Does it seem that practically every product you use has an ingredient that is best to avoid during pregnancy. If you are using products made by some of the major manufacturers this is probably true. The safety of ingredients used in our skin care products is being questioned and even less is known about the ability of these ingredients to make it through to the fetus or the effects they may have.
During my many years of research I have found numerous popular pregnancy skin care products and belly treatments that contain many known toxic chemicals ie;Parabens, Sulfates, or Phthalates.
Many of these ingredients have been banned in Europe
and restricted in many countries, but are still allowed in the United States.
I find it amazing that we are told what not to eat or drink, not to smoke but seldom warned or even asked about what we put
directly on our skin, the largest organ of our body.
Did you know that everything that is applied on our skin ultimately ends up in your bloodstream? Consequently, we pass it on to our developing baby. I urge you to read the ingredient labels of your personal and skincare products very carfully.
List of Toxic Chemicals and Carcinogens (see below)
Phthalates Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and or di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP or BzBP)
They are found in products such as : hair sprays, perfumes, nail polishes. They are used to soften plastic, skin moisturisers and for skin penetration enhancers in cosmetics.
Research has indicated:
• They are known to cause serious reproductive and developmental effects in lab animals.
• They have been linked to premature breast development in young girls and has shown interference with reproductive
development in male fetuses.
• They are hormone disruptors.
Known as a group of artificial preservatives that are also known as Alkyl parahydroxy benzoates – butyl/methyl/ethyl/ propyl/isobutyl paraben.
Evidence has shown them to:
• mimic estrogens in the body
• penetrate through the skin and show up in the blood.
• found in breast tumours.
BHT / Butylated Hydroxytoluene,also E321
Is used as a synthetic antioxidant.
• Causes irritation
• Has been linked to possible behavioral effects and reproductive problems.
• May cause contact dermatitis.
• Has been linked to depression of the Central Nervous System.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
• Is a Skin, eye and respiratory tract irritant
• Could damage liver, lungs and immune system
• Has shown some evidence to suggest reproductive effects.
DEA / TEA
Diethanolamine & Triethanolamine Compound |
DEA / TEA in concentrations of 5% and above could result in the formation of carcinogens in products containing nitrite preservatives. Chemical reactions between nitrites and DEA/ TEA occur during the manufacturing process and while products are stored in their containers forming carcinogenic nitrosamines.
Salicylic Acid (BHA or beta hydroxy acid)
Ingredients To Avoid During Pregnancy and Why
by: Natural Living for Women
This ingredient can be found in products used to treat acne, exfoliators and anti aging products. The reasoning behind this particular ingredient is that complications in pregnancy have arisen in women who have taken aspirin and since salicylic acid is a part of the aspirin family it is felt this is something best avoided. It is just not known if topical application will cause problems.
This ingredient that is a form of Vitamin A is also used to treat acne and is used for exfoliation. High doses of Vitamin A have been proven to be harmful to a baby.
Parabens (all types)
This ingredient is a very common preservative used in many of our skin care products. While it is an ingredient worth avoiding for all of us research is beginning to show a link from parabens to an adverse effect on the reproductive system of baby boys. Once again more research is needed but as a mom-to-be why risk it.
Could be listed as DBP (dibutyl phathalate) in products like nail polish. More often in most products in would not be listed. Phathalates can be found in skin care products with "fragrance" listed on the label. It can be found in any number of skin care or cosmetic products including nail polish, deodorant, hair spray or perfumes. It is an important ingredient to avoid during pregnancy.
According to the book "Not Just a Pretty Face - The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry", a 2005 study by Shanna Swan, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Rochester, has shown a "significant relationship" to the presence of higher quantities of phathalates present in a pregnant woman's body and changes in the genitals of boy babies.
More studies need to be done but why risk it when effective products are available that do not contain phathalates. Look for the many companies that offer phathalate free products, avoid products with "fragrance" on the label and find one of the new phathalate free nail polishes.
Cream Hair Removers
There is the possibility the chemicals in these products can be absorbed into the skin making this something else that is best to avoid during pregnancy. Additionally, many of the more popular brands list "fragrance" which may contain phathalates. It is just plain safer to avoid using them. I know this might not be what some women want to hear especially since you may be finding yourself with more hair than usual but there is always shaving and waxing.
I hesitate to include essential oils in a list of ingredients to avoid during pregnancy because there are some essential oils that are particularly useful for pregnancy skin care. It is important though that you avoid certain oils altogether. The Garden of Eve has a great article on the benefits of using essential oils and which ones to use or to stay away from.
According to Safe Fetus (a database that provides information on the safety of medications taken during pregnancy and while breast feeding) benzoyl peroxide found in many products used to treat acne is rated a Category C meaning that:
"Either studies in animals have revealed adverse effects on the fetus (teratogenic or embryocidal or other) and there are no controlled studies in women, or studies in women and animals are not available. Drugs should be given only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus."
This oral treatment for acne should not be used at all during pregnancy. There is great concern for putting the fetus at risk for serious birth defects and the possibility of fetal loss. Safe Fetus.com gives this a Category X, which means do not use.
This topical cream used for treating acne is believed to put the fetus at risk for birth defects and possible toxicity to the fetus but more studies are needed. Safe Fetus.com rates this as a Category C to be used with care. See benzoyl peroxide for complete definition.
Who would have thought that lead could be in any products we use but a study completed by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Skin Deep (do a search for lead in lipstick on the Safe Cosmetics site for more on this study) found lead in some brands of popular lipsticks.
The amounts found are enough to be concerned about if you are pregnant. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics says that "pregnant women and young children are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure because lead easily crosses the placenta and may enter the the fetal brain where it interferes with fetal development."
To avoid during pregnancy any concerns about lead in lipsticks by choosing from the many natural lipsticks
available that will keep you looking pretty and feeling safe.
This is not an ingredient you will find listed on any skin care products because it is a by product of other synthetic petroleum based ingredients. It is lickly found in PEG compounds.It has been found to cause cancer and little is known about it's effects on a developing fetus.
It is present in many cleansing type products, hair products, moisturizers among other personal care products. Unfortunately, it has also been found in products claiming to be natural or organic.
Pregnancy is a time for extra precautions. Novena does not contain any Toxic Chemicals or Carcinogens. Please view the list below of posible harmful ingredients.
No Artificial Fragrances
No BHT’s Butylated Hydroxytoluene
No Coal Tar Dyes
No Colorants or Dyes
No DEA's Diethanolamine
No DMAE Dimethylaminoethanol
No Imidazalidol Urea
No Mineral Oil
No Phthalates DBP
No Retinol Palmitate Vitamin A
No Sodium Laurel Sulfates
No TEA Triethanolamine
Note: Novena has recieved e-mails questioning ingredients that are used in Novena Maternal Skin Care’s formulations. I would like to take this opportunity to announce that every single ingredient in Novena has been hand picked and carefully chosen for use during pregnancy. Many of the teas and extracts that have been cautioned not to be used during pregnancy are not meant to be taken internally (orally) but are perfectly safe to use topically. You may rest a sure that you are safe with Novena.
Novena recommends seeking the advice of a mid wife or physician when questions or concerns regarding ingredients are not clear.
Jeanette D Acosta CME
Novena Maternal Skin Care
Natural Maternity Skin Care Products and Safe Pregnancy Skin Care Lotions
© Novena 2011
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