Pregnancy is full of sacrifices: coffee, alcohol, energy. But there’s no need to add stellar skin to the list. While skin care ingredients like retinol, the gold standard in anti-aging, should be avoided during pregnancy (some prescription treatments are associated with spinal and/or facial deformities in a growing fetus), there are others that can do the job just as well, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Here, some skin-smoothing retinol alternatives—that don’t compromise your baby’s safety.
Related: 7 Beauty Products for Pregnant Women
Turns out, soy is comparable to retinoic acid (retinol's more aggressive relative) in its effect on skin’s collagen-forming fibroblasts (without the known dryness of little Miss R), says a recent study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science. Think of fibroblasts as your skin’s collagen engine, and soy extracts as the oil that keeps it running, says Dr. Zeichner. One caveat: Soy’s estrogen-like effects can sometimes make pigmentation worse if you have dark skin or melasma (patches of tan to dark skin on the face that sometimes develop during pregnancy).
Try: Aveeno Positively Radiant Intensive Night Cream, $17 (The estrogen-like component is removed from Aveeno products, making it safe for all skin types, Dr. Zeichner notes.)
Related: Is Soy Safe During Pregnancy?
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