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Skin Care Ingredients To Avoid When Pregnant

Pregnancy is one of the most exciting stages of our lives – but it also entails a whole series of lifestyle changes that can prove to be unsettling. For example, we know that pregnant women should avoid eating things like raw eggs, uncooked fish or meat, unpasteurised cheese, as well as alcohol. But do you know that there are certain skincare ingredients to steer clear of while you’re expecting?

The US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) categorizes ingredients ranging from safest to those that should be avoided at all costs: A, B, C, D, and X. Generally, only categories A and B are considered safe to use during pregnancy.

Retinoids and Retinol Derivatives

Systemic retinoids, such as Roaccutane and Oratane, are commonly used for acne control. However systemic retinoids, be it in the form of oral pills, or topical creams, are strictly forbidden during pregnancy. This is because they can cause fetal defects, and therefore must not be used during pregnancy or if you’re trying for a baby.

Likewise, skincare products containing retinol derivatives such as retinyl propionate, retinyl palmitate, retinyl linoleate and retinyl acetate, are not recommended, as they potentially can cause harm to the fetus.


Hydroquinone is a powerful anti-pigmentation ingredient. However, it falls into FDA Category C, which means that there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Because it has been estimated that there is a significant amount of systemic absorption of the ingredient, ranging from 35% to 45% following application, it is best to limit exposure during pregnancy.

Salicylic acid (high dose)

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA), which is a common ingredient in acne treatments. When it is applied topically, very little of it is absorbed into the skin, and low-dose topical salicylic acid products have been reported safe by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). But it is recommended that high dose salicylic acid products, such as chemical peels and oral medications, should be avoided during pregnancy, as these could lead to birth defects and various pregnancy complications.


These preservatives help to extend the shelf life of your cosmetics by preventing mold and bacterial growth in common drugstore moisturizers, deodorants, and makeup products. However parabens have also been classified as endocrine disruptors by the U.N. Environment Programme, as they interfere with the production and function of hormones. This can lead to a variety of dangerous implications, notwithstanding the fact that parabens can penetrate the skin very easily – entering one’s bloodstream, and potentially the baby’s.

Many women anticipate the glow of pregnancy once they find out that they are expecting. However the truth of the matter is, pregnancy may lead to various skin conditions due to hormonal changes, especially when it comes to one’s face. Not all skincare ingredients are considered safe when you’re expecting, so it is definitely important to learn what is in your skincare products.

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