If you’re pregnant, trying to conceive or are breastfeeding, there are certain ingredients found in certain cosmetics that you should aim to avoid. It can be easy to know what you should and shouldn’t be eating and drinking but when it comes to the beauty products you use on a daily basis, it’s not unusual to be left feeling baffled. That’s why we’ve broken it down for you, ingredient by ingredient, in the simplest way we can.
Aluminum chloride hexahydrate
This is an ingredient often found in products like deodorant and antiperspirant. When you’re checking labels, look out for things called ‘aluminum chloride hexahydrate’ and ‘aluminum chlorohydrate.’
Beta hydroxy acids
These include the likes of salicylic acid, 3-hydroxypropionic acid, tropic acid and trethocanic acid and are often found in over-the-counter products that are used for treating acne-prone skin. While pregnant, use these sparingly as larger amounts taken orally have been proven to cause various pregnancy complications.
When buying sunscreen, try and avoid products that contain any of the following:
avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, oxtinoxate, menthyl anthranilate, and octocrylene. Instead, choose a brand that contains titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as these will provide protection from the sun but won’t penetrate the skin.
This is a common ingredient found in many hair and body products. Some brands might claim that this is a natural ingredient, but it is not. Pay particular attention to creamy foundations, moisturisers, and sunscreens.
If you’re a self-tanning junkie, you might have to switch to a brand that doesn’t contain this ingredient. This chemical reacts with the top layer of your skin to change its colour but inhaling it can be unhealthy for you and your baby.
This is in products used for hair straitening, nail polishes and eyelash glue. Although the use of formaldehyde in cosmetic products is strictly regulated, long-term overexposure has been found to cause cancer whether a person is pregnant or not.
This is a lightening agent usually found in products that aim to clear up skin pigmentation and dark spots.
These are the most widely used preservatives in beauty cosmetics so although it might be difficult to avoid them completely you should steer clear of using too much. In the ingredients list, parabens tend to be listed with prefixes including propyl-, isopropyl-, butyl-, methyl-, ethyl-, and isobutylparabens.
Most products with synthetic fragrances include phthalates. Avoid the likes of diethyl and dibutyl. In recent years there has been evidence to suggest that these disrupting chemicals can increase the chances of a miscarriage and gestational diabetes.
An excessive amount of vitamin A has been found to cause severe congenital disabilities. Rather than using products that include vitamin A, retinoic acid, retinaldehyde, adapalene, etc., opt for natural body care that will be 100% safe to use throughout the course of your pregnancy.
As it stands, there are no studies to show that thioglycolic acid unsafe during pregnancy, but there are also none to show that it is completely safe. In this instance, it’s best to avoid it as much as you can. This ingredient can often be labeled as acetyl mercaptan, mercaptoacetate, mercaptoacetic acid and thiocyanic acid.
Toluene is well-known for having the potential ability to disrupt fetal health when used during pregnancy. This chemical is found in nail products and can cause something known as ‘fetal solvent syndrome’ whereby children can suffer mental impairment and reduced growth of the head once born.