Health Information

Cosmetics for pregnant women: safe means and prohibited components


I will give the main list of components of traditional cosmetics that pose a danger to the expectant mother and her baby. Pay attention to the composition of your cosmetics! Not all of these components are harmful, but some should be avoided during pregnancy.

Butylated Hydroxianisole (BHA) is a preservative, widely used not only in cosmetics, but also in the food industry. It is quickly absorbed into the skin and stored for a long time in the tissues. Carcinogen

Hydroquinone or glutathione: often found in skin whitening products. They act on those enzymes in the body that produce melanin, so the skin is highlighted. But this process is contraindicated for pregnant women, because the natural formation of a healthy dermis of the unborn child is blocked. In addition, these two components often cause an allergic reaction, which is also harmful for the future mother, for the future baby, as well as for lactating women.

Dihydroxyacetone (aka DHA): found in self-tanning creams (both home and salon!). It is known to be absorbed into the blood. There are also speculations that it could cause DNA damage. Therefore, definitely, you need to postpone such cosmetics for the duration of pregnancy.

Parabens (Parabens): cause breast cancer, adversely affect the reproductive system, are able to accumulate in the body. There are several varieties of this substance that are added with the aim of "prolonging the life" (increase the shelf life) of the cosmetic product.

Retinol is an anti-aging component, it can also be found in cosmetics for skin with acne. In fact, it is vitamin A. High doses of vitamin A are harmful to the student's vitamins))). Pay attention to the content of this component in your creams and in your diet. For example, it is known that the recommended daily intake of vitamin A for pregnant women is even lower than for children. If for children 400-1000 mcg of vitamin A is supposed per day, for adults - 900 mcg, then for pregnant women - no more than 100 mcg.

Salicylic acid: This ingredient is found in cleansers, scrubs, creams for problem skin with acne and acne to cleanse black spots. In general, the skin products with acne have a very high content of antibacterial components, which can cause serious birth defects of the fetus.

Phthalates: toxic substances that may not be indicated in the composition, but are necessarily present if the product contains fragrances. Contained in cosmetics with fragrances and strong odors: in body lotions, perfumes, deodorants. Phthalates easily penetrate the body and can cause damage to the kidneys and liver. If a boy grows under the heart of a pregnant woman, the effect of phtholates adversely affects the development of the fetal genitalia. If you are pregnant, your choice is a product labeled "no flavoring."

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laurel Sulphate (SLS) - found in shampoos, conditioners, cleansing lotions for the face, creams, soaps, as well as in various cleaning products used in the household. They easily penetrate both the skin and the air into the body. Strong carcinogen. It is rapidly absorbed and accumulates in the eyes, brain, heart and liver, which leads to long-term damage to the body. It slows down the healing process in general, in adults it can cause cataracts, and in children it can cause problems in the development of the eyes.

What cosmetics can not be used during pregnancy

Of course, the horror stories that the harmful components of cosmetics penetrate deep into the skin, enter the bloodstream and poison our body are most often unjustified. Most components work in the upper stratum corneum of the skin, where there are no capillaries and, therefore, communication with the circulatory system. That is, they can not affect the baby in any way. But! If the skin has microdamages (scratches, acne, etc.), penetration becomes possible.

Since not all components of cosmetics are safe for the baby, it is worthwhile to play it safe and refuse to use cosmetics with them. In addition, during pregnancy often there is an increased sensitivity of the skin and a tendency to allergies. Therefore, expectant mothers should avoid the presence of certain components in cosmetics.

Prohibited Components

Read the labels carefully. No matter how absurd it may seem, unwanted components are also found in products that are sold in pharmacies in sections for pregnant women and even in products that the manufacturer directly indicates that they are designed specifically for expectant mothers.

  • Salicylic acid(salicylic acid). It has a teratogenic property (this terrible word means that a substance can lead to abnormal development of the fetus and congenital malformations). The remaining acids are not prohibited. But here it is important to understand that all acids are different, they have a different molecule in size and the penetration depth of them also varies greatly. For example, glycolic and pyruvic grades - owners of the smallest molecules - are very active and penetrate deeply. And mandelic and lactic acids with their large molecules work gently in the upper layer. So if you still decide to do peeling during pregnancy, it is better to opt for milk and almond. And, of course, use only products with a minimum concentration of 5-15%. There can be no question of any middle peels.

  • Vitamin A - Retinol (retinol) and its derivatives (retinoids) - retinyl palmitate (retinyl palmitate)retinaldehyde (retinaldehyde / retinyl)tretinoin (tretinoin)is adaptable (adapalene)tazarotene (tazarotene)isotretinoin (isotretinoin)retinyl acetate (retinyl acetate). These substances have teratogenic properties. The ban applies not only to pharmaceutical preparations such as retinoic ointment, Differin, Klenzit, but also cosmetics with vitamin A. Especially dangerous is the use in the first trimester.

  • Camphor(camphora). It is found in anti-acne remedies. May provoke uterine tone.

  • Aggressive whitening components: kojic acid(kojic acid), arbutin(arbutin) and especially hydroquinone(hydroquinone) - It is toxic and banned in many countries.

  • Phytoestrogens. They are phyto or plant hormones. The following plants contain them: red clover, alfalfa, flax, licorice, red grapes, hops, wild yams, wheat and barley seeds, ginseng root, sage, soy, garlic, calendula, arnica.

  • Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde Preservatives(formaldehyde, quaternium-15, dimethyl-dimethyl (DMDM) hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bronopol). Toxic and prohibited components in a number of countries.

  • Mineral oil(paraffinum liquidum, mineral oil). In itself, it is not dangerous. But, firstly, it is a petrochemical product, which is already unpleasant, and secondly, mineral oil forms a non-breathing film on the skin. This can disrupt the body's processes of removing toxins and respiration through the skin.

  • Essential oils. They have a very small molecule and are quickly absorbed into the blood. Despite its naturalness, esters can very strongly affect our body. In addition, many of them are quite allergic. Therefore, during pregnancy with all ethers you need to be very careful. And some of them are strictly contraindicated for pregnant women. Essential oils containing ketones (such as sage, dill, rosemary, verbena, hyssop) are potentially neurotoxic and can cause miscarriage. In addition, some ethers, like phytohormones, can affect the hormonal system (for example, geranium, clary sage, sacred vitex). It is especially recommended to avoid these esters in the first trimester of pregnancy. Read more on essential oils during pregnancy.

  • Chemical sunscreens(avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, octinoxate, benzofenon and others). Chemical filters in one way or another cause a chemical reaction in the skin, the effect of which on the baby, if, in principle, has been studied, is very small. Choose products with a physical screen (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide).

On a special account

  • Enzymes Most Popular - Papain(papain), bromelain(bromelain). It is believed that cosmetics with enzymes are very soft, work on the surface of the skin and therefore are very recommended during pregnancy. But some experts note that enzymes, with deep penetration, can affect the metabolic processes in cells. Therefore, before using cosmetics with enzymes during pregnancy, you should weigh the pros and cons and only after that make your decision.

  • Seaweed(Algae). Also a controversial component. Fears of experts are caused by their high biological activity and ability to influence the amount of iodine in the body. Therefore, to use algae and cosmetics based on them, expectant mothers should also be careful.

Pay particular attention to perfumes when choosing care products. Products with a pungent odor may not be tolerated at all by your “pregnant” sense of smell.

What cosmetics can pregnant women use?

During pregnancy, it is worth choosing hypoallergenic options from pharmacy, bio or organic brands. They usually have quality ingredients and neutral formulations. The mass market often sins with cheap and dubious preservatives, and professional products are saturated with active ingredients, which is completely useless to expectant mothers. Be sure to carefully read the composition of the product before buying.

Body care products can often be found in special series for expectant mothers. But here you can not blindly trust the manufacturer. Only the composition will give you the answer, is this cosmetics really safe for pregnant women.

To choose safe cosmetics for pregnant women, carefully read the labels and avoid components from the list of prohibited. If you suddenly find these components in the tools you are already using, do not worry too much. The risk of their penetration is really not great. Just stop using this tool and pick a new one. Choose the softest cosmetics with natural formulations. Be beautiful, but never risk your health - yours and the baby.

More wisdom for expectant mothers:

In the following posts we will analyze the features of face, body, hair and nail care during pregnancy.

Leave your questions in the comments. Or maybe you have additions to the list of prohibited components?

New life: what has changed

During pregnancy, a woman’s body rises estrogen levels, increases the risk of skin rashes, pigmentation, stretch marks and fat deposits. Pregnant women often complain of irritation and dryness of their skin, hypersensitivity to cosmetics and the occurrence of allergic reactions.

A woman can use the same remedy for years, but with the appearance of two stripes on the test, feel rejection or notice an allergic reaction. But this is not so bad! A separate conversation deserves cosmetics and procedures that can harm a future baby.

And although today there is no serious research on which means are safe and which are not, experts advise to abandon the use of a number of components.

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, RCOG) encourages women not to take risks when it comes to exposure to certain chemicals during pregnancy. In 2013, recommendations were issued that recognized the risk of negative effects of cosmetics on the fetus. And although this risk is small, it should not be ignored.

Dr. Michelle Bellingham

While we are waiting for evidence and evidence that cosmetics can harm the fetus (it can take decades), each woman can make changes to her lifestyle by reducing the amount of chemicals used.

Another point of view is held by specialists Association of Perfume and Cosmetic Product Manufacturers (English The Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association, CTPA).

MD, CTPA Director Chris Flower

All cosmetic products are tested for safety before they enter the market. They are evaluated by qualified specialists who understand that cosmetics can be used by women who are pregnant and those who do not yet know about it. If makeup is not safe during pregnancy, it will not be released. Everything is simple!

Thus, each woman has to decide for herself whether the changes in cosmetic care are justified or whether everything can be left as it is. What you need to consider when making your choice?

Cosmetics and pregnancy: safety rules

The popular opinion that all components of cosmetics can penetrate into the deep layers of the skin, enter the blood of a pregnant woman and poison her body - is nothing more than a myth. Most of the active ingredients of cosmetics work exclusively in the stratum corneum of the skin. And as you know from the course of school biology, there are no capillaries in it, and therefore, no connection with the woman’s circulatory system. In other words, cosmetics can not affect the development of the child.

Another thing is if the skin of the fair sex has wounds, damage, inflammation and acne. Theoretically, the penetration of hazardous components into the body of a woman becomes possible.

What cosmetics should not be trusted?

Retinoids: Vitamin A, Retinol, Retinol Esters

Albert Sassoon, The MD, Obstetrician-Gynecologist in Manhattan is confident that this group of substances must be avoided at all costs. While vitamin A is an important component for the normal development of the fetus, its high concentration can cause "Serious birth defects and renal failure in the fetus."

All retinoids have a low molecular weight, which means that they easily overcome the skin barrier and affect living cells of the body.

Bleaching agents: arbutin, hydroquinone, kojic acid

Whitening creams that contain aggressive substances such as kojic acid, arbutin and hydroquinone are best eliminated during pregnancy and breastfeeding, even if a woman suffers from hyperpigmentation.

They disrupt the natural melanin production process, which is dangerous during pregnancy. In addition, a substance such as hydroquinone is prohibited in the EU countries due to the risk of developing apoptosis of melanocytes and the appearance of persistent pigmentation, ochronosis. During pregnancy, the likelihood of an adverse outcome increases several times.

Essential oils

Due to their low molecular weight, they are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, affecting the processes in the body. So, there is an opinion that esters containing ketones are neurotoxic and can cause an abortion. These include rosemary, verbena and sage essential oils.

Other esters act on the body like phytoestrogens, affecting the hormonal background of a woman. These are essential oils of geranium and sacred vitex.

Some oils can provoke the appearance of uterine tone in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. So, it is better not to use peppermint ether and cosmetics with it in the composition during this period.

Hydroxy Acids

Carrying out chemical peels during pregnancy is not recommended. Middle and deep peels are particularly dangerous, but even superficial procedures can be harmful.

Popular components of salon peeling - salicylic and glycolic acids have teratogenic effects, that is, they can lead to abnormalities in the development of the fetus. Other species are less dangerous, such as pyruvic acid, because it has a greater molecular weight. And others are completely harmless - like lactic acid. But in any case, the need for the use of chemical peels and the possible consequences of their implementation must be agreed with the gynecologist and cosmetologist.


Regulatory organizations in many countries of the world strongly oppose the content of formaldehyde releasers in cosmetics. Formaldehydes are not allowed in cosmetics and perfumes in Sweden and Japan. In the USA, as well as EU countries, they are allowed, but only in those products that do not remain on the skin. In Russia, the use of this group is not legally regulated.

Meanwhile, these are toxic substances, which in high concentrations cause severe skin irritation, can contribute to the development of bronchial asthma, irritation of the mucous membranes of the nasopharynx and eyes. Whether formaldehydes are carcinogenic is one of the topics of heated debate in the scientific community. But the fact that they are not safe is a fact.

How to choose safe cosmetics?

The optimal choice for the fair sex during the period of bearing a child will be pharmacy products, organic cosmetics, as well as special series for expectant mothers. The latter undergo more stringent quality control, which means fewer risks to meet the prohibited components in their composition.

Before buying cosmetics, be sure to make sure that the product is hypoallergenic, because the sensitivity of the skin increases during the baby's waiting period. And don't forget to browse the ingredients list - just in case!

Be healthy and beautiful!

In fact, speaking of pregnant women, there are no categorically prohibited ingredients except, perhaps, one - retinol.

When planning pregnancy and during pregnancy, it is important to limit the intake of vitamin A and its derivatives such as retinol and retinoids in any form. The main side effect of this type of substance is a violation of the growth and development of the fetus.

Of course, it should be understood that for the onset of this kind of pathology a large and cumulative dosage is needed, but nevertheless, for the sake of safety, the presence of this component in the composition of cosmetics should be avoided.

Retinol can usually be found in acne treatments and skin rejuvenation and lightening treatments.

Any other cosmetic ingredients are not particularly dangerous. However, in any case, you should choose the most hypoallergenic cosmetics with the most natural composition.