Skincare in pregnancy: actives to avoid and safe alternatives

Pregnancy is a crucial period for both mother and unborn baby. it is usually a personalized and individual experience because while some women describe it as magical, others confess it can be a lot and overwhelming. Because it is also a period when a woman’s body would be raving with so many hormones, it may begin to manifest on the skin and as such, many women seek intervention. 


Dermatological conditions such as acne and hyperpigmentation are very common and are usually of great concern. The only difference in approach to treatment is understanding that as a pregnant woman, the unborn child is also put into consideration as products typically get absorbed into the skin and into the system, crossing the placenta to reach the baby. For this reason, extra care and caution are to be taken while choosing products so as to ensure the safety of mother and child.

Some skincare actives have been proven to be harmful to the fetus and should be avoided by pregnant women:

Chemical sunscreen
Benzoyl peroxide
Salicylic acid
Essential oils
Aluminum chloride

Whenever you’re trying to buy a product, or trying to treat a skin condition while pregnant, it’s important to look at the list of active ingredients to make sure none of these actives were used in making the product you intend buying.


It is very important to take note of these actives because they get absorbed by the skin, get into the system, and can cross the placenta and get to the fetus. When this happens, the toxicity of the actives affects the growth and development of the baby at different stages, and can lead to abnormalities and congenital defects. These ingredients should also be avoided immediately after giving birth, especially for breastfeeding mothers. It should only be continued when it poses no harm to the baby, which will be after pregnancy and lactation.

To protect the unborn baby and also care for the skin, as well as treat skin conditions associated with pregnancy, there are safe alternatives to explore. Due to the increase of hormonal levels during pregnancy, expectant mothers tend to experience dryness of skin, acne on the face and body, and a type of hyperpigmentation called melasma – where there are dark patches on the cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin. Some women also notice darkening of the abdomen which can also be of great concern. These issues are usually treated with actives that treat acne, stimulate collagen production, and actives that lighten the skin. But some of them (listed above), are harmful to use in pregnancy.

Here are safe alternatives to look out for in the products intended to tackle these skin conditions in pregnancy:

For hyperpigmentation;
Vitamin C
Lactic acid
Glycolic acid
Ferulic acid
Polyhydroxy acid (PHAs)
Mineral sunscreen (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide)

For acne/pimples;
Azelaic acid
Glycolic acid

For hydration;
Hyaluronic acid
Snail mucin
Aloe vera

At Misté Skin, our brightening essence serum contains Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Ferulic acid and is a safe treatment for hyperpigmentation during pregnancy and nursing. The Ultra hydration serum contains Hyaluronic acid, Aloe vera, Peptides and Ceramides, serving as a great moisturizing treatment for skin dryness or/and dehydration.

Some professional/cosmetic skincare treatments to try out

Some professional/cosmetic skincare treatments to try out

Skincare is more than just using products and drinking water, so if you’re not caught on to what’s in vogue right now, you should keep reading.

Don’t get me wrong, products are great. They shouldn’t be underrated as they work great when used right. The only thing of note here is that, there’s only so much topical products can do. Their effects are limited due to the nature of how it’s applied and factoring in the various barriers the layers of the skin presents when it comes to permeability.

There is also the time factor. For instance, treating hyperpigmentation with topical products alone will take up tp 3 to 6 months, but it becomes faster when professional treatment comes in. There are also certain skin concerns that topical products do little to nothing to alleviate because they require a more intense care, or higher concentrations of/certain active ingredients that has to be handled by professionals. They are less invasive than surgery and would greatly improve the look and feel of your skin.

Overall, in the pyramid of skincare, it is required that these treatments be included in your regimen at least once a month to 6 months, and then yearly visits to the dermatologist.

What to know about the treatments:

1. Classic facial treatment – this is the most basic of treatments, and is the most common too. It usually involves cleaning up the face using steam, extractions and exfoliation. There’s facial massaging, cooling, as well as soothing moisturizers and even customized treatment serums, depending on the desired result or offers available. This treatment unclogs the pores, cleanses the face, and gives the skin a very radiant and glowing complexion immediately after. It is a great way to pamper and de-stress the skin to keep it healthy. It also helps tackle skincare concerns such as acne/pimples, dull skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, etc. Do this once a month to take your skincare regime up a notch.

2 Chemical peels – this treatment involves the use of exfoliating chemical solutions to dissolve and remove the damaged or dead top layer of the skin, revealing the newer and brighter skin underneath. Chemical peels ranges from mild to deep, and the perfect one for you depends on how severe the skin problem is. Even though both types of peels reduce fine lines and treat acne, mild or medium peels use AHAs and trichloroacetic acid with results lasting for few months, deep peels use stronger solutions like phenol acid and results last up to years. This treatment needs recovery time of days to weeks and is very important to use a sunscreen to protect the new skin.

3. Dermaplanning – This is an exfoliating treatment where a tool or a scalpel is used to to remove dirt and hair by scraping off the top layer of dead skin. This treatment makes the skin smoother and brighter as it helps soften fine lines, ease hyperpigmentation or uneven skin tone, and can help with scars too. Recovery time takes a few days and manual exfoliating and direct sunlight should be avoided days before and after the treatment.

4. Microneedling – this procedure is non-invasive procedure that involves pricking a numbed skin with tiny sterilized needles. The small pricks cause wounds on the skin which stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, for a younger looking skin once healed. It is an anti-aging treatment that also helps in treating scars, acne, enlarged pores, dark spots, stretch marks, and skin texture. it can take up to a week or 2 to heal and a number of treatments may be required to see changes.

5. Microdermabrasion – This is known as the sandpaper treatment. For this treatment, a device is used to apply tiny crystals on the skin and it mimics sanding the skin as if a sandpaper is being used. It is a simple procedure that helps remove skin imperfections on the top layer of the skin such as acne/pimples, age spots, enlarged pores, as well as reducing the appearance of fine lines and even stretch marks. It doesn’t require any recovery time as it is non invasive, but it may require a number of treatments to get desired results, depending on how severe the skin problem is.

6. Dermabrasion – This is an invasive treatment and should only be done by specially trained dermatologist or plastic surgeon. It is a surgical procedure that involves numbing the skin with local anesthesia and using a device to scrape away the top layer of the skin. The depth of the treatment depends on the severity of the skin problems. This procedure is used to treat scars and wrinkles, and it can be done in stages with more than one treatment in order to get desired results. There are side effects like pain and swelling, so recovery time is needed for healing and to see results.

7. Led light therapy and IPL photofacial – For this treatment, light therapy is used to improve the skin by promoting healing and helping skin cells to grow. The different colors of lights used have varying effects on the skin. They soothe inflammation, treat acne and sun damage, and stimulate the production of collagen. IPL rejuvenation is considered more effective because it delivers a very high energy to the skin, whereas, the led light uses lower energy and is a less intense therapy. This treatment requires regular application and there is no healing time.

8. Laser skin resurfacing – Laser therapy involves the use of pulsating beams of light to treat wrinkles, uneven skin tone, age spots, scars, and even stretch marks sometimes. This beam of light works by removing the outer layer of skin and heating up the deeper layer to promote collagen production, which strengthens the skin. The result is a smoother, firmer youthful skin. There are different types and forms but the results can last up to years, and recovery time depends on the type of laser therapy performed.

9. Dermal fillers – This type of treatment involves the use of skin friendly substances such as hyaluronic acid, being injected int the skin to fill up the areas in between skin tissue. Even you own fat can be used (liposuction would be required). The injection produce immediate results, with very minimal healing time, resulting in softened creases, fine lines, wrinkles, and deep folds. Most fillers dissolve in 6 to 18 moths and has to be redone to maintain results.

10. Botox injection – Botox involves paralyzing the muscles of the face by blocking certain nerves. This leads to minimal to no movement of the specific muscle underneath the skin that has been injected, and results to smoothening out of deep wrinkles, folds, and fine lines. This is a relatively fast procedure and requires little to no recovery time, the results lasts for several months.

In summary, please talk to an expert/professional and licensed personnel if you’re considering any of these treatments or procedures. Find out what works best for your skin type, skin condition and of course, your budget.

Why everyone should use a sunscreen and how to use it properly

Why everyone should use a sunscreen and how to use it properly

I know that every time you get on the internet and stumble into the skincare community, it seems like everyone is begging you to use sunscreen. We’re shoving it down your throat, and you don’t even think it’s necessary. But the thing is, it is. It is of utmost importance, and here’s why. The sun rays consist of UVA rays and UVB rays (the ozone layer absorbs UVC rays), and even though you can’t see them, they can see you always! Even on cloudy days and they even penetrate/ pass through glass.

How the sun rays damage the skin

The skin consists of the hypodermis (bottom layer), dermis (middle layer), and epidermis (top layer). The dermis houses the blood vessels, nerve endings, hair follicles, and glands. The epidermis comprises keratinocytes, melanocytes (pigment-producing cells), and Langerhans cells.

UVA rays have longer wavelengths that penetrate deeper into the skin’s dermis than UVB. UVA wavelengths have a lower frequency and so are less energetic. The epidermis and dermis absorb UVA radiation. Long wavelengths have low energy or frequency and are less intense; 95% of solar radiation is UVA, which is up to 50 times more prevalent than UVB. UVA affect the dermis, as well as collagen and elastin. It also causes DNA damage from free radicals and can cause skin cancer.
UVA is the dominant cause of hyperpigmentation, wrinkling, and premature ageing

UVB has shorter wavelengths and is stronger than UVA because it delivers more energy. The epidermis almost completely absorbs UVB. UVB is the main cause of sunburns, tanning, skin ageing, and skin cancers.

The sun rays go deep into the skin and trigger the melanin-producing cells to produce excessive melanin, leading to hyperpigmentation that will appear as the sunburns imminent parts of the body in contact with the sun, such as the cheeks near the eyes. This also seems post-inflammatory after an injury to the skin, such as acne/pimples or trauma.

The sun rays also break down the elastin and collagen (proteins) in the skin. This makes the skin lose elasticity and start to sag and age prematurely. These proteins also uphold the pores of the skin. When they break down, the pores ‘gape opens’ and enlarge, making it easy to get themed, resulting in breakouts. It worsens acne and promotes its development.

The sun rays also generate free radicals in the skin, which further breaks down the proteins in the skin.

Healthy Habits for the Skin
Preventative measures for the skin include avoiding the sun and wearing protective clothing, hats, shades, and sunscreen. This is the best basic protection for the skin.

Helpful tips for using physical sunscreen-
1. Wear a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 daily.
2. Avoid the sun at peak hours, 10-4.
3. Use the right amount. 2 fingers full, not a pea-size. Be very generous with the application for full coverage and adequate protection.
4. Apply sunscreen every 2-3hrs throughout the day and after swimming.
5. Use broad-spectrum and high SPF (30 and above)to filter out UVA and UVB rays.
6. Remove/wash off the sunscreen at the end of the day. It shouldn’t be used at night, as it clogs the pores.
7. Wear sunscreen even while at home. The sun’s rays penetrate glass.
8. Use anti-oxidants to buffer the effects of the free radicals generated by the sun rays and support sunscreen in offering protection to the skin.

What’s the difference between skin brightening, skin lightening, and skin whitening?

Understanding the difference between getting glowing skin, toning the skin, and skin bleaching.

As someone into skincare, you’ve probably come across these terms in skincare. Coupled with the fact that skin color is a big discussion in Nigeria, as well as most country with black people. I want to explain these terms thoroughly so there’s a good understanding, and also tackle the issue of skin bleaching.

Also, we all want a beautiful and radiant skin as this helps us feel more confident. And like every other thing in life, you need to be intentional about it. You have to care for your skin, or treat it so as to get certain results.

In skincare, we have brightening and lightening active ingredients that can be used to achieve this. However, the way they are used makes all the difference.

Skin brightening focuses on restoring dull-looking skin. Products used target giving the skin a radiant glow and making the skin vibrant and healthy-looking.

Skin lightening is mostly focused on reducing pigmentation, or preventing excessive production of melanin. That is, treating discolorations and hyperpigmentation and evening out the skin tone.

Skin whitening is basically changing the natural tone/complexion of the skin. Bleaching the skin involves using aggressive methods to entirely stop the process of melanin production in other to achieve a lighter skin tone.

Now that we have an understanding of each, let’s discuss how each work.

Skin brightening is the revival of dull skin by restoring its glow and radiance, using brightening actives that will help get rid of the dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. Skin brighteners remove the old skin cells that makes the skin look dull, in order to reveal a radiant and glowing skin, keeping the skin vibrant and bright.

Brightening the skin is safe and should be incorporated into your daily skincare routine, to ensure effectiveness. It is important to note that it has to be continuously done in order to maintain results, so that the skin doesn’t loose its radiance and luster.

To brighten the skin, seek out products that contain:

  • Alpha-hydroxyl acids such as lactic acid, glycolic acid, mandelic acid etc.
  • Beta hydroxyl acids such as salicylic acid.
  • Niacinamide
  • Azelaic acid
  • Vitamin C
  • Retinol

Skin lightening involves using actives that inhibit or reduce the production of melanin by the skin cells. Melanin is the dark pigment produced by the skin, and if secreted in excessive amounts, it causes darkening – hyperpigmentation.

Skin lightening is used to treat dark spots and to remove blemish, to even out areas of the skin with uneven skin tone due to discoloration. It does not involve bleaching and is not harmful.

Skin lightening is very beneficial if you’re treating acne and want to get rid of the post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that follows. Or sunburn/sun damage. Or freckles. Or melasma from pregnancy.

Like skin brightening, it has to be maintained, as the skin will keep producing pigments, especially after a trigger.

To lighten dark areas of the skin, or even out skin tone, look for these actives:

  • Alpha-Arbutin
  • Kojic acid
  • Vitamin C
  • Tranexemic acid
  • Retinoids
  • Glutathione
  • Licorice
  • Rucinol

Skin whitening is bleaching the skin with harsh and harmful chemicals and ingredients as well as painful procedures, to achieve a skin tone shades lighter than the natural skin color from birth. Dangerous chemicals and very high concentrations of lightening actives ingredients are used to completely stop the natural process of melanin production in the skin. The result is a lighter skin complexion but damaged skin cells, hardened skin tissues and absorption of harmful substances into the body.

The body tries to get rid of these substances but ends up damaging the kidney, causing nephrotic syndrome and kidney injury. Due to the high amount of mercury used in these products, mercury poisoning is also common and can affect the fetus. Some of the ingredients used also promote severe darkening and thickening of the skin after long-term use. Skin cancer can also be a result of skin bleaching.

Just like every treatment, it is not a cure for a dark complexion, so it has to be used continuously to maintain results, which further worsens how harmful it is.

Bleaching is very harmful and unsafe. It also promotes colorism and should be avoided at all costs.

Harmful ingredients used to bleach the skin that us to be avoided:

  • Mercury
  • Steroids
  • Hydroquinone in high concentrations (more than 2%
  • Hydrogen peroxide

What else to keep in mind?

Remember, each treatment serves a different purpose and works differently, too. Skincare is a lifestyle. It can’t be a one time thing, as nothing is ever permanent. A treatment has to be maintained over time, so be consistent. Safety is of utmost importance, your skin is the largest organ of the body and should be well cared for.

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