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To use or not to use the Retinoids & Retinols when lactating

Oh, aren’t we all in our honeymoon phase during the pregnancy. You get that pregnancy glow on your skin and hair. There aren’t any signs of acne or pimples, no matter what you eat and, hair looks right out of those hair care advertisements. It’s no less than heaven on earth (holding all the troubles and pain aside).

But the minute baby pops out: we look like the one hit by a truck (on the face!). All the hormones like progesterone and estrogen, the reason for creating happy drugs for your body, floods out. And the acne and pimples come back pretty intensely. 

And, during this time, we are tempted to visit our dermatologist or use over-the-counter drugs. Mind you, before taking any such hasty decisions. It isn’t just during the pregnancy that you need to take care of your intakes (both food and medicines). You need to be very conscious of your lactation period as well. If you are breastfeeding the baby and are facing skin issues, here are some safety pointers you can follow.

What is the difference between Retinoids and Retinols?

The names are different but the primary composition and results are the same. Retinoids and Retinols have become a common ingredient in many skincare and anti-ageing merchandises. While only doctors can prescribe retinoids, you can buy retinol over the counter from any drug store. The reason is that retinol is milder than the prior and is present in every skincare serum that reduces dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles.

Who can and cannot use it?

Retinoids and Retinols have a higher concentration of vitamin A. It doesn’t just remove dead skin cells but they get absorbed in your dermis (inner layer of your skin). Pregnant women are certainly advised not to take this, either orally or topically. However, there is quite some vagueness about lactating women.

Even though lactating women are asked to refrain from taking oral doses of Retinoids. There is not enough research for skincare products! It is undiscovered as to how much of the ingredients get absorbed into breast milk. So if you’re using it, keep it minimal as the consequences will be way lesser, if there are any. But, doctors advise you against using these as a precaution.

Then, how to treat acne?

Few women face major acne issues right after the child’s delivery. In such cases, you can use the below that is safer for any breastfeeding mother.

  • Azelex – It is also known as Azelaic acid. Commonly found in our food (whole grains and animal products) in minute amounts. The absorption frequency into the skin is way lesser, reducing the chance of being consumed into breastmilk.
  • Benzoyl Peroxide – Just like Azelex, the absorption is minimal and it breaks down into the body so soon that there isn’t any chance for transfer.
  • Salicylic Acid – This is the safest and best medication for breastfeeding women. You can find it in any drug store. The absorption levels into the skin are very low and the results are reasonably better.


You will find various alternatives and derivatives to Retinols and Retinoids in the market. But, the best remedy you can try without burning a hole in your pocket is to have a healthy lifestyle. Because of our always-on-the-run lifestyle, we seldom give time to our body. Take some time out from your busy schedule and work on it. 

Prepare healthy food, drink plenty of water, avoid any gadgets before sleeping, and have a good sleep. Cleanse, tone and moisturize regularly. Make tiny changes in your daily habits and see the results that astound you! 

If you are stuck at any point & wish to reach out to a diet expert or nutritionist and don’t know how to find the best one? Worry no more! You can find the best professional through an online email search tool. is the CEO of the email database that can help you find a professional in just a few seconds. It also comes with a chrome extension to your Linkedin account. So, you can access the professional email address of the profile you search!

Vinay Kumar
Student. Coffee ninja. Devoted web advocate. Subtly charming writer. Travel fan. Hardcore bacon lover