Pregnancy Requires Skin Care, Precautions

Being pregnant triggers physical and hormonal changes that play havoc with your skin along with the rest of your body. From acne to stretch marks to hyperpigmentation, you’ll encounter symptoms that can be extremely annoying.

But you need to be mindful of the ingredients in the products you use to treat them because some may harm your baby’s development.

Here are three of them but talk to your OB-GYN or dermatologist for further guidance.

Vitamin A (including retinol and retinoids)

Fetal exposure to high amounts of vitamin A has been found to cause retinoid embryopathy, which includes a cluster of potential birth defects, in 20% to 35% of cases, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The greatest danger is from isotretinoin, the oral form used to treat severe acne, but physicians typically recommend against topical forms as well because little research has been done regarding that level of exposure. Bakuchiol is a plant-derived alternative that produces similar results, is less likely to irritate skin and is considered pregnancy-safe.

Phthalates

Research on animals has linked these chemicals to reproductive health and developmental problems. Translated to humans, children younger than 3 are believed to be the most vulnerable to their effects and they should be avoided as much as possible during pregnancy.

Their ubiquity in today’s products makes it virtually impossible to completely avoid, but be careful with fragranced personal care products. If they contain phthalates it will be included on the ingredient list unless they are part of the “fragrance,” so if the product is not labeled phthalate-free and is scented, investigate further or seek another option.

Chemical sunscreens

These are the sunscreens you’re most likely using as they currently dominate the skin care market. They are massaged into the skin and protect it from within by turning UV rays into heat and absorbing them before they cause DNA damage.

However, they contain hormone disruptors that can either block or mimic estrogen in the body, throwing off the balance and potentially affecting the baby’s development. One ingredient, oxybenzone, has been linked specifically to Hirschsprung’s disease, a defect affecting the large intestine that may require surgery.