Pregnant or trying to conceive? Your beauty box is about to change too. Here are the key ingredients you should avoid to keep you and your baby-to-be safe and healthy.
Along with skipping happy hour and saying sayonara to sushi, you know there are certain beauty and skin-care ingredients that are off-limits when you're pregnant. That's because they may be harmful to your unborn baby or there's simply not enough evidence to prove that they're completely safe. But what you may not realize is that many of these same skin-care rules may have a negative effect on fertility and apply when you're trying to conceive.
Whether you're trying to have a baby or are pregnant, here are the key ingredients you should avoid to keep you and your baby-to-be safe and healthy.
Beauty ingredients to avoid while trying to conceive or during pregnancy
These preservative agents (also known as propylparaben, butylparaben, isopropylparaben and methylparabens) are used in foundation and lipstick to keep them from harboring bacteria. Parabens have been associated with developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune disruptions in babies because they can be passed to the fetus.
Found in Retin-A and Accutane, retinoids are prescription acne and anti-aging medications. It may be listed on ingredient labels as retinoic acid, retinyl palmitate, retinaldehyde, adapalene, tretinoin, tazarotene, and isotretinoin. There's a proven link between the use of retinoids and an increased risk of birth defects for developing babies. Instead use an antioxidant serum daily, such Vitamin E or C serum which softens fines lines and brightens and firms the skin.
Salicylic and Glycolic acids
Acne-fighting acids salicylic and glycolic acids should go to the back of your medicine cabinet for now. As with retinoids, only a relatively small amount is absorbed into the skin, but there isn't enough research on the active ingredients' effects on pregnant women to classify them as completely safe. Consider a natural solution for blemishes: niacinamide, which is vitamin B3. The vitamin has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce acne
This is an ingredient mainly found in beauty products to help stabilize the formula and have been linked to liver, kidney, lung, and reproductive issues. Look for these terms ending in -phthalate to avoid this ingredient.
Fragrances are usually made up of other harmful chemicals, like parabens, benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and more that are linked to cancer and nervous system issues.
Dibutyl phthalate (DBP).
This phthalate is a common ingredient in nail polish and a known hormone disruptor. Exposure to high concentrations may cause hormone production problems in a developing baby.
The main ingredient in antiperspirants, aluminum chloride has been vilified for over 40 years, thanks to a widely criticized study linking it to Alzheimer’s disease. Staunch opponents of the ingredient, have also claimed that it plays a role in breast cancer. (This, too, is questionable.)
This popular sunscreen ingredient may absorb UV rays and is mostly found in chemical sunscreens, but a study (on animals) has shown that exposure to oxybenzone resulted in reduced fertility so you may want to skip it. Invest in a serum containing Vitamin C that naturally protects you from sun rays or stick to mineral ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
Botulinum Toxin (Botox)
While there are no studies testing the effect of injectables like Botox, Dysport, or Xeomin, on a developing baby, no physician would recommend or perform this on a pregnant patient because the botulinum toxin works by paralyzing muscles. Not exactly something you want to take chances with when you have a growing baby inside you.
Instead take a collagen supplement to keep your skin firm and moist during your pregnancy. Collagen is a natural protein in our bodies and is most likely safe during pregnancy. A study from 2016 found that collagen protein supplementation improved quality of life for the pregnant women as well as promoting a better postpartum healing experience.