Safe Skin Care during Pregnancy – Products and Guide

Safe Skin Care during Pregnancy

Do you know what you are putting on your skin when pregnant? Have you ever looked at the ingredients on your jar of cream? Are you practicing safe skin care during pregnancy?

We often look at the ingredients listed on the packets of foods that we put into our body; but what about the products that we put onto our body?

Next time you are buying body wash, moisturiser, tooth paste or shampoo have a look at the ingredients and see what you are actually putting on your body.

Buy a Natural Cream or Skin Care Product

If the ingredients consist of endless chemicals and names you have never heard of before then look for a cream that contains natural ingredients.

Many countries ban these and other chemicals. The problem is that not all countries do so if you are buying or importing a product from a country that does not ban or regulate the use of dangerous chemicals then you could be exposing yourself to the side-effects.

Safe Skin Care during Pregnancy

What you can do is to buy a product from a reputable brand that clearly labels all ingredients.

1. What to look Out for:

  1. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate – SLS

2. Sodium Laureth Sulphate – SLES

3. Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate – ALS

What are they?
These are synthetic surfactants (surface active agents). They are used for wetting, degreasing and foaming.

Where Can You Find these Chemicals?

  1. Toothpaste

2. Hair products

3. Lotions

4. Moisturisers

5. Bubble bathFree Pregnancy Workouts

What are the Dangers to Your Health?

These ingredients should be avoided as they are easily absorbed into the skin and bloodstream taking other, sometimes toxic ingredients with them. These ingredients can severely affect the eyes and are skin irritants.

The liver and immune system can also be affected. Also, any ‘laureth’ can be contaminated with a carcinogen (cancer causing ingredient).

2. What to Look Out for:
Parabens – ethyl, methyl, butyl, propyl, benzoic acid

What is it?
Used as preservatives to give products a longer shelf life and to kill any bacteria that forms.

Where Can You Find it?

1. Shampoos

2. Soaps

3. Baby products

4. Lotions

What are the Dangers to Our Health?
These may be toxic, can cause allergies and be skin and eye irritants. They are also known to be hormone disrupters and could be linked to fertility problems and abnormalities.

Normally parabens are used in small quantities around 1% which we are told is ‘safe’. What nobody knows yet is what the results are of a build-up in the body over many years. Parabens have been found in breast cancer tissue.

3. What to Look Out for:
Phenylenediamines or PPD

What is it?
Chemical colour.

Where Can You Find it?

1. Hair dyes

2. Tints

3. Colourings

What are the Dangers to Our Health?
Hair dyes containing any of the phenylenediame ingredients or PPD as it is known, have the potential to cause many types of cancer including ovarian cancer, breast cancer, leukaemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The darker dyes like black, browns and reds are more dangerous. The chemicals in these dyes penetrate into your body via the scalp, eyes and nose and can do untold damage.

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4. What to Look Out for:
Formaldehyde – Formalin

What is it?
Used as a preservative, a disinfectant and a fungicide.

Where Can You Find it?


2. Shampoo

3. Lotions

4. Deodorants

5. Make-up


7. Furniture polish

8. Car wax

What are the Dangers to Your Health?

Although it is used in low concentrations in personal care products, nobody can say it is safe in the long term.

Nearly half of all people who come into contact with formaldehyde get some sort of adverse reaction including allergies, headaches, asthma, nausea, fatigue and flu-like symptoms.

You will rarely find ‘formaldehyde’ or ‘formalin’ listed on the ingredients labels of your products.

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Instead, here is a list of chemicals which may contain formaldehyde, release formaldehyde or break down into it:

1. Diol (Bronopol)

2. Bromo-2-Nitropropane (BNPD)

3. Diazolidinyl Urea

4. DMDM Hydantoin

5. Glycolylurea

6. Imidazolidinyl

7. MDM Hydantoin

8. Metheneamine

9. Quaternium 15

10. Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate

11. Toluene Sulfonamide

5. What to Look Out for:

Fragrance – Perfume – Parfum

What is it?

Mixture of chemicals including solvents to make things smell good and/or to mask the smell of other ingredients with less appealing smells! Usually synthetic unless otherwise listed as an ‘essential oil’.

Where Can You Find it?

Practically everything in the house that we use for cleaning, also cosmetics, toilet roll, hair products, obviously anything used as a fragrance, even pens and erasers. It is hard to avoid fragrances.

What are the Dangers to Our Health?

Fragrances and preservatives account for almost all allergic reactions to toiletries and cosmetics, fragrances coming in second after nickel.

Fragrances can cause minor irritations such as headaches, coughing and allergies but have also been linked to depression, hyperactivity, birth defects and chronic fatigue syndrome.

If your family suffers from any of these, it may be worthwhile going ‘fragrance free’ for all your personal care products, cleaning and laundry.

If you like having fragrance then choose products fragranced with essential oils as this is a better option than using toxic chemicals, although doesn’t guarantee you will have no reaction. Here are the worst offenders used in ‘fragrance.’ What you put on your body when pregnant women can affect the well-being of your growing baby.

6. Makeup during Pregnancy

Certain cosmetics contain chemicals that may not be recommended during pregnancy. Many makeup products are marked “non-comedogenic” or “nonacnegenic” which generally mean they are safe and will not affect the health of your baby.

You should aim to avoid cosmetics that contain retinol or salicylic acid.

Avoid products containing these ingredients:

  1. Avage, Fabior, Tazorac (tazarotene)

2. Differin (adapelene)

3. Panretin (alitretinoin)

4. Retin-A, Renova (tretinoin)

5. Retinoic acid

6,. Retinol

7. Retinyl linoleate

8. Retinyl palmitate

9. Targretin gel (bexarotene)

10. Tretinoin

7. Retinoids and Safe Skin Care During Pregnancy

Retinoids are found in some anti-aging moisturizers and treatments for acne, pigment disorders, and plaque psoriasis. They are a type of vitamin A that speeds up cell division and prevents skin collagen from breaking down.

But the problem is that some studies have shown that taking high doses of vitamin A during pregnancy can be harmful to an unborn child.

8. Hydroxy Acids

Hydroxy acids such as beta hydroxy acid (BHA) and alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) are found in products to treat certain skin disorders, including acne, skin inflammation, and redness. Salicylic acid is the most common BHA and studies have shown it may cause birth defects and various pregnancy complications.

Always consult your doctor for advice on any of these products or chemicals.

Safe Skin Care during Pregnancy

There are plenty of creams you can use that contain only natural ingredients. if your creams contain some of the chemicals listed above then it’s time to throw them out and by natural!

Be strong for pregnancy and motherhood

Kerryn Boyle
Kerryn Boyle
Kerryn is a Prenatal Exercise Instructor. Kerryn’s areas of expertise includes providing women with safe at-home pregnancy workouts and postpartum workouts. From pregnancy yoga classes to week by week, it's all right here.

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