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Cosmetic safety in pregnancy

In an age where our senses are continually assaulted by advertising hype for any and every conceivable wonder product, apparently guaranteed to keep you young and beautiful forever, it’s each one’s responsibility to take a deeper than skin look at the colourful array of options on the market.

For instance, some chemicals in body lotions and creams can be harmful to your developing baby. It’s important to read the labels of every product you use, and choose only those that specify that they’re safe for use during pregnancy. To be extra safe, avoid any products that contain these three ingredients:

  • Salicylic acid: This is found in various cleansers, toners, exfoliants and chemical peels. It’s also known as beta hydroxy acid or BHA.
  • Retinoids:These are often found in anti-aging moisturisers and tissue oils. Retinoids taken in pill form cause serious birth defects, so it’s best to avoid creams that contain these too. Other names include, Retin-A, retinoic acid, and tazarotene.
  • Phthalates:These are found in a variety of products, including skincare products, plastics and food packaging. They’re often referred to only as ‘Fragrance’. It’s extremely difficult to avoid these completely, but try to limit your exposure as much as possible.

In pregnancy, beauty treatments must be used with caution. Some are safe, some are not.

  • Chemical bleaching or peels:These chemicals are dangerous for your developing baby, and should be avoided. If you have chloasma (dark ‘patches’ of skin during pregnancy), avoid soy-based skincare products, as they’ll only make it worse.
  • Waxing: This is safe, but go to a reputable salon and make sure the beautician knows you’re pregnant. Note, because there’s more blood flowing to your skin, a wax will be more painful than you’re used to, especially if you go for a bikini wax or Brazilian.
  • Tanning: Gentle exposure to the sun is good for you, but make sure you don’t burn, and stay out of midday sun as Baby may overheat in the womb. Stay away from sunbeds completely. Don’t use tanning lotions or sprays, as the chemicals may be harmful to Baby.
  • Hair dye and treatments:Professional products are mostly safe if used infrequently. Go to a good salon, and make sure the stylist knows you’re pregnant.
  • Manicures and pedicures:Nail polish may contain tolulene, dibutyl phthalate and formaldehyde, which are all dangerous for Baby. Avoid painting your nails during the first trimester, then choose nail polish that doesn’t have any of these chemicals.

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