Pregnancy is an enigma wrapped in a riddle. The symptoms and changes are as varied as the women that experience them. Even in the same woman, each pregnancy can vary completely from the last. As a mother-to-be, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the laundry list of things to avoid, meanwhile trying to combat and adapt to the changes happening within your body.

Skin care is no exception to this process. The increase and continual fluctuation of hormones can bring an onslaught of changes to your skin. Even women that have never been affected by skin difficulties can undergo drastic changes. Redness, acne, skin discolorations and patches, sensitivity, irritation, dryness, increased oiliness, breakouts, and itchiness can make for a frustrating nine months. Especially since the list of potentially harmful ingredients expecting women should avoid is extensive.

For obvious reasons, the study and testing of the effects ingredients can have on mothers and the babies they carry are very limited. Definitive answers to what’s safe and what isn’t are lacking, and many doctors err on the side of caution and recommend avoiding ingredients that could pose any harm to mother or child.

So where does that leave an expecting mother that still wants to care for her skin and feel confident during her pregnancy? The good news is there are still a number of natural ingredients that are approved by doctors as safe for pregnant women.

Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)

Aloe Vera has been known for its healing properties for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians considered the plant a sacred ingredient necessary for beauty, health, and immortality. Considering its far-reaching benefits its popularity as a natural ingredient isn’t really surprising. Composed of 95% water, aloe provides a host of amino acids, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, vitamin C, and vitamin B6, as well as folic acid, and four fatty acids.

With a unique composition, it can prevent moisture loss, improve the natural firmness of the skin, soothe rashes and irritations, and reduce inflammation. It is safe to use topically during pregnancy and can be applied directly to skin on its own or utilized in your skin care products.

Green Tea Seed Oil (Camellia oleifera)

Part exfoliant, part lubricant—green tea seed oil reduces flaking and improves the overall  appearance of skin. Derived from the seeds of the Camellia oleifera plant, this natural ingredient acts as a brilliant moisturizer while protecting skin from free radical damage. In addition, its astringent properties help fight acne and blackheads while serving as a pore minimizer. For those dealing with dryness and dullness, green tea seed oil is a wonderful ingredient for smoothing skin and boosting luminosity.

Chia Seed Oil (Salvia hispanica)

Packed with nutrient-rich fatty acids, Chia is a super source of omega-3. This additive stimulates collagen and elastin production in the skin, retaining moisture and reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Omega 3 fatty acids maintain powerful anti-inflammatory benefits and are a crucial part of your skin’s fat content; they bolster the barrier functions of your skin, sealing moisture in and fighting to keep irritants out.

If you’re experiencing redness and dry patches, Chia seed oil is an excellent ingredient to factor into your moisturizing regimen. Look for it as an element in face oil to keep your pregnancy skin healthy, radiant, and glowing.

Green and White Tea Leaf Extract (Camellia sinensis)

Tea polyphenols have natural astringent, toning, soothing, and anti-inflammatory properties and prevent the enzymes that attack and break down your body’s natural production of collagen and elastase. The antioxidants within green and white tea extract reduce oxidative stress to the skin, allowing it to remain protected while helping your skin look more radiant. For soft, dewy skin add a face serum with green and white tea leaf extract to your nightly routine.

 Jojoba Seed Oil (Simmondsia Chinensis)

Jojoba seed oil is a waxy substance that quickly absorbs into the skin. This nutrient-packed oil offers tons of benefits your skin will thank you for. Studies have shown that Jojoba provides long-lasting skin hydration for up to 24 hours. An impressive feat made even more so by the fact that its known for its ability to regulate your skin’s natural oil production. It’s the perfect ingredient to search for if your pregnancy glow happens to be overpowering your skin, as adding Jojoba to your routine will cut down on oiliness and aid in controlling acne.

Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid)

Vitamin C is a super element that skin adores. A collagen booster, Vitamin C reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while increasing luminosity and evening skin tone. This water-soluble vitamin helps regenerate your skin, fighting the effects of UVA and UVB damage and offering enhanced sun protection.

An expectant mother’s best friend, Vitamin C also minimizes the appearance of under-eye circles—so you can look your best even if you aren’t getting enough sleep. Plus, Vitamin C aids in keeping your skin flexible, which helps it prevent stretch marks as your body gains and loses weight to support your baby.

Frankincense Oil (Boswellia carterii)

Sourced from the resin of the Boswellia caterii tree, frankincense oil has been utilized for personal care for centuries. When it comes to your skin, the antiseptic and antimicrobial effects of frankincense strengthen and improve overall tone. It is an especially remarkable ingredient for pregnant women because it is excellent at reducing stress, and when inhaled it’s been shown to reduce the heart rate and open breathing passages to help you sleep.

With a bit of research and a commitment to natural ingredients and clean formulas, you experience pregnancy and still provide your skin with the essential nutrients it needs. As women continue to demand transparency from their products, the brands that offer skincare safely crafted for expectant mothers continues to grow. If you have any doubts about an ingredient or questions on a product that you’d like to use, don’t be afraid to have a conversation with your doctor—they are there to guide you during this confusing time of constant change.