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Skincare While Breastfeeding

What's allowed and what's still off-limits (ish)

Jordan Harper holding her two newborn babies

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The Do's and Don't's During Lactation

After months of sharing your body, you finally have a baby (or babies!) in your arms. Congrats mama, and welcome to the fourth trimester—where your chest feels like it’s going to explode, either you or the baby is leaking 24/7, you are surviving on power naps and dry shampoo, your hormones and skin are a raging wreck just like in early pregnancy, and just when you thought you can get back to your skincare routine, even that feels just as confusing as ever! Bless it all.

This Skincare School chat briefly covers our stance on what gets the all-clear while breastfeeding, then we will break it down further.


Products Recommended for Use While Breastfeeding

Products in Question While Breastfeeding

    • Products with more than 10% glycolic acid (Glow Peel Pads are 15%)
    • Retinoids

The main problem with saying these products are “not safe” is that not all skincare ingredients have been tested in breastfeeding populations. We do know the past concern about retinoids and possible side effects during pregnancy and breastfeeding came primarily from an oral medication that was being absorbed into the body/blood steam. Since then, the general suggestion from medical professionals has been to steer clear of retinoid usage during pregnancy to err on the safe side until deeper studies are done on this topic.

As for nursing, since topical retinoids mainly stay in the epidermis with poor absorption into the dermis and bloodstream, the Drug and Lactation Database has found transfer to the infant to be low risk. Therefore, we’re comfortable saying…

DO: Use a retinoid or high-percentage acid on the face, neck, upper chest, and backs on hands while breastfeeding.


DON'T: Apply on and around right where the baby will latch, ya feel us?!


The main concern being the retinoid or glycolic acid will be transferred to the infant’s skin and cause irritation. Always wash your palms thoroughly before loving on your little one to avoid transfer of product.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should ignore your mom instinct and do what you’re most comfortable with! Overachiever also acts as a great retinoid-alternative if you'd rather skip your retinoid usage during this stage. If you have any questions or concerns, always consult with your OB or child’s pediatrician. 

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