10 products to avoid during pregnancy

We will never get tired of remembering that pregnancy is not a disease and if it proceeds normally we can continue to carry on with our habits, however having the foresight to adopt some important precautions.

We know that we need to pay close attention to nutrition, if there are no medical contraindications we can do physical movement without exaggerating (including sex).

Not only what you eat affects your baby’s health but also what you rub on your skin. For this reason, if you intend to have a child or have just discovered pregnancy, read carefully what it contains before applying a product.

Products to avoid during pregnancy due to the active ingredients they contain

1. Retinoids

They can be present in anti-aging and anti-acne formulations. You may find them present on labels as retinoic acid, retinyl palmitate, retinaldehyde, adapalene, tretinoin, tazarotene and isotretinoin. A link has been found between the use of these substances and an increased risk of birth defects in the child. Many doctors advise not to try for a baby while using these products or in any case to stop using them immediately as soon as pregnancy is discovered.

2. Tetracyclines

Tetracyclines include doxycyclines and minocyclines

Tetracyclines are a family of antibiotics that should be avoided during pregnancy. Studies show  they can damage a pregnant woman’s liver and discolor a growing baby’s teeth. If you need an antibiotic during pregnancy, your doctor will surely prescribe a safer alternative, such as amoxicillin.

3. Hydroquinone

In dermatology it is used as a depigmenting agent in situations of chloasma or melasma.

This active ingredient should be avoided during pregnancy and during the search for pregnancy. Studies have shown that approximately 45% of this drug is absorbed through the skin after topical application. Even if the effects on the fetus are not currently known, it is better to avoid taking the risk given the amount of hydroquinone that enters the circulation after its application.

4. Phthalates

These substances are usually added to plastic to make it more flexible. They are also used to improve the formulation of some cosmetic products such as perfumes or nail polishes.

Ingredient labels may be present as BzBP, DBP, DEP, DMP, diethyl, dibutyl, or benzyl butyl phthalate.

Recent studies have highlighted potential health risks deriving from their use. They have been linked to  attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, high blood pressure, diabetes etc.  Other studies have linked  prenatal exposure to phthalates  to the development of fetal abnormalities. 

Therefore, when you buy a beauty or cosmetic product, check that it is completely free of phthalates.

5. Formaldehyde

Carcinogen you find in labels such as  formaldehyde, quaternium-15, dimethyl-dimethyl (DMDM), hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, and 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol).

Again, look for products that are completely free of this substance.

6. Toluene

Avoid buying and/or using any polish that contains  methylbenzene, toluene, or antisalt 1a.

Toluene, phthalates and formaldehyde represent the “toxic trio” a powerful combination of toxins that must be avoided at any stage of life and especially during pregnancy. Check the labels well before buying nail beauty products.

7. Ammonia

Many hair dyes contain ammonia.

Ammonia can irritate skin by contact and lungs by inhalation.

Since there are  a number of ammonia-free hair dyes available on the market , it is best to proceed with those during pregnancy. 

8. DHA: dihydrossiacetone

Self-tanning sprays may contain dihydroxyacetone as a component.  DHA is not absorbed into the body, but can be inhaled during application. This could be harmful to you and your baby. So avoid this type of tan while you are pregnant.

9. Thioglycolic acid

It is found in depilatory creams and some depilatories.

It might be referred to in labels as acetyl mercaptan, thioglycolate, thioglycolic acid and thiovanic acid.

There is no certain data on the effects of this substance on the developing fetus and in the absence of concrete data on the safety of these substances, it is better to avoid using them and adopt other methods of hair removal.

10. Botulinum-based treatments

There are currently no studies on the effect of Botox in a developing child but given that the main substance in Botox treatments is the  botulinum toxin which works by paralyzing the muscles around wrinkles so that they become less visible, perhaps it is the case of not taking risks while expecting a baby  

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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