Beauty & Pregnancy: What To Avoid When You’re Expecting

By August 31, 2015 No Comments

Beauty & Pregnancy: What To Avoid When You’re Expecting

We already gave you our top beauty picks for mommys-to-be and new moms, but that got us wondering exactly what one should avoid when expecting.  Unfortunately, there are quite a few active ingredients that are major no-no’s to use while pregnant or breastfeeding.  Not to add to your already increasing stress load (hello, surging hormones), but beauty products can actually be harmful to you and your newborn. We turned to Dr. Jessica Weiser of the New York Dermatology Group to fill us in on what to avoid when you’re expecting.

BB: What are the top ingredients that every pregnant woman should avoid?

Dr. Jessica Weiser:
1. Retinol and vitamin A derivatives, including over the counter and prescription strength, can potentially be absorbed into the bloodstream and stored in fat cells leading to birth defects.
2. High percentage benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid products, especially those intended to be left on the skin (as opposed to cleansers or short contact foams), have not been adequately studied to establish safety recommendations during pregnancy.
3. Hydroquinone, a skin lightening agent to reduce pigmentation and other dark spots, has not been tested to be safe during pregnancy, so is better to steer clear.
4. Toluene in nail products should be avoided because it has been associated with developmental and reproductive toxicities.
5. Chemical sunscreens carry a higher risk of penetrating more deeply into the skin and then the bloodstream, so it is also advisable to stick to physical barrier sunscreens (those containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide).

BB: What is the best way to deal with hormonal breakouts during pregnancy since so many ingredients normally used to treat acne are not pregnancy-approved?

JW: Acne during pregnancy is definitely a challenge because of all the restricted treatments.  Safe options include topical antibiotic medications such as Erythromycin and Clindamycin (pregnancy category B – safe to use during pregnancy) or a topical gel called Finacea (azeleic acid) which can calm red blemishes and improve discoloration left from acne flare ups.

Blue light or red light therapy and cortisone injections are also safe during pregnancy and can help keep hormonal breakouts under better control.

BB: Should you stay away from the same ingredients avoided during pregnancy while breastfeeding as well?

JW: The safest answer is to steer clear of products you wouldn’t use when pregnant to avoid any unnecessary risks during breastfeeding.  For questions about specific products, it is best to consult with your dermatologist.

What products did you miss using the most while pregnant? Let us know in the comments below!


-Casey Sharbaugh is the blogger behind

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