If you're anything like me, you've been slathering on SPF since you were a baby yourself. Nobody likes sunburns and skin cancer, right? And when everything else — from what you eat, to what you drive, to what you do in your free time — is questioned when you're pregnant, it's natural to wonder if this not-so-small part of your self-care regimen is safe. So what's the deal with sunscreen and pregnancy? Can you use SPF when you're pregnant?
The Skin Cancer Foundation tells us all why sunscreen is so important, saying:
Knowing the risks of not using sunscreen is important, regardless of whether or not you're growing another human being inside your body, but are there risks to pregnant women using sunscreen? The trusted people at Parents weigh in on this often broached question, saying that not only can you use sunscreen during pregnancy, but it's an absolute imperative. Pregnant people are not just vulnerable to undercooked fish, apparently, but they are also particularly vulnerable to sun damage. Parents goes on to explain, saying, "During pregnancy, pigment-producing cells called melanocytes kick into overdrive, making your skin more susceptible to discoloration (anything from freckles to melasma) when it's exposed to UV rays."
The experts at Parents recommend reapplying a zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (as opposed to chemical-based products) SPF 30 or higher every three hours, and considering investing in protective clothing that will keep your skin rom being exposed. The experts at What to Expect agree, saying:
But what about those of you who still really want a nice base tan? BabyCenter's dermatologist Sandra Johnson says that self-tanners can be a great alternative to spending a significant amount of time in the sun. Johnson calls most tanning lotions "harmless" dyes that sit on top of the skin, but she caution the use of spray tans whose chemicals can get into your lungs, or tanning beds which run the same skin cancer risk as the sun itself are not safe during pregnancy.