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Are there skincare ingredients you should AVOID during pregnancy?

During the period of time while women are trying to conceive, during pregnancy, and post pregnancy, there are certain skincare ingredients and cosmetics ingredients that are recommended to be avoided. Certain ingredients are safe to use when you are not pregnant but while pregnant, there are more things to consider because some things are known to sink into your skin and body, and into your bloodstream

Here are the ingredients that should be avoided according to NIH 2011:

  • Topical Retinoids: Topical retinoids, including tretinoin, are commonly used for treating acne and reducing signs of aging. While the absorption of these ingredients through the skin is generally low, there have been 4 published case reports suggesting a possible link between topical tretinoin use and birth defects. However, more studies need to be done to establish a clear association. Until further data on the use of topical retinoids during pregnancy is available, it's advisable for women to avoid them and be cautious.

  • Topical Antibacterials: Clindamycin and erythromycin are topical antibiotics used for acne treatment. The available evidence does not indicate an increased risk of malformations when used topically during the first trimester of pregnancy. Similarly, systemic use of clindamycin in the second or third trimester has not shown higher rates of adverse outcomes. Moreover, oral use of erythromycin during pregnancy has not been associated with teratogenic effects. As a result, topical clindamycin and erythromycin are generally considered safe for use during pregnancy.

  • Benzoyl Peroxide: Benzoyl peroxide is a common ingredient in acne treatments. When applied topically, only a small amount is absorbed through the skin and is completely metabolized within the body. No published studies have investigated the use of benzoyl peroxide in pregnant patients. However, due to its minimal systemic absorption and excretion, it is unlikely to pose a risk to pregnant women or their developing babies.

In conclusion, while some skincare ingredients have been associated with potential risks during pregnancy, the evidence surrounding their safety is not always definitive. However as a precautionary measure, it is best for pregnant women or those trying to conceive to avoid using cosmetics and skincare that contain these ingredients due to their property of being easily absorbable into the bloodstream.


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