Many of my clients ask if certain products are safe to use while they’re pregnant or breastfeeding so I’ve created a cheat sheet to take the guesswork out of ingredients to ban. This is a great guide but I always recommend checking with your physician to confirm what’s best for you.
Retin-A, retinol, and retinyl palmitate, Tazorac & Accutane: are vitamin A–derived formulations and most doctors suggest avoiding vitamin A as too much can cause birth defects. Watch out for retinol and retinyl palmitate in your makeup and body care products as well.
Benzoyl peroxide: Though pregnancy can often cause hormonal acne, skip this ingredient as some ob-gyn’s say there’s possible risk to the fetus, and should be avoided.
Essential Oils: Essential Oils are widely found in “natural” beauty products so review the labels on your products and their safety with your doctor.
Salicylic acid: It’s traditionally been used for acne, but can be found in all kinds of exfoliating products and particularly cleansers. Many doctors consider the use of glycolic, lactic, and mandelic acids safe. Each are great alternatives to exfoliate with during this time.
Hydroquinone: A powerful skin lightener may be tempting to use—particularly when pregnancy brings on dark spots or full-on melasma—but this ingredient has been considered unsafe by many physicians. I suggest avoiding this ingredient in general for it’s high toxicity concerns. There are safe, yet just as effective ingredient alternatives to brighten the skin during and after pregnancy.
Chemical Sunscreens: oxybenzone has been linked to irritation, sensitization, allergies, and possible hormone disruption. With so many great mineral sunscreen options this ingredient is one of the easiest to replace.