Beauty Products to Avoid During Pregnancy

Falling pregnant is a beautiful thing, but it requires you to pay extra attention to everything, especially what you eat and how you take care of yourself. Everyone knows that it's important to get enough sleep, get enough exercise, and pamper your growing body. But it's also imperative to keep an eye on the ingredients in the beauty products you use. It may seem silly to worry about your night cream or fake tan, but believe it or not, certain toxins are strong enough to make their way through your skin and into your bloodstream to affect your developing fetus. Find out what you should be looking out for now. 

Acne Medications, Retinols, and Salicylic Acid:
Products such as Accutane, Retin-A and tetracycline are all prescription antiacne meds that should absolutely be avoided when pregnant. Because they are taken at such high doses to fight off acne-causing bacteria, they can also cause serious birth defects. Additionally, over-the-counter products containing low doses of retinoids or salicylic acid (often found in antiaging lotions and spot treatments) are also unsafe. Although there is no proof that they cause birth defects, they do contain Vitamin A, which can be harmful to a fetus in high doses. As an extra precaution, it's advisable to avoid them if possible. If you suffer from acne, it is best to be treated after your baby is born and you are through nursing.

Any Products That Are Too Smelly:
Phthalates are chemicals that are often found in fragranced beauty items like body lotion, perfume, and body spray. They can have a toxic effect on your pregnancy, (namely, they can stunt your baby's proper development), but oftentimes aren't present on labels. So it's best to stay away from anything too fragrant when pregnant.

Skin Whitening/Lightening Products: 
Skin lightening products contain chemicals called hydroquinone or glutathione that are used to bleach skin. They affect the enzymes in your body that produce melanin, and therefore block a natural process needed for your baby to have healthy dermis. Additionally, these ingredients may cause an allergic reaction in some people and should be avoided when pregnant or breastfeeding as well. The downside is that oftentimes, pregnancy causes pigmentation issues. If you happen to experience this, consult your physician and don't take any action until after your pregnancy.

Nail Care Products:
If you must get your nails done when you are pregnant, be sure and have them painted in a well-ventilated area and, if possible, with as few chemical ingredients in the polish, topcoat, basecoat and remover as possible. Studies lead us to believe that workers in nail salons are prone to health problems like stillbirths, birth defects, and stunted developmental growth. There's no study out that definitively proves this, but there is evidence of increased risk of spontaneous abortion among nail salon employees. The bottom line is that it's better to be safe than sorry.

Self Tanner or Spray Tanning:
Since dihydroxyacetone (aka DHA, the main ingredient in chemical self tanner) hasn't been in the mainstream market long enough, we don't know whether it gets absorbed into the bloodstream. However, there are some indications that DHA may be a cause of DNA damage. Because of this, it is best to avoid any self-tanning products, including spray tanner (which is easily inhaled), until more research can be done.

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