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Pregnancy Skin Care
Dr. Rubin & FamilyPregnancy is a life-altering experience, full of emotion, beauty, and meaning. It’s also a time of uncertainty, with a changing body, unique skin care issues, and heightened safety concerns.

Safety First
Did you know that until 1950, women had no idea that drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes during pregnancy could be harmful to their babies? That’s when doctors first realized that certain chemical exposures were linked to birth defects or miscarriage. As our understanding of teratology (the study of chemicals and birth defects) grows, we’re learning that the developing fetus can be affected by the food you eat, the air you breathe, and even the skin care products you use.

Some of the ingredients you put on your skin each day are absorbed into your bloodstream in small amounts. If you’ve ever used a medicated patch, you’ve seen first hand how this works. During pregnancy, chemicals in your bloodstream pass straight through to the fetal circulation. That’s a big concern because many ingredients have links to birth defects in published medical studies. A few common examples include: salicylic acid, glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide, butylene glycol, oxybenzone (sunscreen), aloe vera, and rosemary oil. Yes, even “natural” and “organic” ingredients are no guarantee of safety.

Teratology screening is a higher safety standard that avoids questionable skin care ingredients during pregnancy. It involves searching through all of the world’s published medical research, red-flagging ingredients with even remote links to birth defects or miscarriage, and replacing them with safer ingredient choices instead.

Belli is currently the only company in the world doing teratology screening of each pregnancy skin care product. We are proud to be the #1 recommended skin care brand by OB/Gyns, who view us as the medically responsible choice for their patients.

Be Prepared
The key to having healthy, beautiful skin throughout pregnancy is knowing which skin care issues to expect, and how to best prevent, comfort, or treat each concern.

The surge of pregnancy hormones in the first trimester leads to increased breakouts in one-third of women. Unfortunately, most over-the-counter acne treatments should be avoided during pregnancy because of links to birth defects. One ingredient that passes teratology screening cleanly is lactic acid, which is found naturally in plants and humans. This alpha hydroxy acid gently exfoliates the skin, and cleans out the clogged pores that can lead to acne formation.

Stretch marks
Stretch marks affect between 70-90% of pregnant women. They are strongly linked to your genetics but they also depend on your environment, which explains why you are more likely to have them if you gain excessive weight during pregnancy or if you’re having twins. Although no “miracle cures” exist, some ingredients have been shown in clinical studies to be effective. One published medical study on stretch mark prevention showed that twice daily use of three ingredients — Gotu Kola extract, Vitamin E, and Collagen Hydrolysates — decreased the risk of getting stretch marks by 39%.

Increased pregnancy hormones make the pigment producing skin cells (melanocytes) become hypersensitive to sunlight. Also known as “melasma,” the “mask of pregnancy,” this condition causes dark splotchy areas on the face and affects up to 70% of expecting women. It’s completely preventable with daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 25 or higher. Try also wearing large brimmed hats to help avoid sun exposure. For prenatal safety, look for the ingredients Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, which both pass teratology screening cleanly.

Dry, itchy skin
Skin can become dry and itchy when it stretches, and also during the winter months. Keeping your skin hydrated and comfortable requires a simple three-step strategy: 1) Use a gentle body wash that won’t strip your skin of its natural oils. 2) Exfoliate 1-2 times weekly to remove dry, dead, surface skin cells. 3) After showering, apply a deeply moisturizing body lotion to slightly dampened skin.

With a good prevention strategy and responsible choices, you can have glowing skin and peace of mind.

We are thrilled that our partnership with has allowed Belli Skin Care, the #1 OB/Gyn recommended brand, to be more accessible!

Jason Rubin, M.D., founding physician and medical director of Belli Skin Care, graduated from St. Louis University School of Medicine where he completed a residency program in Family Practice. Dr. Rubin’s interest in pre-natal safety led him to create the Belli Pregnancy Collection with his wife Annette in 2002. He is a member of both the Teratology Society and the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists.
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