Best Face Forward: Safe Beauty Products for Pregnancy and Nursing
Good news! When used according to the instructions on the package, hair removes and depilatories (such as Nair or Neet) are safe for women to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding—a relief to many women, since shaving during pregnancy can be especially difficult.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid or severely limit exposure to products that contain DEET (Diethyltoluamide). As with anything that is applied to the skin, especially in large doses, DEET can be absorbed through your skin and enter the bloodstream. There is not enough research showing DEET’s effects on human pregnancies, but DEET has been shown to cause problems for some animals.
A good alternative to DEET is citronella oil, which is thought to have natural ability to repel insects. There is not enough research on its use in pregnancy, so to be safe and apply it to your clothes. This should help keep the bugs away.
Body Products with Soy
Products containing soy are generally safe to use, but “Soy can make the ‘mask of pregnancy‘ (dark splotches on facial skin) worse, as can oil of bergamot, which is in many organic products,” says Dr. Baumann.
Hydrocortisone and Benadryl Cream
These creams used for rashes or itching are safe for use in pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Cosmetics & Hair Care
Don’t worry, you don’t have to go without makeup! However, doctors agree that you should avoid products containing retinoids or salicylic acids.
Using a small of amount of a salicylic cream for acne or using a toner once or twice a day is safe. Many foundations and creams that cover a larger area and are not washed off can be more readily absorbed and are best to avoid.
Glycols and phlates (two chemicals found in shampoos and many cosmetics) are causing concern among researchers, and it is recommended that you check your product labels and steer clear of these two ingredients. When possible, use sparingly or not at all.
Also, avoid hair dyes, dandruff shampoos with coal tar, and retinol. When in doubt use simple, natural products and check with your doctor.
During pregnancy your skin may be sensitive, and products you have used before pregnancy may now cause irritation. Discontinue use of anything that causes irritation or rash and consult with your obstetrician or dermatologist. Always ask your doctor or midwife if you are unsure about a specific product.
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