Women's Healthcare Topics

Cosmetics and Anti-Aging Products

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

What's Safe During Pregnancy?

We all want to look great throughout our pregnancy. But what is safe and what isn’t? Here is a list of some of the popular ‘questionable’ items that are safe to use and not so safe during pregnancy.

  • Tanning Cream – Most researchers feel use of tanning creams during pregnancy is safe. Most stain the skin and thus don’t enter the bloodstream. They can also help boost your self esteem and help you feel glowy throughout your pregnancy. Some women find however that the smell of a tanning lotion is too overpowering during pregnancy, thus prefer not to use them for this reason alone.




  • Bikini Wax – A bikini wax is perfectly safe but usually more painful during pregnancy. If you have a high pain tolerance, you can probably continue your regular waxes without worry. Some women find they experience more broken blood vessels after a wax during pregnancy.

  • Facial – It is usually safe to get a facial during pregnancy. Just be sure you let your technician know you are pregnant, especially if you are not showing. Your skin may be more sensitive while pregnant.

  • Cosmetics – Most cosmetics are perfectly safe to use during pregnancy. They can also help you look and feel great even at your biggest. The only cosmetics you should keep an eye out for are those with added chemicals or vitamins that claim to reduce the signs of aging.
Learn which cosmetics are safe and which are not in pregnancy.

Beauty Products with Unknown Safety in Pregnancy

Here are some items that you should probably avoid because researchers aren’t clear whether these products are safe or not. In some cases this is due to lack of studies on the products in question.

  • Bleach– if you regularly bleach hair on your body, you may want to stop during pregnancy. At this time, while there isn’t any hard evidence suggesting use of bleach or bleach related products may cause birth defects, there are also no studies confirming its safety.

  • Hair depilatories – The jury is still out on use of hair depilatories while pregnant. Some doctors feel it is fine because they don’t believe it is absorbed into your body. Others worry that too little testing has been done on depilatories to categorize them as safe.

  • Chemical Hair Coloring – Most research suggests that highlighting is safe during pregnancy. Highlighting usually doesn’t involve direct application of chemical dyes to the scalp. That said, some studies suggest that some compounds in ordinary hair dye may cause birth defects. However researchers also feel the dose necessary to induce any damage would have to be extremely high. If you do plan to color your hair, you might wait until after your first trimester to do so, when the risk of birth defects is decreased.

  • Botox treatments – Most doctors feel it is unlikely that botox injections to the face will circulate into the bloodstream and harm the baby. Nonetheless botox is a toxin. Most women find their skin looks better anyway during pregnancy tanks to excess fluid retention. In this case, you may be better off skipping treatments until after you have the baby.

The following products and beauty treatments are not safe to use while pregnant

  • Accutane or retinoic acid – This is a medication doctors prescribe to treat acne. It contains substances that will cause birth defects, including retardation and heart defects. If you or someone you know becomes pregnant while taking this drug, it is important you stop taking this drug and contact your doctor immediately.

  • Anti-aging products containing high doses of vitamin A – Too much vitamin A can cause birth defects in babies. Many anti-aging products contain high doses of vitamin A. If you use any wrinkle creams, be sure to check the label and read the ingredients. If you are not sure about any of the ingredients contact your doctor to find out whether the product is safe or not.

  • Body wraps – Any type of body wrap that heats your body up and includes covering your stomach probably isn’t safe during pregnancy. A body wrap may also result in dehydration, which can increase your risk of preterm labor. Overheating can also increase your baby’s risk of developing neural tube defects.

  • Hot tubs – Using hot tubs during pregnancy when the water temperature is too hot may not be safe.. The water temperature in a hot tub is usually too warm and can overheat you and your baby.

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