Beauty is important. If you took care of your body before pregnancy, you aren’t going to stop just because you’re carrying a baby. However, it can be hard to decide how to care for your body and skin during pregnancy. From morning sickness and cravings to aches and discomforts, you have enough to worry about what beauty product will cause harm to your unborn child. We understand your concerns. Keep reading to explore what ingredients are safe and unsafe to use during your pregnancy as we guide you through your pregnancy beauty regimen that will ensure you look and feel just as good (if not better!) than before you were pregnant.
During pregnancy, your hormones change. Your body uses fat for energy and grows new muscle. Your facial hair grows and sometimes disappears. Your skin looks flushed and moist. Your voice changes slightly as well. While all these changes are perfectly normal, some people find themselves having a harder time accepting or liking these changes. These hormone changes can make some people feel less like themselves while others fight to get rid of them.
What Ingredients to Avoid
Cosmetics include a variety of chemical compounds that may be carcinogens or endocrine disruptors (1). There are several ingredients in cosmetic products that are harmful to pregnant women or newborn babies. Some of these chemicals are found in high concentrations in some products and may be present at levels undetected by consumers (2). For this reason, pregnant women and new moms need to be aware of the potential hazards presented by cosmetic products. Let’s look at some of the ingredients you need to avoid during this time (3)(4).
Examine your sunscreen labels and pay careful attention to ingredients such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, octinoxate, menthyl anthranilate, and octocrylene.
Mostly found in anti-aging products and used to treat acne, psoriasis, skin aging, and cancers.
Toluene, a chemical used in nail polish and hair colors, is also referred to as benzene, methylbenzene, phenylmethane, and toluol.
5. Salicylic Acid
Salicylic Acid is widely used as a treatment for acne, dandruff, seborrhea, and psoriasis. Additionally, Salicylic Acid can be used topically to remove corns, calluses, and warts. Oral usage of Salicylic Acid should be strictly avoided during this time. Although toners and washes with less than 2% salicylic acid are typically regarded harmless (5), to be extra careful, avoid its usage throughout your pregnancy.
Hydroquinone, a chemical used to treat skin conditions related to hyperpigmentation, is mainly found in skin lighteners, facial products, and nail coating products.
Phthalates, also referred to as DEP, DBP, DEHP (6), are commonly found in nail polishes, synthetic fragrances, and fragranced personal care products.
DHA, also known as glycerone, is primarily used in tanning products as a color additive.
Parabens are widely used as preservatives in many cosmetic products. Ensure that your cosmetics don’t contain isobutyl, propyl, isopropyl, butyl, or methyl parabens.
While there is currently not enough evidence to support the safety of cosmetic procedures during pregnancy, basic facials without the use of harsh chemicals are considered safe. However, it’s best to stay away from cosmetic procedures such as skin peels, botox, fillers, and laser treatments. It is crucial to assess the potential risks before engaging in any cosmetic procedures. Always consult your health care professional before engaging in any cosmetic procedures.
Cosmetic Treatments During Pregnancy – What to Use Instead
1. Stay Sun Safe
Sun protection is important year-round, not just in summer. If you are pregnant or nursing, try to stick to protective clothing and sunscreens. It is important to protect your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays. Pregnant women need a product that gives them the best chance at avoiding skin cancer and its many early complications.
For this reason, FDA recommends women against using sunscreens containing oxybenzone, oxybenzone, or tanning materials until at least 20 weeks into their pregnancy. Instead, always go for non-chemical-based sunscreens that do not penetrate the skin deeply. Sunscreens containing zinc oxide and titanium oxide are ideal for this purpose since they protect against harmful UV radiation without entering the skin.
2. Advice Your Hair Stylist
There is no proof that hair colors are harmful to pregnant women. However, it is still advised not to apply them straight to your scalp. Even if you haven’t informed anybody else, always inform your stylist that you’re pregnant. That way, she will be able to choose products that are free of any harsh chemicals.
If you are pregnant, it is important to consider alternatives to hair dyes and colorants that contain ammonia. This is because the chemicals can potentially trigger severe allergies. Rather, look for natural options such as natural hair masks that will not only be safe for you and your baby but also leave your hair looking beautiful.
3. Safe Acne Care
Severe hormonal changes cause pregnancy pimples. Therefore, it is strongly suggested that you speak with your doctor before using over-the-counter acne treatments.
There are several safer options to consider for acne care, and glycolic acid is one of the most effective. However, Glycolic acid in significant amounts is not advised during pregnancy. Glycolic acid and azelaic acid can also aid with fine line reduction, skin brightening, and hyperpigmentation issues.
4. Goodbye, Stretch Marks
If you’re pregnant, you’ll likely experience some form of stretch mark formation. Your body will notice an increase in the size and density of your body tissues as you grow. This increase in body mass will lead to some pretty obvious changes in your skin. As you can imagine, this can become quite a bothersome and time-consuming process, especially if left untreated. Moisturizers are great at soothing and improving the appearance of these hard-to-reach areas on your body.
To keep skin looking great during pregnancy, it is best to use natural oils that are safe to apply to the skin daily. For example, using argan oil, rosehip oil, or coconut oil will keep your skin moisturized while decreasing the appearance of stretch marks.
5. Anti-Aging Done Right
Retinol is well-known as one of the most common ingredients in anti-aging treatments, particularly anti-wrinkle creams. However, scientists have discovered that this chemical is linked to serious birth abnormalities.
Fortunately, there are plenty of topical antioxidants out there. Always go for products containing vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, Vitamin B3, as these support the growth of collagen. Put, applying antioxidant-rich products will greatly improve the quality of your skin.
6. Non-Toxic Makeup
When it comes to buying cosmetics, we often tend to ignore the information on the label. However, before purchasing any cosmetics during pregnancy, it’s advised to look for phrases such as ‘BPA free,’ ‘fragrance-free,’ ‘no DEA,’ ‘paraben-free,’ and ‘no phthalates.’
Instead of conventional cosmetics, try organic products. Organic products are regarded as being better for the environment and are thought to be better for your health.
Remember that your skin tone may vary throughout pregnancy, so you may need to choose a shade darker or lighter.
7. Beautiful Nails Without The Damage
There are some chemicals used in nail polishes that are harmful to the body. If they enter into the skin of pregnant women while being applied to their nails, the health of their babies might be affected.
It is recommended to use phthalate-free nail polishes. Examine the labels of nail polish and look for products that are water-based and non-toxic. You may also select a well-ventilated area for polishing your nails, which speeds up the drying process and greatly reduces your exposure to such hazardous chemicals.
8. Consider going all natural
Nothing beats natural ingredients, and using natural skincare throughout pregnancy is the best option since you can significantly reduce the number of chemicals your skin is exposed to. In addition, homemade skincare recipes take the guesswork out of determining what works best for you. Making your products allows you to put a lot more focus on the products you’re using instead of wasting time trying to figure out which ones are good. Everything from body butter to exfoliants to all-natural face masks – the list is endless with recipes to care for your skin.
Pregnant women are at higher risk for skin problems and infections, so it’s important to know which products can harm them or their developing baby. Too often, we choose skincare products based on the claims made by companies, instead of testing them. Most cosmetic and personal care products contain harmful chemicals such as retinoids, phthalates, dihydroxyacetone (DHA), parabens, etc. For this reason, it’s important to look at the ingredients in products before using them. For those who are brave and ready to eliminate harmful ingredients from their skincare routine, using products containing organic and natural ingredients is a great place to start.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it OK to use beauty products while pregnant?
Always opt for organic beauty products to minimize the exposure of harsh chemicals to your skin.
Is the laser safe when pregnant?
It is advised to avoid laser procedures during pregnancy, as no studies have been conducted to prove its safety for mothers and babies.
How can I remove hair during pregnancy?
Threading, tweezing, shaving and waxing are generally considered safe methods of hair removal during pregnancy.
Can I use Vitamin C serum while breastfeeding?
Yes, you can. It’s a great antioxidant that’s used as a treatment for dry skin, fine lines, and wrinkle formation.
- “Changes in Cosmetics Use during Pregnancy and Risk Perception by Women” – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Maternal cosmetics use during pregnancy and risks of adverse outcomes” – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Cosmetic ingredients to avoid during pregnancy” – parents.com
- “Skincare Ingredients to avoid in pregnancy” – healthline.com
- “Is Salicylic Acid safe to use during pregnancy?” -medicalnewstoday.com
- “Effects of early exposure to phthalates and bisphenols on cardiometabolic outcomes in pregnancy and childhood” – sciencedirect.com