⚠️8 ingredients to avoid during pregnancy🤰

Jun. 19, 2020
You know what foods to avoid during pregnancy, but did you know there are skincare and cosmetic products you shouldn’t use too? If you haven’t made a list yet, this article’s for you.
As your body prepares to deliver the miracle of life, you’ll feel a lot of things out of whack – you hair is different. Your skin balance changes. Your hormones are all over the place. What needs to change though is not only your diet and lifestyle, but also your skincare routine. Products you have relied on and taken for granted might need to go – for now – to make sure the baby inside your womb develops safely and healthily. 
The FDA has a useful alphabetical categorisation that ranks products based on their safety for the fetus. Categories A and B and considered safe during pregnancy, category C means risks cannot be ruled out, Category D means there is proven positive evidence of fetal risk, and you’ll want to avoid category X at all costs – it means there’ve been demonstrated fetal abnormalities.
Don’t freak out – if it all sounds too overwhelming, Cherie’s got your back. Today, I’ve selected the top 8 ingredients to avoid during pregnancy so that you can maintain a glowing maternal complexion without fear.
Botulinum Toxin
Injectable products like Botox, Dysport or Xeomin have not been officially tested on pregnant mothers and the effects observed on a fetus. But considering that botulinum toxin is a neurotoxin that stops the neurons connected to your muscles to stop firing, and that it’s one of the most poisonous substances ever known to mankind, it’s probably for the better that you don’t roll the dice on your baby.
Chemical Sunscreens
Although sunscreen is a must-have during pregnancy, you’ll want to pay attention to what kind of sunscreen you use. Chemical sunscreens that contain avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, oxybenzone, oxtinoxate, methyl anthranilate, oxtocrylene and octocrylene are not recommended. While the claims that chemical sunscreens are harmful for the growing fetus have not been fully substantiated yet, it’s safer to put on physical sunscreen – that slightly stickier white stuff containing zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.
This chemical isn’t currently classified under FDA categories, but you’ve watched enough movies to know that this is the stuff used to kill mice and knock out humans in kidnappings. Formaldehyde has been linked to cancer, chest pain, coughing, and other respiratory problems. So to be on the safe side, you might want to check your nail polish to make sure they contain the label “3-Free” or “5-Free”, and to avoid Japanese and Brazilian hair-straightening procedures that use formaldehyde in the process.
You might be accustomed to using hydroquinone to treat dark spots and hyperpigmentation, and especially during pregnancy you might be tempted to use it to treat melasma. Beware – hydroquinone falls into category C, so you definitely want to steer clear. Try skin-lightening creams containing rosehip oil instead.
Parabens has received a lot of bad press in recent years because it’s been linked to breast cancer and diseases that the reproductive system. While many of these claims are still under heated debate, and there hasn’t been any concrete scientific proof that these causal links are true, you still want to make sure you’re looking after yourself and your growing baby. So it’s best to watch out for parabens in your products – used as a preservative and found in almost anything from foundations to styling gel.
Retinol and other Vitamin A derivatives
Vitamin A and many of its derivatives fall into category C, so it could pose a risk to the fetus. Many ob-gyns recommend avoiding this ingredient altogether, as a high concentration of vitamin A could cause serious birth defects and liver toxicity. Retin-A is usually found in prescription medication, whilst the other vitamin A products are found in many OTC skincare products like night creams. These derivatives also come under different names: retinoic acid, retinaldehyde, adapalene, tretinoin, tazarotene, and isotretinoin (Accutane).
Salicylic acid
Salicylic acid is commonly used to treat acne, but has been popularised as an ingredient for exfoliation in many product formulations, in particular cleansers and combination peels. It’s not clear how bad the damage is when applied topically, but oral use has been shown to increase the risk for intracranial bleeding in the fetus. That’s probably scary enough for you to consider taking a break from salicylic acid during pregnancy. Instead, you can opt for other face acids like glycolic, lactic and mandelic acid, which are perfectly safe and good to give your face a refreshed and rejuvenated feel.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
This is a staple ingredient that’s used in shampoos, soaps and other beauty products. It acts as a surfactant, reducing the surface tension between ingredients to give you a nice, foamy feel. However, prolonged exposure to high concentrations – and this could be the case because our bodies are unable to naturally break it down – can cause problems with the nervous system, kidney and liver. If ingested, it could cause nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
What skincare routine works and what doesn’t during pregnancy? Share your experiences with us below!
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