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What skincare is safe to use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding?

Lady holding baby bump with green shirt
When you’re expecting a baby it can be hard to distinguish what’s safe and what isn’t safe to use on your body. There is so much conflicting information around and things change all the time. Midwives and health visitors tend to concentrate on the fact that smoking, drinking, medicines and certain foods are a big no-no, but it’s also important that you consider the skin care products you use.

If you’re planning on breastfeeding your baby once he or she is born, you may be concerned that you’re putting your baby’s safety under risk without realising. This article should hopefully help put your mind at rest.

Skincare during pregnancy:

Makeup

All makeup for sale in the UK is covered by very strict safety laws. This means that you should be fine to continue to use all the makeup products you know and love during your pregnancy. If there was ever any danger, products would clearly say on their labels ‘not suitable during pregnancy’.

Skin care

The majority of moisturisers, cleansers, toners, lip glosses and other everyday items are fine to use whilst expecting. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that hormonal changes whilst you’re pregnant might change your skin type temporarily so you shouldn’t be alarmed if you suddenly get acne. It’s vital that you don’t rush out and buy acne cream because the vast majority of creams and treatments for acne aren’t safe to use when expecting, so you’ll need to visit your doctor for advice first. Anti-aging creams should also be avoided as they also contain chemicals that could potentially harm your baby.

Hair products

You’re fine to dye your hair throughout your pregnancy, just make sure you follow the instructions on the packaging or consult your hair stylist. You might need to do a skin test first in case your skin has become more sensitive, but if that’s fine after 48 hours, you should be good to go.

Massages

Your partner might give the most relaxing massages in the world but you should avoid having any in your first trimester. Many mums-to-be decide to visit a spa or salon for a pamper during their pregnancies which is fine but just make sure you double check what products are being used first. If in doubt, it’s best to say no and stick to getting your nails done or having your legs waxed!

Tanning products and teeth whitening

You should be fine to wear fake tan during your pregnancy but don’t go for spray tans as you don’t want to breathe in the fumes. You might be best also avoiding having any teeth whitening treatments until after your baby is born. 

Skincare when breastfeeding:

Fake tan It’s best you don’t use fake tan while breastfeeding. Alternatively, if you really want to use it, you could apply to everywhere apart from your chest and stomach so your baby isn’t affected by it.

Perfume

It’s not recommended that you spray perfume on your chest or wrists in case it irritates your baby’s skin. Instead you could spray it on the back of your neck, behind your ears or behind your knees. If you have any further questions about how to care for your skin safely whilst you’re breastfeeding, please speak to your health visitor who will be happy to help.

Clothing

Babies have skin that is much more sensitive than adult skin which is why it’s recommended that their clothes and bedding is washed using non-biological washing powder. When you breastfeed, your baby will be in close contact with your clothes so it’s also best that you do the same and wash your clothes with the same washing powder, even if it’s just for a few weeks.

Which skin care products to avoid:

Some products contain chemicals that can be transferred to your baby through your breast milk or cause irritation. To try to prevent this happening you should always read the labels of products before you buy them. Double check that they don’t contain retinoids, petroleum, formaldehyde or parabens. These chemicals are sometimes listed on labels using the following alternative names:
  • Butylparaben
  • Differin
  • DMDM-hydantoin
  • Ethylparaben
  • Heptylparaben
  • Hydroxymethylglycinate
  • Isobutylparabe
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Methenesmine
  • Methylparaben
  • Mineral oil
  • Paraffin
  • Petrolatum
  • Propylene glycol
  • Propylparabe
  • Retin-A
  • Retinol
  • Retinyl
  • Tazorac
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