There are two things everyone knows about pregnancy: (1) pregnant women do some serious glowing, and (2) do not ever call a pregnant woman crazy. Ever.
But back to that first one, real quick—you know, the whole glowing thing. For most women, pregnancy does bring a luminescent quality to the skin. But that doesn’t mean she’s going to forego her favorite beauty products or even be free of skin issues during pregnancy.
And if beauty products are a mainstay, it’s important to know that ingredients in personal care product, and some—even seemingly harmless ones—can be dangerous to your baby, even in small doses. Here’s what you need to know.
While doctors are quick to tell you to avoid eating mercury-laden fish, or watching your intake of sweets during pregnancy, they tend to have very few words about skincare products. They may advise you to not dye your hair or wear excessive amounts of lipstick, but the consensus is still that most personal care products are safe. And, they may be, but why risk it?
Here’s an alphabetical list of common conventional personal care ingredients to avoid during pregnancy from FitPregnany.com:
- Aluminum chloride hexahydrate: Found in antiperspirant; check for aluminum chloride hexahydrate and aluminium chlorohydrate.
- Beta hydroxy acids: Salicylic acid, 3-hydroxypropionic acid, trethocanic acid and tropic acid.
- Chemical sunscreens: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, oxtinoxate, menthyl anthranilate and oxtocrylene.
- Diethanolamine (DEA): Found in hair and body products; stay clear of diethanolamine, oleamide DEA, lauramide DEA and cocamide DEA.
- Dihydroxyacetone (DHA): Found in spray self-tanners; could be harmful if inhaled.
- Formaldehyde: Found in hair straightening treatments, nail polishes and eyelash glue; look for formaldehyde, quaternium-15, dimethyl-dimethyl (DMDM), hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, and 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol).
- Hydroquinone: A lightening agent; abstain from hydroquinone, idrochinone and quinol/1-4 dihydroxy benzene/1-4 hydroxy benzene.
- Parabens: Keep away from propyl, butyl, isopropyl, isobutyl and methyl parabens.
- Phthalates: Found in products with synthetic fragrances and nail polishes; avoid diethyl and dibutyl especially.
- Retinol: Vitamin A, retinoic acid, retinyl palmitate, retinaldehyde, adapalene, tretinoin, tazarotene and isotretinoin.
- Thioglycolic acid: Found in chemical hair removers; can also be labeled acetyl mercaptan, mercaptoacetate, mercaptoacetic acid and thiovanic acid.
- Toluene: Found in nail polishes; skip methylbenzene, toluol and antisal 1a.
And, remember, just because something is listed as “natural” does not mean it doesn’t pose risks to you or the baby. So be sure to research the safety of ingredients such as concentrated essential oils or botanical extracts, and definitely don’t let anyone call you crazy for scrutinizing those labels.
Not yet using certified organic skincare products? Here’s why you should.
It’s beautiful, sensual, and functional—it defines us in so many ways, giving shape to our bodies, a face to our soul. It’s easy to forget though that our skin is an organ —from the pads on our fingertips and toes to our lips, ears, elbows, belly buttons—constantly at work just like those organs inside us that it dutifully protects.
So with skin being part of—not a coating on top of—our bodies, do you really want to slather synthetic chemicals and pesticides all over this vital organ?
Our skin’s protective duties aren’t the only reason organic skincare products make sense. The skin is a doorway into the body (more like a slow-absorbing sponge). It delivers nearly 70 percent of everything that’s put on it into the bloodstream and, eventually, those substances make their way into every other organ.
For decades, though, women and men have treated their skin more like an accessory than a part of our delicate bodies. One of our go-to ingredients in beauty products is derived from toxic petrochemicals (mineral oil). Even today, manufacturers of beauty products for the skin and hair use words like “natural” and “pure”—and that may be the case for some of the ingredients in the product. But when those are comingled with harsh synthetic ingredients with dangerous side effects, the natural and pure ingredients don’t seem to matter as much.
Like the food we eat, skin and hair care products made with certified organic ingredients benefit us in numerous ways. The organic label lets you know that the ingredients—which may be pure in their own right (think almond oil or lavender)—aren’t carrying hidden toxins by way of pesticide, herbicide, or chemical fertilizers or fungicides used during the growing process.
And that’s a big plus for your skin, for your body.
Numerous pesticides and herbicides have been linked to certain health risks including endocrine disruption and certain types of cancer. And if you think just opting for organic food at the supermarket is your best bet for avoiding those risks, you’re missing part of the picture, particularly if your beauty products are still filled with harmful chemical ingredients.
But of course, not every skincare item has a certified organic counterpart. We at Zatik Natural are thrilled to be one of many brands creating certified organic skincare, but there’s still a long way for this industry to go.
So, what if you can’t find a certified organic product you like? Here are a few rules we cherish:
- Are there chemical-sounding ingredients? Granted chemicals are in all things, some are just natural, and some just aren’t. So, if you see ingredients that sound like they were made in a lab, they probably were, and it may be best to avoid those.
- Reference the EWG Skin Deep database. This tool is a gold mine of information and rankings for all kinds of personal care items. Our products were just added to the database. You can search by brand or ingredient for a thorough breakdown of risks and dangers.
- DIY-it! One of the best and often easiest ways to ensure you’re getting clean skincare is to just make it yourself. It may be too complicated for a shampoo or toothpaste, but you can easily whip up body scrubs, face masks, and even lip balms with just a few ingredients and a little time.