How to Ensure Safe Skincare During Pregnancy

The best way to protect you and your child from hidden harms is to limit the use of chemically derived soaps, cleansers, shampoos, and wipes and choose products with organically grown ingredients and essential oils.

Besides direct contact with water while bathing, the next most prevalent items in contact with you and your little ones body are soaps, shampoos, powders, and lotions. Most of these products on standard store shelves contain high levels of “fragrances” which are basically a concoction of chemicals and oils that create an illusion of a pleasant smell. Additionally, the majority of these products contain harmful phthalates in the plastic bottle and within the chemicals used to stabilize the fragrances.

The best way to protect your child is to limit the use of chemically derived soaps, cleansers, shampoos, and wipes and choose products with organically grown materials and essential oils. A baby’s skin is very sensitive and highly permeable. Also consider a simple sponge bath with warm water on occasion. And don’t forget about the rest of the family. Everyone should choose products with healthy ingredients and avoid chemicals whenever possible.

Buyer Beware
When looking to purchase any personal care product, be sure to read past the “organic” and “natural” text that is often the focal point of the label. The cosmetic industry is still in flux with standardizing the definition of these terms. As a reference, the term Hypoallergenic, for example, can be used without proof or verification of the claim. Only 1 percent of a hygiene product must be organic in origin for the label “organic” to be included on the product. Also, make sure any fragrances are from natural essential oils. Always read the label to discern what is in the product.

Prolonged Exposure
Many of the chemicals currently being used in personal and baby care products are used under the premise that they fall within “safe” limits of exposure. However, this safe limit of exposure does not take into account the cumulative effect of all the various products used on a daily basis over multiple years.

Also, keep in mind that besides the fact that infants and children are more sensitive and susceptible than adults, everyone has different tolerances – one child may not react at all to particular chemical, ingredient, or product whereas another child may have an immediate (allergic or toxicologic) reaction when exposed to just the slightest bit of a substance.

Ingredients to avoid
In order to find the best beauty products during pregnancy, try avoid the following chemicals and seek out a healthier product alternative:

  • Parabens: A group of presevatives that including propylparaben, butylparaben, and methylparagen.
  • Phthalates: Recent studies have linked phthalates to reproductive development and endocrine problems
  • Coal Tar: may be found in baby soaps, shampoos and bath products. Typically found in dandruff shampoos and other scalp treatment products, coal tar is a known carcinogen and should be avoided.
  • Phenylenediamines (PPD): Typically found in hair dye and coloring products.
  • Lead acetate: Typically found in hair dye and coloring products and some facial cleansers. Lead acetate contains lead.
  • Mercury: Often labeled as thimerosal and can be found in mascara. see heavy metals link
  • Formaldehyde: Often labeled as formalin.
  • Diethanolamine (DEA): Often labeled as lauryl diethanolamide or coco diethanolamide.
  • Toluene: commonly found in nail treatments. Side effects include disruption of neural development of fetuses.
  • Petroleum Distallates
  • Methylisothiazolinone (MIT):
    used as a preservative in many shampoos, conditioners, body washes, and other bath products and baby wipes.
  • Benzophenone: component of sunscreesns that mimics estrogen.
  • Homosalate: component of sunscreesns that mimics estrogen
  • Octyl-methoxycinnamate: component of sunscreens that mimics estrogen