Skin Care Ingredients to Avoid When Pregnant, Nursing or Trying to Conceive

“You are glowing!” every woman is showered down with these words when they have a baby on the way. But the same hormones that flush your cheeks with that “pregnancy glow” are the reasons for some unwanted changes on your skin. So along with hundreds of concerns running through your brain, you are thinking about cutting down your skincare routine and beauty treatments to avoid “not suitable” ingredients while you are trying to conceive, pregnant or nursing.

How Our Bodies Change when Trying to Conceive, Pregnant or Nursing

The skincare ingredients that once used to benefit your skin, may no longer fulfil the needs of your skin during pregnancy or nursing. Our skin often changes its character, texture, and even tone and become very sensitive during pregnancy and nursing. The use of strong chemical and even the normal skincare ingredients can cause rashes and make your complexion dull. Therefore, it is time to make some changes in your new skincare regimen.

Our skin is the first line of defence against pollutants. But, the skincare ingredients need to penetrate the skin and work deeply. If you use such products during pregnancy or nursing, you run the risk of these harmful products entering your bloodstream and harming the baby. They can interfere with the organ development in an unborn baby. Also, they can affect our hormonal cycles which can cause other body and skin problems.

The skin of the nursing mom comes in direct contact with the baby. The newborn babies have extremely sensitive skin, the toxins from body lotions on the breast can be absorbed into the baby’s skin and damage it, which usually appears as skin rashes on the baby.

When you try so hard to care for your little ones, using your go-to skincare products may be out of the question as even the small amount of toxicity can be harmful to the baby. So we breakdown the ingredients and beauty treatments to avoid while trying to conceive, pregnant, or breastfeeding to help you and your young one stay safe.

Skin Care Ingredients to Avoid During Pregnancy

  • Benzoyl Peroxide and Hydroxy Acids

Hydroxy acids and benzoyl peroxide are great for fighting acne and clearing pores and removing the dead skin cells. However, they are not recommended for hypersensitive skin. They can be harmful who experience sensitivity from almost everything including salicylic acid.

High doses of salicylic acid in its oral form (its found in aspirin) have been proven to cause various pregnancy complications including birth defects.

Lactic acid is a gentle alternative of salicylic acid. It is great for cleansing and removing dead skin cells without causing any irritation.

  • Retinoids

Retinoids work really well for treating acne. The stronger retinoid, retinoic acid, is a prescription medicine, that is, you can get it only after a doctor’s authorization. You should cease to use and store it away if you are trying to conceive. All of the retinoid’s form can cause birth defects like malformation. It is the topmost product that you should avoid when trying to conceive a child.

  • Essential Oils

Essential oils are all-natural and organic as they are extracted from plants. They are generally good for the skin. There are only a few essential oils that you can use during pregnancy provided you are extremely careful with them. However, sometimes, these powerful ingredients can cause contractions. The oils that should be at the top of the list are cumin, oregano, fennel, rosemary and thyme.

You can use essential oils of black pepper, eucalyptus, geranium, frankincense, ylang-ylang or peppermint. Dilute them well before using with a carrier oil like grapeseed, coconut or sweet almond oil.

  • Chemical Sunscreens

Sunscreens are generally safe but to be on the safe side, look for all-natural ones that don’t penetrate into the skin. A mineral-based sunscreen is usually recommended as it contains zinc which is a safer alternative ingredient and provides a physical barrier against UV rays.

Beauty Treatments to Avoid during Pregnancy

  • Hair Dyes

There is a lack of research and evidence for hair dyes harming the baby, but most of the pregnant women decide to wait until the baby is more developed.

Hair dyes contain toxic ingredients that’s the reason they smell bad. It is important that you dye your hair in a well-ventilated room while doing it.

Look for a trendy balayage look by leaving the roots untouched and only highlighting from midshaft down so that the chemicals only touch the strands and not your scalp.

  • Tanning and self-tanner

The fake tans contain dihydroxyacetone as the active ingredient which is non-toxic and doesn’t penetrate into the skin. However, you should try to avoid using self-tanner around the breast area which comes in contact with the baby. Though these ingredients are not harmful to your skin, your baby will be exposed to them orally while breastfeeding. Some studies have shown that these ingredients can harm a baby’s cell and organ development.

On the other hand, you should completely avoid tanning by sunbeds during pregnancy. Sunbeds can overheat your body and the harmful ultraviolet rays break down folic acid which is crucial for healthy development.

  • Botox

Botox is usually considered to stay in the area where it is injected; not reaching the developing baby. There is not enough research to support that, therefore, to be extra safe, most of the healthcare practitioners advise waiting this treatment till delivery.

  • Pedicures and Manicures

You don’t have to say goodbye to manicures and pedicures for the whole time during pregnancy. However, you may want to skip them for two reasons which are a little far fetched. First, removing calluses before painting the nails have the risk that you might cut yourself and the moms-to-be are at higher risk of infection. Second, the smell is just awful.


Wanda Scribner

Wanda Scribner is a co-founder of Divas Hair Care. She is from Houston and has a passion for hairstyling. She knows quite some things about different types of hair and the ways to manage them and make the most suitable hairstyles with them. She has a 19 years old daughter on whom she has implemented the unique hairstyle ideas that come to her mind. She has grown tired with her mom trying new hairstyles on her, but Wanda has not.

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