Congratulations, you’re pregnant! You’ve probably got the down-low on all the food and activities to avoid for the next 9 months. Your doctor and friends and family have probably already told you all the dos and don’t of pregnancy when it comes to diet, exercise, dealing with stress, dealing with your partner, skin and hair care, and the like; but have they told you about all your favourite beauty products that you need to now avoid? No? Well, what are we here for?
When it comes to the beauty products that most women use such as moisturizers, anti-ageing and anti-acne products, it’s not so much the products themselves that are a problem rather than some of the ingredients that go into making these products. Given below are a list of products along with the ingredients that are most commonly present in them which are best avoided during pregnancy.
Many skin lightening creams and treatments contain chemicals such as hydroquinone which are potentially harmful to your baby. You might have been using skin lightening products pre-pregnancy and may wish to continue using them to treat the patchiness and skin pigmentation that sometimes arises during pregnancy; however, it is recommended to avoid them. While there isn’t enough research on any specific effects that this substance has on the fetus, it has a high rate of absorption into the skin due to which the amount of chemical present in your blood may be high which is a risk in itself.
Many anti-ageing creams contain chemicals such as retinoids and hydroxy acids. These have a high danger level for fetuses. High doses of these chemicals have been found to cause birth defects. These substances are mostly dangerous for the fetus when taken in oral form. However, there is still a chance that when used in the form of creams and ointments, these chemicals may be absorbed into the bloodstream and reach your baby. For precautionary purposes, it is recommended that these creams and ointments be avoided in the first two trimesters at least, and even in the third to be extremely safe.
The substances tetracycline and retinoids are extensively found in many acne treatment products. While the effects of retinoids have already been discussed, tetracycline is generally present in antibiotics used to treat skin conditions such as acne and Lyme disease. This substance has been found to lead to liver damage in pregnant women as well as discolouration of teeth in the fetus. Therefore using anti-acne products containing these chemicals can lead to various birth defects. There are, however, alternative substances that can be used to deal with acne such as face wash with 2% or less salicylic acid - you can get more information on these from your healthcare provider.
Hair treatment products:
Formaldehyde and diethanolamine are commonly found in hair treatment and strengthening products. Formaldehyde has been found to be a carcinogen. Additionally, many hair treatment products exude fumes which can be dangerous for the fetus if inhaled. Many ingredients in these products may be possible allergens which might require medications which is better avoided during pregnancy.
Hair removal products:
Most hair removal creams contain thioglycolic acid (a.k.a acetyl mercaptan, mercaptoacetate, mercaptoacetic acid, thiocyanic acid). There aren’t many studies conducted on the specific negative effects of this substance, however, it is advisable to avoid them when pregnant (better safe than sorry). Skin sensitivity tends to increase during pregnancy which could lead to severe allergic reactions requiring medication. Apart from this, these are generally considered safe to use, though it’s recommended to use razors over chemical hair removal methods when pregnant.
Strong and heavy perfumes contain several chemicals that give it the property of fragrance by strengthening the properties of other chemicals. These chemicals, namely, are phthalates. This substance has been found to lead to reproductive toxicity. It has also been found to affect normal development and growth of the fetus.
Toluene, formaldehyde, and phthalates are found in high concentrations in nail polishes. In addition to the negative effects of formaldehyde and phthalates, toluene is considered a possible carcinogen. The three substances together have been termed the “toxic trio” and should always be avoided during pregnancy. They could cause birth defects and may even lead to still-birth.
If some of these products are products that you tend to use quite often, look for substitutes which are free of the harmful substances mentioned above. Consult your healthcare provider about the same. When it comes to your baby, it’s always better to be on the safer side.