Even if you’re not necessarily very conscious of what’s in your favorite beauty products on the regular, it’s common knowledge that there can be some harsh ingredients present in them. With pregnancy, many women become keen to these elements and strive to clean up their routine with safer products. We talked to a few experts about what you should be looking for on the ingredients label so that you know what beauty products to avoid during pregnancy.
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Dr. Vermén Verallo-Rowell of VMV Hypoallergenics, among other doctors, suggested avoiding products with ingredients that are not washed off easily, such as hydrocortisone, hydroquinone, parabens, DEA, triethanolamine, soy and chemical sunscreens. “While the skin does not allow significant penetration of most ingredients (often less than 2%), it is wise to stay away from all of these ingredients because if the internal toxicity that can be generated,” says Dr. Ben Johnson, MD, founder of Osmosis Skincare. Dr. Johnson shines a spotlight on retinol/retinoid acid which may be present in your acne or anti-aging products— not to be confused with retinoids: “While retinoids do become retinoid acid, the process is carefully controlled at the skin level and happens thousands of times a day naturally whether you use retinoids topically or not.”
If you love playing up your eyes with false lashes, you may need to pick out some new glue. “Eyelash adhesives used to apply fake lashes can contain very harsh chemicals including formaldehyde, ammonia and many others – and should absolutely not be used by pregnant women,” says Emily Lyons from True Glue, a brand that offers all-natural lash adhesive. “The eye is a mucus membrane and these chemicals are going right into the blood stream.”
As for your nails, make sure that you are always using base coat below your color. Just like your skin, your fingernails are made up of epidermis cells and keratin that lets water pass through them, along with pigment and other chemicals in nail polish. Not only will a base coat keep polish from staining your nails, but it will also help keep harmful ingredients out. Opt for polishes that are “5-free,” which omit formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, camphor & dibutyl phthalate. Our pick: anything from Zoya— they have gorgeous shades that are healthy on nails. See swatches of some of their beautiful collections here.
Even when you’ve got what seems like pregnancy-safe products, always be sure to completely wash everything off at the end of the night with a gentle cleanser. Keeping a facial spray nearby is great for misting off dirt and oil with pure mineral water when your tap water doesn’t seem to cut it, or leaves your skin feeling dry.
Consult your physician for more tips on products to avoid during pregnancy.
Miranda Mendelson (she/her) has a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from California State University, Northridge with a minor in Women’s Studies. She is an owner/partner in BabyNames.com and daughter of founder Jennifer Moss.
Miranda is a long-time beauty influencer and entrepreneur, authoring her own blog and social media channels under SlashedBeauty.com.