By Naomi Gurney
If you’re a mom-to-be, you’ll want the very best for your unborn baby. You give up the drinks, you take your pre-natal vitamins and pre-natal visits, you avoid the brie, the blue cheese and the sushi, but what about what’s absorbed through your skin? Here’s some info on what beauty ingredients to avoid during pregnancy, or if you’re going to breast-feed, until baby is happily weaned.
Salicylic acid is found in a number of different skincare products, mostly toners and cleansers. It helps exfoliate your pores from the inside out and, as its in the aspirin family, it can also soothe inflammation or redness. In such small amounts its fine, but salicylic acid in the oral form of medication, however, should be avoided at all costs as it has been shown to harm developing babies. Also, having skin peels that contain high levels of salicylic acid are not recommended during this time.
Retnoids are powerful substances that are often found in anti-aging moisturizers. Retinoids are a type of vitamin A that help speed up cell turnover and prevent the breakdown of collagen skin fibres. The use of all oral retinoids such as Accutane, should be avoided altogether by pregnant women as studies have shown that it causes birth defects.
Some pregnant women think that using natural products such as Soy won’t do any harm. However, it can sometimes make skin problems worse, such as the ‘the mask of pregnancy’, which is essentially hyperpigmentation of the skin. The problem with soy is that it has an estrogenic effect on the skin, and can make those little brown patches (under the eyes and along cheekbones normally) darker.
Essential oils – don’t assume that because something is natural, it’ll be safe for your baby. Pregnant women also have to be careful with essential oils. Some oils are very stimulating and can accelerate your heart rhythm. As a consequence the baby’s heart rate increases and this can sometimes lead to a miscarriage. The best advice is to avoid and use basic oil like grape seed oil in your pre-pregnancy massage. Also remember that when breast feeding if you have a massage with essential oils this can change the taste of your milk.
Colouring your hair while pregnant has not been proven unsafe since too little of the chemicals enter your system. If you’re still concerned, wait until after the first trimester and have it done professionally. You can also try high or lowlights instead, since there’s no direct contact of the chemicals with your scalp. 100% pure Henna is also an option.
If you are ever concerned or need advice on what products to use, please contact your Gynaecologist or health care provider.