What skincare products to avoid during pregnancy

Photo by lucas mendes from PexelsPregnancy, it’s a time of many significant changes in your body, and not always in the ways you’d expect. Long before you even begin to look the part, your hormones will take you on a wild ride, shifting not just your emotional state, but your physical one too. Your skin is not exempt from these changes and while your first thought might be to combat them with your tried and true methods, there might be some ingredients that you want to consult your doctor about in the products you’ve always sweared by due to their potential to cause birth defects. 

The FDA classifies ingredients in different categories to rate their potential to cause harm to the fetus. Category C means these substances have been shown to cause an adverse effect to the fetus in animal production studies but haven’t been studied well enough in humans. Category X means that there is evidence of human fetal risk and the risks outweigh the potential benefits. 

Here are a few ingredients below that you’ll want to look out for in your beauty cabinet:
Category C: 

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate - A foaming agent found in shampoos and soaps, this chemical has been found to cause birth defects in animal studies.  

Benzoyl Peroxide - Known for fighting acne, this ingredient has been shown to pose a risk to the fetus

Aluminum chloride hexahydrate: This is the ingredient in antiperspirants that prevents you from sweating and it is potentially a carcinogenic. 

Retinoids - Found in a lot of anti-aging and anti-acne products, retinoid use should be put on hold until after pregnancy. 

Hydroquinone: While this skin-lightening ingredient is tempting to use to help with dark-spots or melasma, it isn’t well-researched enough to know whether or not it's a risk. It’s better to avoid and use sunscreen for prevention

Category X:
Tazarotene and Isotretinoin: both of these forms of retinoids are known to cause harm to the fetus.

Not categorized but should be considered: 

Formaldehyde - A chemical found in some hair-straightening procedures and nail polishes, formaldehyde isn’t classified by the FDA as a risk, but many ob-gyns and dermatologists recommend pregnant women avoid it.

Botulinum Toxin - While botox and other injectables aren’t formally on the list, they are toxins that work by paralyzing the muscles and aren’t recommended as something to use during pregnancy.

Chemical Sunscreens - While sunscreen is a must during pregnancy, try to stick to zinc oxide and titanium oxide, and avoid ingredients like avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, octinoxate, menthyl anthranilate, and octocrylene. They are not classified under the FDA categories but there is some suggestion of risk so it's better to stick to the safe ingredients. 

Salicylic acid: Doctors recommend using products that are less than 2% during pregnancy and not going overboard with use. 

Parabens and Phthalates - these product preservers are found in both skincare and haircare and potentially linked to negatively affecting the reproductive system