Once your pregnancy is confirmed, you start to be very careful of what you are consuming. However, there are other things that are often forgotten. It’s time to be careful of what products you use for your skincare routine. Yes, there are some skincare ingredients that are potentially harmful and may also affect your baby.
Find out what are the top 13 ingredients you should look out for in your beauty products and AVOID using them during your pregnancy!
Hydroquinone is a lightening agent, also known as hydroquinone, idrochinone, quinol, 1-4 dihydroxy benzene and 1-4 hydroxy benzene. It is not advisable to use products with hydroquinone due to its high systemic absorption rate of about 30% to 45%. Moreover, pigment that appears during pregnancy may be temporary.
Found in Products: Skin lightening products
Retinoids are present in skin care products that help reduce wrinkles and improve skin tone. It helps with cell renewal and reduce the rate of collagen breakdown. However, oral retinoids have been linked to birth defects. While topical retinoids are not associated with pregnancy complications, it is best to avoid. Retinoids may also be labeled as Differin (adapelene), Retin-A, Renova (tretinoin), Retinoic acid, Retinol, Retinyl linoleate, Retinyl palmitate, Tazorac, Tazarotene, retinaldehyde, and isotretinoin.
Found in Products: Anti-aging moisturizers
#3 Glycolic acid
It is best to avoid glycolic acid as it is studied to be harmful in high doses, and frequently associated with skin damage, skin inflammation and increases risk from sun exposure.
Found in Products: Chemical peels, skin toners
#4 Beta hydroxy acids/ Salicylic acid
This acid is for clearing dead skin cells and also help to reduce inflammation. It is also sometimes used as a topical exfoliant. Oral dosage of this acid is associated with birth defects and pregnancy complications. Small amounts of topical applications (no more than 2%) are considered safe but avoid large amounts as a precaution, especially in facial and body peels.
Found in Products: Facial and body peel, acne products, make-up for acne-prone skin, cleansers, toners, exfoliants
This ingredient in chemical sunscreens is associated with low birth weight and hormonal disruption but it is not a causal relationship. However, chemical sunscreens tend to result in skin rash, more than physical blocker sunscreens. Therefore avoid oxybenzone, avobenzone and oxtinoxate and instead opt for physical blocker sunscreens with ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
Found in Products: Chemical sunscreens
Botox injections help smooth skin and as this is invasive, it is best to avoid as there is insufficient, well-controlled studies on its safety for pregnant woman.
#7 Aluminum chloride hexahydrate
Aluminum chloride hexahydrate may affect the sweat production cells and is in the FDA pregnancy category of ingredients to avoid.
Found in Products: Antiperspirant
#8 Dihydroxyacetone (DHA)
DHA is approved for use in chemical tanning and works by darkening the surface skin layer. Although it is not absorbed into the skin, the risk of inhaling the chemical tanning spray has not been studied. There is some concern on whether DHA will damage cell DNA.
Found in Products: Spray self-tanners
Formaldehyde is banned in cosmetics in some countries due to links with cancer and its toxicity. It is also labeled as quaternium-15, dimethyl-dimethyl (DMDM), hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, and 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol).
Found in Products: Hair straightening treatments and nail polishes
Limited studies link parabens to possible hormonal disruption and the European Union has banned parabens in certain cosmetic products. It is also labeled as propyl, butyl, isopropyl, isobutyl and methyl parabens.
Found in Products: Moisturizer, shampoo, conditioner, anti-aging products, sunscreen, toner/astringent, makeup
Although there is no data to link phthalates to birth defects, selected studies in animals have shown to interfere with male sexual development. As such, it is prudent to exercise caution and choose phthalate-free products. As this is more likely to be harmful as airborne, apply in well ventilated area or in the mousse or gel state.
Found in Products: Hair sprays, synthetic fragrances (air fresheners) and nail polishes
#12 Thioglycolic acid
This acid works by reacting chemically with the disulfide bonds in hair and since it is considered a strong chemical, it is best to avoid during pregnancy. Products should not contain thioglycolic acid in concentrations more than 5%. Consider shaving instead.
Found in Products: Chemical hair removers
Together with formaldehyde and phthalate, toluene is known as the toxic trio. It has potential toxicity and risk for developmental brain and cell damage, when exposed to large doses of inhaled toluene.
Found in Products: Nail polishes
During pregnancy, it is safer to choose hypoallergenic products or products from brands that are known to emphasize product testing and safety. However, most topical products do not contain high concentrations of the above ingredients so do not be overly stressed over your skincare routine.