When that pregnancy test shows up positive, everything in your once normal world changes. Suddenly you become overly aware of the foods you’re ingesting and the chemicals you’re around, and even the items included in your beauty routine. In addition to your diet, and lifestyle choices, among the first things you should review to ensure pregnancy-safety, are your skin care products.
When it comes to skin care and pregnancy health there are two main concerns; first is to identify and avoid chemicals or toxin additives that could be harmful and the second is to find a solution to your skin care concerns.
Beauty Product Ingredients to Limit or Avoid When Pregnant
First off, it should come as no surprise that some toxins or chemical additives are better than others. Ideally, natural ingredients or DIY treatments is the way to go, however the convenience and simplicity of a store-bought item can’t be beat at times, but that doesn’t mean you have to expose yourself and your growing fetus to every chemical on the market. If you’re looking to make some simple changes, here are some common ingredients in your beauty routine that are best avoided as they can be dangerous to a developing baby.
This skin-lightening chemical is usually used for treating dark spots of pigmentation on the skin. While this may sound appealing, this skin care ingredient is not advisable to be used when expectant primarily because of how fast it is absorbed into the bloodstream. Therefore, even though you may experience some irritating melasma when pregnant, limiting usage or avoiding topical skin-lightening products that include this ingredient all together is advisable, although studies show that minimal usage may pose little threat to a developing child.
These derivatives of vitamin A are common for boosting one’s production of collagen and treating skin conditions. Retinoids are found in prescribed treatments for psoriasis, eczema or acne medications. In addition, these additives are common in skin care routines targeted toward acne, wrinkles, fine lines and collagen. Using skin care products with retinoids while pregnant, has been found to create added risks of birth defects, miscarriage or premature delivery. In addition, when pregnant, taking oral medications containing retinoids may lead to congenital disabilities like fetal retinoid syndrome.
This is a skincare ingredient found in many acne medications which are taken orally. The safety of using benzoyl peroxide while pregnant is generally not recommended due to the fact that it has not yet been fully established, however in limited amounts, experts often deem it safe. Checking with an obstetrician or dermatologist before use during pregnancy is advised for the most updated information and recommendations.
Believe it or not, the formaldehyde chemical can sometimes be used in beauty products such as nail polish, makeup, shampoo, soap, gels, deodorants and lotions as a preservative.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the National Toxicology Program classify formaldehyde as a human carcinogen when its fumes are inhaled, thus the concern when talking about beauty products.
Because of this finding and confirmation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), use of this ingredient is slowly fading from some brands however it can still be found in low levels in some gel manicures, nail polishes, and hair straightening treatments. Exposure to it at low levels is considered safe for people who are not pregnant, however, if you are pregnant, avoid this ingredient to ensure you protect your developing fetus.
Pregnancy-Safe Skin Care Ingredients
While the above-mentioned ingredients may have you concerned that your whole routine must be nixed, here are some of the top choices of ingredients you should look for beauty products during pregnancy as they are safe and even beneficial.
This ingredient is renowned for its super anti-aging and moisturizing effects. Hyaluronic acid is a natural product that holds and attracts water and help bring moisture to the surface of the skin.
The human body generally produces hyaluronic acid, but as time goes by, the production decreases. Hyaluronic acid is a versatile ingredient and helpful in acne-prone, dry, and sensitive skin. The most important part is that skin care products based on hyaluronic acid are typically deemed safe for use when pregnant, with no posed threat to mom or baby. Additionally, finding hyaluronic acid-based products will be a minimal challenge as this is a popular ingredient in many moisturizers and serums.
This ingredient is a natural antioxidant that promotes healthy and supple skin. It functions by maintaining healthy levels of collagen in the body. Collagen, is a protein that occurs naturally in the body and functions by providing structure to the skin, and is the key proponent when it comes to keeping wrinkles at bay.
Thus, products with vitamin C will help protect existing collagen in the body from damage and encourage the production of new collagen. When collagen and vitamin C are combined, an even skin tone, radiance, and firmness are possible and can even aid in healing scars. Because of this, combining vitamin C and collagen can offer a good skincare routine to treat and prevent stretch marks when pregnant.
In addition to collagen regulating benefits, vitamin C also helps in protecting and repairing the skin from UV damage, especially when combined with adequate SPF.
This acid occurs naturally and has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. The acid works by killing harmful bacteria and replenishing the skin. Thus, making it a beneficial treatment for rosacea and acne. Products based on azelaic acid are a safe choice for annoying hormonal acne induced during pregnancy and show no increased risks for birth defects.
During pregnancy, being keen on the products you use on your body and how they may affect you and your unborn child is important. For skin care and beauty products, try to look for the naturally occurring and safe ingredient options listed above, or look into DIY beauty products, to reduce any unnecessary risks to you and baby.