Like the ever-changing rules regarding food and alcohol consumption during pregnancy, there is no definitive list of skincare products banned during expectant months either. But there are some that are best avoided: 'Some topical ingredients get absorbed into the bloodstream, so there are some you want to avoid,' says Leslie Baumann, a professor of dermatology at the University of Miami.
Here is a list of those ingredients to watch out for:
Salicylic Acid (also known as BHA). This is often found in products for acne; medical practitioners agree it is safe when used in a wash-off cleanser but best avoided in masks and moisturisers that are left on the skin.
Retinoids (also known as retinol, retinoic acid, retin-A). A type of Vitamin A used to speed up cell turnover, these have been shown to be harmful to unborn babies when taken orally, but most doctors will recommend you cut them out topically too.
Soy. While this isn't harmful to your unborn child it can make Melasma (pigmentation and darkening of the skin during pregnancy) appear worse.
Some essential oils. Avoid these during the first 12 weeks and after that just be sure to check on the bottle whether they are safe to use during pregnancy. If you go for a beauty treatment, a reputable salon will ask whether you are pregnant and they will be able to vary the oils accordingly.
Soap. While this isn't dangerous it can dry your skin out. During pregnancy your skin stretches and if it's dry to boot it is likely to feel itchy and flaky. Try Elemis Skin Nourishing Milk Bath, £39.90, followed by a slathering of Bio Oil, £8.99 (boots.com).
Before you head out and buy a whole new skincare regime, check your existing products. Most will say if they are safe for use during pregnancy, if it's not clear contact the brand's customer services team direct.
It's always worth keeping in mind the ingredients that you should avoid. If you want to try any new skincare products during your pregnancy then you'll want to be prepared when you hit the beauty counter (although the sales people should know the suitability of the products or be able to check on your behalf). If there are still ingredients or products you're not sure about it's always best to consult your GP or midwife.
And remember there are great quality brands specifically designed for pregnant women out there including Mama Mio, Green Baby, Cowshed's Udderly Gorgeous range, Beauté de Maman, Boo Boo and Zita West which allow you to scrub and slather to your heart's content.