by disrupting hormone production.
While you might want to consider cutting these out of your regimen for your own good, the fact that they show up in breastmilk is just another reason to rethink using products that contain these chemicals.
It is easier than ever to access quality (and affordable) products that don’t include parabens or phthalates. Just be sure the label specifically does not include them and isn’t just called a “natural” product.
As always, do your research and find skincare products for breastfeeding moms that you feel comfortable and safe with. Ingredients change, information and research changes, but this is a good start for what to look for and avoid in your skin care products while breastfeeding.
You've been breastfeeding your toddler for what feels like foreeeever, and you're ready to wean. But how? In this post, I'll break down some tips for how to wean a toddler from breastfeeding. I've put in a combined roughly 94 months of breastfeeding so far between my...
Want more breastfeeding tips? Find us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.facebookinstagrampinterest Got a stage 5 clinger who won't let go of your boob? Like your nipple feels like it's now permanently attached to your little squish? You've got a cluster feeder....
Want to give your breastfed baby a bottle, but worried about them starting to prefer the bottle over breast? Paced feeding is a great way to initiate bottle feeding, and I'll share how and why I chose paced feeding with my breastfed babies. I've breastfed for over 6...
Expecting twins and want to tandem breastfeed? There are so many questions, right? Like what are the logistics? What is the best way to breastfeed twins? I got you. Keep reading to find out how I made it work. Breastfeeding one baby can be an awkward learning curve,...
Planning to breastfeed? It can be tough, mama. But you're tough too. These newborn breastfeeding tips are what I found helped me the most in my 6+ years of breastfeeding. When you're just starting to breastfeed with your newborn, whether this is your first or tenth...