Retinol Use During Pregnancy: Risks and Alternatives

When it comes to skin care, there is a lot of information out there that can be overwhelming. One of the most common skin care treatments is topical retinol, which is used to reduce wrinkles and acne. However, when expecting a baby, some women may worry about its safety. While it is generally considered safe to use topical retinol during pregnancy, there are certain points when women should consider stopping its use before becoming pregnant. This blog post will discuss the key points for when to stop using topical retinol before pregnancy and how to safely transition to other skin care treatments.
It is important to understand that topical retinol can be absorbed through the skin, and as such, it is important to take extra precautions when considering its use during pregnancy. The main concern with using topical retinol during pregnancy is the potential risk of birth defects. While the amount of topical retinoid absorbed through the skin is much lower than if taken orally, the risk should

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Published online: October 2022.

This fact sheet addresses the use of topical tretinoin during breastfeeding and pregnancy. This information shouldn’t replace seeking medical attention or seeking your healthcare provider’s advice.

What is tretinoin?

My healthcare provider said that tretinoin is like isotretinoin. I’ve heard that it should not be used during pregnancy.

I use topical tretinoin. Can it make it harder for me to get pregnant? .

I currently use tretinoin, but I want to stop before getting pregnant. How long does it stay in my body? .

Does using topical tretinoin increase the chance of miscarriage?

Does taking tretinoin increase the chance of birth defects?

Does using tretinoin while pregnant increase the risk of developing additional pregnancy-related issues?

Is it safe to resume using tretinoin later in my pregnancy if I stop using it during the first trimester?

Does tretinoin use during pregnancy have an impact on the unborn child’s behavior or ability to learn?

Breastfeeding while using tretinoin:

Could a man’s use of tretinoin affect his ability to become fertile or increase the likelihood that his partner would give birth to a child with birth defects?

Tanning and self-tanner

Getting your fake tan on is deemed okay when pregnant. That’s because the active ingredient, dihydroxyacetone, is non-toxic and can’t move beyond the skin barrier. But what to avoid while breastfeeding? Refrain from using self-tanner around the breast area where your baby comes into contact with your skin. While these ingredients are not toxic to our skin, if applied to the breast the baby is exposed orally to the product and studies have suggested this can harm baby’s cell and organ development.

On the reverse end, tanning by sunbeds during pregnancy is a big no-no. Sunbeds may cause your body to overheat and the harmful UV rays are also found to break down folic acid which is extremely important for healthy development.


Can you use topical retinol while trying to get pregnant?

1 “If you’re trying to conceive, you want to avoid retinol and retinoids,” says Dr. Hartman. Studies show that retinol can harm a growing fetus. Retinol can pass through the skin and into the bloodstream, which can then pass to the fetus.

When should I stop using retinol when trying to conceive?


A miracle acne-treatment for some women, retinoic acid is available only from a doctor’s authorization. That is, until you’re trying to conceive, at which you should cease use and store away.

When should I stop taking topical retinoids during pregnancy?

Based on this suggestion for isotretinoin, it may be suggested to stop using tretinoin one month before trying to get pregnant. However, if you get pregnant by mistake during that month, the chances your use of tretinoin has harmed your baby are likely to be small.

What happens if you accidentally use retinol while pregnant?

The risks of using retinoids and possibly retinol during pregnancy include a condition called “fetal retinoid syndrome.” Specifically, this is a pattern of physical and mental birth defects that arise in direct relation to retinoids.

Retinol During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding? [DERM TIPS]

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