Makeup Tips for Skin Changes During Pregnancy

From the WebMD Archives

Radiant. Glowing. That's the look you want during pregnancy. We’ve got you covered. These expert tips will help show off your features and hide problem areas so your beauty shines through.

Skin Discoloration

Seeing dark spots? These will probably fade away after pregnancy, but why wait? Here’s how to cover up splotchy color and create an even complexion.

  • Go with yellow. Choose a concealer with a yellow undertone, says Ramy Gafni, a New York City makeup artist. “Yellow-based concealer and foundations are more corrective and natural looking than pink-based.”
  • Blend in dark spots. A highly pigmented concealer or foundation stick can even your skin tone. "Apply it on just the dark patches, not your entire face,” Gafni says. If you need more coverage, add liquid foundation on top of it, everywhere on your face.
  • Halt the progress. Exfoliating with a product containing lactic acid, glycolic acid, or vitamin C may help you from getting pigment on the skin, says Diane Madfes, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. But don’t overdo it. Once or twice a week is plenty.
  • Cosmetics concerns. Your makeup routine shouldn’t need to change during pregnancy. While lead in lipstick made some news headlines in the past, the FDA says the amount of lead does not pose safety concerns. If you have any concerns, talk to your dermatologist or nix the makeup during pregnancy.


Don’t let an acne flare-up take away from your healthy, maternal glow while you’re pregnant.

  • Build up and blend. Start with a foundation that’s an exact match for your skin tone. Choose a product with buildable coverage, like a part-liquid, part-powder foundation. It will cover acne without drawing attention to it like heavier makeup can. “You don’t want too much makeup on your skin. It’s important to blend it out,” Gafni says.
  • Set and de-shine. A layer of translucent powder can help keep your makeup in place. "Oil-free is ideal. Look for a matte formula. You don’t want a powder that has light reflectors or shimmer because they’ll make you look shinier,” Gafni says.
  • Shift the focus. Divert attention from a pimple. If the blemish is on your upper cheek area, play up your lips. If your acne is near your lips, shift the attention to your eyes with more dramatic color.
  • Minimize it. To minimize acne, you might try an over-the-counter exfoliant and topical chemical peel with glycolic or lactic acid. These ongoing treatments keep acne at bay.
  • Hands off. You may be tempted to pick at your pimples to make them less noticeable, but it can make things worse. “You don’t want to scar, so don’t pick,” Madfes says.


Oily or Dry Skin

If pregnancy hormones have made your skin super dry or extra oily, makeup can balance it out.

  • Start with a good foundation. Have dry skin? Create a perfect canvas with a custom blend of moisturizer and foundation, suggests Petra Strand, a Santa Barbara, CA, makeup artist and creator of Pixi cosmetics. Here’s how: Mix one part oil-free moisturizer with one part oil-free foundation for a subtle veil of color that keeps skin fresh and shine-free.
  • Puff it out. To reduce shine, tap a gentle, translucent powder onto oily spots. “Don’t sweep the powder with a brush. Invest in a latex sponge, take a little powder onto the sponge, and roll the sponge across the shiny parts of the skin,” Strand says. This lets the powder absorb the extra oil while creating a seamless finish.
  • Keep things moist. If you have oily or dry skin, keeping your skin properly hydrated can decrease flakiness and prevent shine. Opt for products with shea butter, omega-3, or omega-6 fatty acids.

Puffy, Tired Skin

Pregnancy can make you tired, and that can show in your skin. Your skin may lose its luster. Your face and eyelids may look puffy, especially during the third trimester. The culprit? Your super-charged blood flow. If you also notice a sudden weight gain, call your doctor.

Here are other tips to feel beautiful during pregnancy.

  • Cool it off. “An old Hollywood trick to reduce puffiness is to fill your sink with ice and water, and dip your face in. The cold water will tighten your skin and reduce swelling,” Gafni says. Or keep a bottle of aloe vera gel in the fridge and apply it as a moisturizer, he says.
  • Soothe it. Try moisturizers with calendula and oatmeal, which are anti-inflammatory and remove redness. Witch hazel-based toners also help calm puffiness.
  • Perk it up. Try a water-based tinted moisturizer and cheek gel, which hydrate as they add color. “Switch to a waterproof mascara and eyeliner,” Strand says, so they don’t smudge.

Stretch Marks

While your stretch marks won’t completely vanish after pregnancy, here are some tricks to help you mask them.

  • Tan them. Sunless tanning lotion may help cover up stretch marks. Apply the tanner to the marks to help them match the skin around them.
  • Blend them. “To cover stretch marks, use liquid or stick foundation that perfectly matches your skin tone,” Gafni says. Apply it to the entire area, not just on stretch marks. “The uniformity of the product will make the stretch marks blend in and become less noticeable.”
WebMD Feature Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on September 24, 2013



University of Rochester Medical Center: “Health Encyclopedia: Pregnancy and Skin Changes.”

Andrea Cambio, MD, Cambio Dermatology, Cape Coral, FL.

Ramy Gafni, makeup artist, New York.

Diane Madfes, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology, Mount Sinai Hospital, NY.

Petra Strand, makeup artist, Santa Barbara, CA.

Tunzi, M. American Family Physician, January 2007.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: “Skin Conditions During Pregnancy.”

Reviewed on September 27, 2013

© 2013 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.


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