Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Safe Skin Care During Pregnancy

Well, it’s that time. Pretty much everyone I know is either pregnant, just got done being pregnant, trying to get getting pregnant or is already an experienced mommy.  While I personally don’t fall into any of the above categories, family planning is definitely on my mind and so I decided to do a series on pregnancy and children. First up: products that might just make pregnancy a little bit easier.

Ahh, pregnancy. Let me start out by saying, I am not pregnant, nor have I ever been pregnant, so this list of products that I have compiled is a result of many, many hours of research, reading ingredients lists, reading thousands of customer testimonials, and testing products on my un-pregnant self.  I do plan on starting a family sometime in the near future, so I figure that it could never hurt to have these products around.  Anyways, when I started my research, I found that there are several ingredients that pregnant woman are encouraged to avoid during their nine months. Now, everyone knows that drinking, smoking, and eating raw fish are frowned upon during pregnancy, but it seems that you may have to watch what you put ON your body as well as what you put in to it. Besides that, pregnancy skin is known to be UBER sensitive, so these kinds of things can be very trial and error. Always be on the look out for stuff that is hypoallergenic and fragrance-free. Also, keep in mind that the words "natural" or "organic" don't mean that they will not have ingredients in them that you will not be sensitive to, or even that they will be free of ingredients that can be harmful to you and your baby. 

First on the pregnancy no-no list is salicylic acid, also known as BHA or beta hydroxy acid. Salicylic acid is most commonly used in skincare products that have anti-aging properties or are intended to treat acne. High doses of BHA’s are shown to cause birth defects and other pregnancy complications. Another skin care ingredient that should be avoided during pregnancy is retinoids. Again, retinoids are used to treat acne and aging skin, and can be found in several products such as Differin, Retin A, and Accutane.  Retinoids are formed from Vitamin A, which in high dosages during pregnancy can cause problems for the unborn child.  Benzoyl peroxide is a no-no as well, so don’t even think about reaching for that Proactiv! Avoiding these types of ingredients can be problematic for those facing the ever-present pregnancy acne, but I will list a few skincare options below to help with breakouts that are safe to use during those nine months.

Next up are ingredients commonly found in bath and body products: parabens and phthalates. Parabens are very common preservatives used in skin care products, listed in the ingredients as things like methylparaben or propylparaben.  Parabens have been shown to be endocrine disruptors, especially in the reproductive systems of baby boys. There has also been a link to parabens and breast cancer as well. Best to steer clear, especially during pregnancy.

Phthalates are often a bit more difficult to find in ingredient lists, and are sometimes just found under the catch-all term “fragrance,” but is sometimes listed as DBP (dibutyl phthalate). Pretty much any product that has a strong fragrance (perfume, scented body lotion, etc.) will contain phthalates. Phthalates have also shown to disrupt the endocrine system, specifically affecting the development of the male reproductive system. However, this doesn’t mean that “natural fragrances” are any better. So-called “natural fragrances” often contain essential oils, many of which can be as or even more harmful than phthalates. I will provide several bath and body products below that are safe for pregnancy, but all in all, do your research. Some of these ingredients, especially certain essential oils, can be toxic for your baby.

There is much debate on whether or not hair dye or cream hair removers are safe for pregnancy, and based on my personal research, I see no reason why you couldn’t use these occasionally during those nine months. The main concern would be the fragrance in these products, which would more than likely contain phthalates, so use your discretion.

So this blog post will probably earn me some flak for being too crunchy, or overly cautious, but I figure pregnancy is only nine months out of your life, and if what you put on your body may have some soft of effect on your unborn child, why not err on the side of caution? So here is my list of products that I would recommend for the mother-to-be!

Oh, and one last note: always use sunscreen during pregnancy! Your skin will become tenfold more sensitive during that time, and any sun damage that you may receive will be magnified. Your skin will thank you!

DISCLAIMER: This blog entry is not intended in any way to replace the advice of a doctor, and you should always be sure to consult them with any product that you may be unsure of for use during pregnancy. 


Basis Sensitive Skin Bar, $2.89
purchase on drugstore.com


I remember waaaaay back in the day my doctor recommending me to use the Basis bar on my face. I used it for awhile with good results but have since moved onto other things. However, when a pregnant friend said that this was the only facial soap she could use during pregnancy, I gave it a second look. It contains ingredients such as aloe and chamomile, which are safe for pregnancy and have calming effects on the skin as well. Also, it contains no harsh detergents which may dry out skin be harmful for the baby. My friend also said this was the only thing she could use once that third-trimester PUPPP rash reared its ugly (not to mention extremely painful) head. All in all, at less than three bucks a pop, it couldn't hurt to have one of these lying around. 




Belli Pregnancy Acne Cleansing Face Wash, $22
purchase on belliskincare.com

First up is the acne facial cleanser by Belli. Now as I mentioned before, acne treatment can get a little tricky during pregnancy because so many ingredients that will help acne can actually harm your baby. The Belli line has some super awesome products for the mother-to-be, and this is no exception. It is free of all the non-pregnancy stuff like salicylic acid and retinoids, and contains lactic acid and lemon peel oil to help with the blemishes, as well as the cucumber and green tea extracts to help keep your complexion glowing. This stuff is cool because it can also be used as a mask if you leave it on the skin for five minutes. You know how much I love those multi-taskers! Belli Pregnancy also has an awesome facial sunscreen that I would recommend in conjunction with this cleanser.




Beauté de Maman Face and Body Cream, $24.99
purchase on beautedemaman.com


While this cream is touted as being both for face and body, I would consider it mainly for facial use. Beauté de Maman is another great pregnancy skincare line whose creators were very conscious of the ingredients they put in the products. This cream is targeted for those with oily and blemished skin that has been caused by pregnancy. Instead of using harsh, toxic ingredients, this face cream contains tea tree, peppermint and lavender oils which act as natural antibacterial agents to help clear up acne. This cream is very lightweight and not greasy at all, and can be used in conjunction with your favorite sunscreen if wearing during the day.





Mario Badescu Drying Cream, $14
purchase on mariobadescu.com


This stuff is awesome! MB drying cream is the perfect spot treatment for those big, underground pimples that seem to plague many pregnant women. Common treatments for large blemishes contain unsafe ingredients such as BHAs or benzoyl peroxide, but this cream has neither of those. It contains sulfur and zinc to help dry up the zit and aloe to help soothe. I've used this stuff for awhile now, and it beats out pretty much anything for taking care of the big suckers. Best of all, it's pregnancy safe!

Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Stretch Oil, $19.95
purchase on earthmamaangelbaby.com

Aaaand on to the next common pregnancy affliction: stretch marks!! They say that it's genetic, and if you're gonna get stretch marks, you're gonna get them, no matter how much crap you rub on your belly. Whether or not that is true, I don't know, but I do know that keeping your skin moisturized will greatly reduce your chances of having significant marks. Earth Mama Angel Baby has an absolutely FABULOUS line of products, for both pregnancy and post-partum. When the day comes where I actually get pregnant, I'm sure I'll end up buying every product they make.
This Stretch Oil is one of their best selling products, and for good reason. It is super lightweight and rubs in well, so there is no greasiness and staining of the clothing. Most women say that this is awesome to put on right after the shower, and it just soaks right in. They find that they can apply this several times a day without it building up as well. It contains several pregnancy safe oils such as chamomile and calendula to soothe the skin, as well as borage and neroli oil to help the skin's elasticity. Some even say that the light, refreshing smell helps relieve their morning sickness. Bonus!!!

Carol's Daughter Sexy Belly, $22
purchase on carolsdaughter.com


I just cringe every time I see a pregnant woman buying that Vaseline Cocoa Butter from Target, thinking that it will help with those stretch marks. Sure, those who are genetically blessed will rant and rave about how they have no stretch marks after using it, but the rest of the folks out there need a bit more help than a petroleum based (read: not cocoa butter based) product can give them. This is where Sexy Belly steps in. This, used with the Earth Mama Angel Baby Stretch Oil can really give those stretch marks the 1,2 punch. This SUPER DUPER THICK cream is a bit greasy, so it is best used before bed time with an old t-shirt. However, it is worth it! This stuff is packed full of shea and cocoa butters for maximum moisture, along with tamanu seed oil, sunflower oil and sweet almond oil to really lock in the moisture. Plus, it's paraben free, contains no mineral oil or other artificial stuff.


Mustela Ultimate Hydration, $21.99
purchase on babiesrus.com

Your belly isn't the only thing that will need extra TLC during your pregnancy, as many pregnant women report being having SUPER itchy and dry skin everywhere during those nine months. This Mustela cream could just be the answer to that dry, itchy skin. It's hypoallergenic to provide insurance against fickle pregnancy skin, and contains glycerin and  plant ceramides to help seal in moisture. It has licorice root and avocado to help sooth irritated skin as well. Overall, a great well-rounded product that can really provide relief for those minor pregnancy skin irritations.



Dr. Bronner's Baby Mild Liquid Castile Soap, $15.75
purchase on drbronner.com


Castile soap is so cool. It is am oil based soap which uses a process to saponify vegetable oils into soap! Not only is this stuff great for body use, but it is can be used for household cleaning and laundry as well - it is said to have 18 different uses! I put this soap here because it is excellent for use during pregnancy. It has no added fragrance, which means that it is phthalate free, and it is excellent for the often overly-sensitive pregnancy skin. Even better, after your baby is born, you can use it on him or her as well.

Eco Tools Bamboo Loofah Brush, $5.99
purchase on drugstore.com

This is an itchy pregnant woman's dream! It has a giant scrubby thing to help scratch that itch, and it's on a stick so you don't have to worry about trying to reach all those awkward places with a huge belly. Keep this bad boy in the shower and wash with your Dr. Bronner's soap, and you will exfoliate all those dead skin cells and be clean and smooth, and hopefully, relatively itch free every time you emerge from the shower!







LAVANILA Vanilla Lavender Eau de Parfum, $39
purchase on sephora.com


Okay, there may not be many days during your pregnancy when you feel like spraying on some perfume, but when you feel like a little pick-me-up on a particularly non-barfy day, this could be a great option. I LOVE LAVANILA FRAGRANCES!!!!! Quite possibly, one of my favorite perfume houses of all time. For serious. I am a sucker for anything vanilla, and this stuff is great because it is one of the most natural lines out there. It contains no parabens, and most importantly, NO PHTHALATES! Yes, a fragrance with no phthalates; it does exist. The Vanilla Lavender is a great option because lavender oil is a said to have soothing and relaxing properties, and better yet, it is pregnancy safe. I've always loved lavender-vanilla fragrance blends, there is just something so comforting about the scent. This all-natural, paraben and phthalate free fragrance is a great option for the pregnant ladies out there. 

Belli Pregnancy Foot Relief Cream, $18
purchase on belliskincare.com

Okay, I try not to put more than one thing by the same company on each of my blog posts, but I couldn't help myself with this stuff. Everyone know's that pregnancy can turn your once cute, petite little feet into painful, swollen, bulbous stumps without notice. This is where the Belli Foot Relief Cream comes in. It contains small amount of peppermint, tea tree oil, and menthol to cool and refresh those tired and swollen feet. The best thing to do is to get your significant other or a good friend to give you a nice 10-15 minute foot-and-calf massage with this stuff. Your tired tootsies will thank you! Every swollen and crabby pregnant lady should have some of this stuff on hand.





So, I hope that this has helped some of you prego ladies out there! Next up will be quick blog post on some makeup items that can be great during pregnancy. Stay tuned!

3 comments:

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