ask the beauty expert

Sound advice from beauty editor Rebekah George


[Q] Are anti-aging creams safe to use while I’m pregnant or nursing?

“When you’re pregnant or nursing, it’s best to use as few chemicals as possible,” says Elizabeth Goldberg, M.D., clinical instructor of dermatology at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City. That may mean making some changes to your normal beauty routine. If you’re pregnant, nursing or trying to get pregnant, you should avoid Accutane, a drug used to treat adult acne. Several studies prove it can cause serious birth defects. “Accutane is a member of a family of anti-aging drugs called retinoids, and it’s best to steer clear of products containing anything in this category, including Retin-A and Renova,” Goldberg says. There also are concerns that high doses of vitamin K may be linked to birth defects, so stick with anti-aging creams containing vitamin E, alpha-hydroxy acids and glycolic acids instead. Use over-the-counter products; they contain low doses of these ingredients (.5 to 2 percent), so they’re generally safe to use. That said, it’s best to avoid all chemicals during the first trimester, while the fetus is undergoing major developments. Instead, look for products with natural, plant-derived anti-aging ingredients like soy and green tea. Try: Dove Fresh Radiance Anti-Aging Moisturizer, $11, with green tea to even out skin tone; or Aveeno Positively Radiant Anti-Wrinkle Cream (below), $14, with soy to improve texture.

>> If you have a safety-related beauty concern or want to find the best products for you, send your questions to Ask The Beauty Expert c/o Fit Pregnancy, One Park Avenue, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10016, or e-mail us at