Beauty treatments during pregnancy: What’s safe and what should you avoid.

Preganancy Image via Istock

Craving some pampering during your pregnancy? Sure thing – you deserve it. But the onset of pregnancy means that certain beauty treatments and skincare products are off the table.

Feeling and looking good is important during pregnancy, but even the most serene mother-to-be could get stressed trying to evaluate the risk factor of every peel, product and process on the market.

We’ve put together a beginner’s guide to beauty treatments for expectant mothers that takes the guesswork out of grooming (you’re welcome!).

Skincare.

Generally speaking, the more powerful and targeted a products is, the higher the chances it contains an ingredient considered potentially harmful to a growing baby. The main one to look out for is retinoid – a type of vitamin A that speeds up cell division and prevents skin collagen from breaking down.

Studies have shown that high doses of vitamin A during pregnancy can be harmful to an unborn child and oral retinoids (such as Accutane, an acne medication) are a known cause of birth defects.

Salicylic acid is another no-no for pregnant women. While the sparing use of some products containing salicylic acid – like cleansers and toners – can be okay, the jury’s out about its safety in face and body peels.

beauty treatments during pregnancy
“Pregnancy and its associated weight gain tend to make the face swell and wrinkles become less apparent without any cosmetic therapy.”

Soy-based lotions and skincare products should be avoided, particularly by women with dark skin or melisma, as soy has estrogenic effects which can make the ‘mask of pregnancy’ worse. However, the ‘active soy’ referenced by some product lines is okay, as it means the estrogenic components have been taken out.

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Botox won’t hurt your baby, but you probably won’t need it! Pregnancy and its associated weight gain tend to make the face swell and wrinkles become less apparent without any cosmetic therapy.

Related: The Pregnancy Project: “I pledge to love my post-pregnancy body.”

Facials can generally be enjoyed, but pregnant women should bear in mind that the presence of pregnancy hormones alters the normal structure of the skin and hair. This means a greater level of sensitivity and allergy risk, so be sure to inform your beauty therapist that you’re pregnant and ask them to use products that are designed for sensitive skin (and retinoid free).

Hair treatments.

Steer clear of perms, colouring or chemical straightening treatments before the second trimester, and skip any treatments that involve keratin as they contain harmful formaldehyde.

Opt for alternative colour processes wherever possible and check with your GP before using prescription dandruff shampoos (and medical shampoos in general).

beauty treatments during pregnancy
“Steer clear of perms, colouring or chemical straightening treatments before the second trimester, and skip any treatments that involve keratin as they contain harmful formaldehyde.”

 

Hair removal.

The majority of depilatory creams, gels and mousses are considered risk-free, but laser hair removal treatments are not.

While the hair on your head is likely to be looking its best thanks to the extra hormones coursing through your body, many pregnant women also experience increased hair growth on their bodies. This usually calms down after delivery, but if it bothers you, waxing is A-OK right up to your due date.

Related: Men experience what pregnancy is really like. Spoiler alert: They cannot deal.

Fake tanning.

Provided it comes in the form of a mousse, cream or wipe, fake tan is fine for pregnant women to use. If you prefer to use a spray tan product, make sure the room is well-aired and take extra care not to inhale.

Tanning beds are 100 per cent off-limits as they may cause your body to overheat and also reduce folic acid, which is important for healthy foetal development.

 

Teeth whitening.

There aren’t many current studies about the safety of tooth whitening while pregnant or breastfeeding so it’s probably best to hold off this one.

Manicures and pedicures.

Acrylic nails are problem-free during pregnancy – but there’s a higher risk of developing a fungal or bacterial infection in or around your nails, so take care to clean and maintain them!

Which treatments did you miss during your pregnancy?

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