What's Safe? Using Beauty Products & Cosmetics During Pregnancy

Morning sickness, swollen ankles, wacky skin, and a burgeoning belly hardly project the feelings of “pregnancy glow.” However, a new hairstyle, highlights, or a manicure may just be the ticket to make you feel normal again… But are they safe while pregnant?

Color Me Hormonal

Although studies are mixed, most experts agree that the chemicals found in semi-permanent and permanent dyes are not highly toxic and are generally safe for use during pregnancy. Although very little chemicals will be absorbed by coloring your hair, it’s still advisable to wait after your first trimester as your baby’s vital organs are developing. In addition, so many hormonal changes could be occurring in your own hair that can affect texture and color. You may want to wait it out before diving in.

Get Frosted

Opt for color treatments that are applied directly to the hair shaft like highlights or frosting. Highlights and frosting techniques don’t touch your scalp. All-over dyes are root-to-tip so the pores on your scalp could absorb more of the chemicals. Semi-permanent dyes, though not as long-lasting as permanent dyes, are a gentler, healthier option.

Henna and Veggie Dyes

Henna hair dye has been around forever and completely safe for pregnancy. It’s considered a semi-permanent vegetable dye. The only snags are that it’s messy, and henna won’t lighten your hair – it can only darken it. Be sure to choose pure henna because some henna dye is sold with metallic compounds.

Vegetable dyes are another option, but some contain the same chemicals other boxed hair color kits do. Steer clear of veggie dyes that contain aminophenol, dihydroxybenzene, and p-phenylenediamine.

At-Home Salon

If you decide to get a little work done, make sure the salon you visit is well-ventilated. If you plan on coloring your own hair, do a strand test first. It will determine if you are allergic to the formula. A strand test is good also because of the pregnancy hormones floating around, the same hair dye that you have always used could have different results now. You may have to use a different formula or shade to get the results you want.

Remember to apply the treatment in a well-ventilated area. Read the directions carefully and don’t leave the dye on longer than recommended. Wear gloves when applying the treatment and be sure to rinse your hair thoroughly, until the water runs clear.

Tough as Nails

Your toe and fingernails are impermeable, so the polish won’t be absorbed and enter your bloodstream. But if you want to avoid harmful chemicals and odors, use the “Big 3/4/5-Free” polish varieties that are free of chemicals like Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde, Methylene Glycol/Formalin, Toluene, Formaldehyde Resin (Tosylamide/TSFR), and Camphor.

If your nail salon allows it, bring your own instruments from home to reduce infection risk. Don’t clip the cuticles, just get them pushed back if you must. No need to risk infection. The salon should be well-ventilated. If the odors are strong when entering, leave. Some manicures, like gel ones, are high in smelly formaldehyde.

Rule out Retinoids and Salicylic Acid

Retinoids, whether the over-the-counter or prescription variety are great for treating wrinkles, acne, and yes, stretch marks, but not while you’re pregnant. Although only the oral form has been linked to birth defects, it’s wise to avoid topical forms during pregnancy as well.

Salicylic acid is a common go-to for treating acne because it helps exfoliate dead layers of skin that clog pores. Taken orally during pregnancy, it can cause birth defects. If your hormones are causing skin issues, it is safe to use a one to two percent salicylic acid to spot treat acne.

What are some beauty treatments you steer clear of during pregnancy – and what safe alternatives do you go for instead? Share with us!

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