Beauty Products and Skincare To Avoid When Pregnant

Pregnancy is an exciting time that also comes with its whirlwind of information on what to do and, better yet, what not to do. It begins to make you question your whole routine. Luckily, we found the most dangerous and controversial ingredients in beauty products and skincare to have expected mothers on high alert for what to avoid during pregnancy. 

Beauty Products and Skincare to avoid when pregnant include:

  • Aluminum chloride in deodorant and antiperspirants
  • Parabens and sodium lauryl sulfate in shampoos and conditioners
  • Retinol in anti-aging topics
  • Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicyclic Acid in acne medication
  • and more...

  • These products are often in our every day, and some may already exist in a woman's skincare or beauty routine. These chemicals and their derivatives may be okay when a woman isn't expecting (and some maybe not), but extra caution on what to avoid is paramount. Let’s dive in. 

    Things to Avoid When Pregnant

    Especially during a significant hormonal and physiological change, it's vital to check even our typical ingredients that otherwise seem unharmful. We'll break this down as a checklist. We'll start with the most common suspects to some that are least likely to be considered. 

    Deodorants And Antiperspirants

    Aluminum chloride is often the talk of some controversy as it's safe to use in lower concentrations. Since the debate is still ongoing, avoiding higher concentrations or products such as deodorants and antiperspirants that include this chemical is advisable. 

    Shampoo And Conditioners

    Paraben is a term that seems to be more on the tip of consumers' minds these days and potentially for a good reason, too! Parabens have a history of being linked to breast cancer, and research is ongoing to see their reproductive system's impact. 

    Although there isn't hard evidence that once equals the other, it's best not to include products that take that risk, especially within the day-to-day routine. 

    There is a foaming agent called sodium lauryl sulfate for soaps and washes, which is generally too irritating by cosmetic standards. Our bodies cannot process and break down this chemical appropriately, causing moderate to severe damage to areas such as the nervous system, the kidneys, and liver function with prolonged use. 

    Anti-Aging Products

    As tempting as it may be to add a retinol cream to the shopping cart, this can lead to some dangerous congenital disabilities for baby. Although a developing fetus must receive proper nutrients and vitamins, these vitamin A derivatives found in retinol are synthetic and human-made versions that pose harmful effects.

    Furthermore, retinoids fall under category C from the FDA, meaning that there aren't many studies that offer well-controlled or adequate information supporting its successful use for pregnant women. Avoid it's sister names too; Retin-A, retinol, retinyl palmitate, adapalene, tretinoin, tazarotene, and isotretinoin. 

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    Acne Products And Skin Products

    Acne is something to expect during pregnancy, but before reaching for the same shelves you may have in the past (or not if you're so lucky), most acne creams have a combination to manage acne that isn't so friendly to the baby. 

    Avoid products with the names Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicyclic Acid inside a single product. If you're interested in clearing skin while pregnant, look for those that only include one ingredient. If taking oral salicylic acid, discontinue use as this has been linked to increasing the risk of intracranial bleeding for the baby. 

    Also, suppose you're on Tazorac or Accutane from your provider or dermatologist as an acne medication. In that case, you may want to flag them of your pregnancy as these two ingredients are identified by the FDA as causing dangerous known congenital disabilities for fetuses and should be something expecting mothers should avoid.

    Tetracycline is a common antibiotic prescribed to aid in skin conditions that researches have also seen adverse effects in both mom and baby. Avoid it's derivative ingredient names as well; doxycycline and minocycline. 

    The bottom line, acne is closely intertwined with our hormones. Check-in with your dermatologist to see what will work best for you and baby.

    Chemical Sunscreens 

    Many sunscreens that are off the shelves have chemicals that may impact or interfere with the fetus's nervous system. Most notably, chemical sunscreens with ingredient names oxybenzone or avobenzone should be discarded and switched out for natural sun protection instead to avoid unnecessary harm. 

    Essential Oils

    This one may seem strange to add to the list as essential oils are made from all-natural ingredients. However, that is part of their downfall, as the FDA does not officially assess essential oils, and ultimately they don't abide by any standard of labeling, meaning there is a wide range of varieties and concentrations that are cause of concern

    If using these while pregnant, consult your doctor and which oils and limit your overall exposure to them.

    Skin Lightener

    Although many people experience skin pigmentation or melisma during pregnancy, it's vital to remember to take this one off your list. The critical ingredient, hydroquinone, has a higher absorption rate than most topical treatments and is more likely to access your bloodstream in more massive amounts. 

    Certain Cosmetics 

    Depending on what beauty products you use, there may be an ingredient that ends with the term –phthalate; this is added to the cosmetic to help stabilize its formula. Unfortunately, it has been linked to a handful of health concerns, not to mention reproductive issues. 

    Triple check your mascaras too, often, Diazolidinyl urea is a chemical that releases formaldehyde and is found in many product brands of mascara.

    Nail Polishes and some hair products may contain formaldehyde, which has been linked to fertility problems and even miscarriage, and most doctors advise women to limit their exposure to it. 

    Talk to your salon or stylist and express your concerns to use products that don't contain this ingredient of polishes labeled '3-free' (made without toluene, dibutyl phthalate, and formaldehyde) or '5-free' (made without toluene, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, and camphor).  

    In facial washes, you can generally find the ingredient stearic acid. It is an element the works as a binding agent to help water combine to oil to wash away dirt from the skin. The FDA lists this chemical as something to use in limited quantities. 

    Want a cleanser that's pump full of antioxidants, non-toxic, and works to protect your skin? Check out our kale cleanser and see some of our client's before and after pictures and testimonials. 

    Hair Removal

    Sometimes in pregnancy, hair shows up more than we would like. If you use a cream to remove hair, check your product for the ingredient name 'thioglycolic acid.' 

    This chemical has several sister names to check out: acetyl mercaptan, mercapto acetate, mercaptoacetic acid, and thiocyanic acid. Some alternatives to try could be tweezing or threading of eyebrows or shaving or sugaring for extremities. 

    Self Tanner

    Although the chemical itself, dihydroxyacetone, isn't harmful as it doesn't absorb into the body, it has the potential to be inhaled during the application, which is unhealthy for the mother and child. As a safer alternative, stick to tanning outside and avoid peak hours to get some sun as an option that's less harmful to the baby. 

    Consult Your Obstetrician  

    There's no doubt there's a ton of information to take during this time to keep the women and their child safe. Remember to breathe, try not to stress, and enjoy the pregnancy. If you have any questions, contact your doctor's office for advice on adding or discontinuing product use.

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