Sunbathing during pregnancy - What creams should I use?

Pregnancy is probably making you rethink many things in your daily routine. For example, whether your personal care routine for face, hair and skin care is safe. No question about it, sunbathing during pregnancy is one of the questions I get quite often. This is because lount sunscreens have received some allegations about the existence of some dangerous ingredients they may contain. Let's see what science and scientific societies have to say about it. 

My name is Sebastian Podlipnik and I am a dermatologist at the Hospital Clínic in Barcelona.. I am largely involved in the treatment of skin cancer patients, so I believe that photoprotection is very important.

Cover of the blog Tomar sol embarazo showing a pregnant woman with the sun in the background.

What will I talk about in this post?

Why do I need to protect my skin from the sun during pregnancy?

Protection from the sun's rays is especially important during pregnancy, when skin tends to be more sensitive than usual and hormones can induce pigmentation. Sunscreen will not only protect you from premature aging and skin cancer, but also from many conditions. that can cause hyperpigmentation and can be aggravated by the sun.

A very frequent cause of hyperpigmentation during pregnancy is facial chloasma. (or pregnancy spots). Due to the hormonal changes of pregnancy, brown spots can begin to appear on the face and are aggravated by sun exposure. Therefore, it is very important to look for safe and effective options to protect yourself.

Finally, some studies have suggested that there may be a link between increased UV rays and folic acid deficiency in the baby. This is because UV rays, when pregnant sunbathing, can break down folic acid which is very important in the development of the baby's neural system (brain and spinal cord), which is formed during the first trimester of pregnancy (weeks 1 to 13).Quote

Sunbathing during pregnancy - What do the scientific societies say?

The American Academy of Dermatology is very clear that the sun protection is necessary to protect the skin from sunburn, premature aging and all types of skin cancer.. It is therefore not recommended to sunbathe during pregnancy.Quote

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also encourages pregnant women to continue to use the sun protection, as it can help to reduce dark spots skin disorders known as melasma.Quote

Recommended sun protection creams for pregnant women

Luckily, there are dozens of safe and effective sunscreen options. Here's what you need to know about sunscreens to use when you're pregnant. 

During pregnancy you should look for broad-spectrum sunscreens, offering protection against UVA and UVB rays. Make sure they also have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Choose those labeled "water-resistant," even if you don't plan to take a dip.

The products whose active ingredient is zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxidealso called mineral or physical sunscreens, are a good choice for pregnant women, as they are hypoallergenic and settle on the skin rather than being absorbed by it. 

However, it's important to remember not to worry too much about the individual ingredients in sunscreens, despite what you may have heard or read. If you're not sure whether a particular sunscreen is safe during pregnancy, check the label and talk to your doctor.

In addition, nowadays the trend to look for an ideal sunscreen should not only stay in that it can block UV rays, but that it meets a number of characteristics. In this list I have chosen products that are cruelty free and reef friendly. 

Facial sun creams for pregnant women

Pregnant woman sunbathing on the beach

My favorites

Body sun creams for pregnant women

pregnant woman sunbathing on the beach

My favorites

  • AVENE intense protectNew formula with reduced concentration of sunscreens and silicone free. Suitable for pregnant women and babies from 6 months of age.
  • Thinksport mineralMineral filters: good choice of mineral filters designed for the body. 

More tips for sun care during pregnancy

If you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors during pregnancy, protect yourself from the sun by taking the following measures:

  • Try to stay indoors during the sunniest hours, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., if possible.
  • Stay in a shaded area whenever possible when outdoors, especially when the sun is at its hottest. 
  • Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours.
  • Apply a lip balm or lipstick with an SPF of 30 or higher to the lips.
  • Try to cover as much skin as possible and choose light clothing made of cotton or other breathable fabric. You can even look for clothing with sun protection. 
  • Don't forget to wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, if possible blocking 99% UVA and UVB rays.

Remember, you don't have to stay home just because you're pregnant. By all means, go out and have fun! But be sure to make sun protection a priority.

UVA rays during pregnancy

As I mentioned earlier, pregnant women have more sensitive skin, so they are more prone to sunburn, especially with tanning booths. In addition, the Direct and prolonged exposure to UV rays also carries the risk of overheating or heat stroke for both you and the fetus.

Sunbeds emit ultraviolet rays, which is the same type of harmful radiation found in sunlight. Tanning with a sunbed is not safer than doing it in the sun and may even be more harmful. For example, many sunbeds emit higher doses of UV rays than the midday Mediterranean sun. Therefore, exposure to UV rays from sunbeds may increase the risk of developing melanoma, which is the most serious form of skin cancer..

Final words

I hope you have learned why it is important not to sunbathe during pregnancy and especially not to use tanning booths. 

The sun protection is important for everyone, including pregnant women. It helps protect the skin from all types of skin cancer, premature aging, wrinkles, dark spots and burns.

Sunscreens are regulated by the FDA. The safest ingredients are minerals, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide..

There are several excellent sunscreens that can provide safe protection for your skin and your baby's skin during their critical early developmental stage. It is important to use these sunscreens regularly. 

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Sebastian Podlipnik - Skin cancer

Sebastian Podlipnik

Dermatology Blog

I am a dermatologist and cum laude MD and author of multiple research studies. I specialize in skin cancer, laser technologies and cosmetic dermatology. The intention of this blog is to bring you closer to topics of interest in dermatology and research.

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