Wednesday, January 30, 2008

8 Beauty No-Nos when You're Preg-O

Be warned that this is a long post. But it's very informative and if you or someone you know is preggers, it's something you should share. (Fi, I thought you might find this interesting.)
I came across this article that says if you're "with child," these are the top eight ingredients you should cut out of your regimin. If you find them in products you use daily, consider cutting them out:
No-no 1: retinoids
Aliases: isotretinoin, tretinoin, acitretin, etretinate, adapalene, tazarotene

Found in: prescription treatments for acne and psoriasis (including brand names Accutane, Retin-A, Renova, Amnesteem, Soriatane, Claravis, Sotret, Tegison, Differin, Tazorac) and certain types of cancer (Vesanoid and Targretin).

What they do: unblock pores of oil glands that cause nodular acne and psoriasis. Limited research indicates they may reverse sun damage, reduce wrinkles and treat and possibly prevent certain types of cancer.

Why the red flag: Retinoids are the big, bad no-no. Oral treatments containing them have been directly linked to miscarriages and birth defects. Although research suggests that topical retinoids (Retin-A, Renova) do not pose the same risk, enough concerns exist regarding their safety that you should seek the okay from your derm and OB/GYN before you even consider using them.

Safe swaps: Topical antibiotics such as clindamycin, metronidazole, erythromycin and over-the-counter/non-prescription products containing benzoyl peroxide, alpha hydroxy acids and azelaic acid are okay.

Must-haves: Belli Pregnancy Specialty Skin Care Solutions Acne Clearing Facial Wash ($22, FYI, this brand is the only line that screens ingredients to make sure they have no link to birth defects or reproductive toxicity. Also, DDF Benzoyl Peroxide Gel 5 Percent With Tea Tree Oil ($24,, and Philosophy On A Clear Day H2O2 ($20,
No-no 2: phthalates
Aliases: dibutyl phthalate (DBP), diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP)
Found in: nail/cuticle treatments, lipstick, anti-aging products, fragrance
What they do: They're plasticizers that add texture and luster to cosmetics, help fragrances last longer or absorb into the skin better, and make nail polish chip-resistant.

Why the red flag: Research says exposure might be linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity, particularly to male fetuses. There's enough concern about the safety of DBP that Urban Decay completely discontinued the use of phthalates in its line of nail polishes. Even if a product contains phthalates, the label might not list it as an ingredient if it is a component of a fragrance because the ingredients in a fragrance are protected under trade secret laws. If this is a concern, buy "fragrance-free" products.

Safe swaps: Hard Candy Vintage Nail Polish ($7,, Avalon Organics COQ10 Enzyme Facial Cleansing Milk ($11.95, and Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer ($4,
No-no 3: parabens
Alias: sodium methylparaben, methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben
Found in: moisturizer, shampoo, conditioner, anti-aging products, sunscreen, toner/astringent, makeup

What they do: They are preservatives that protect products from bacterial growth
Why the red flag: Limited research indicates parabens may disrupt the body's hormone systems, and there is enough concern about methylparaben that it has been banned or deemed unsafe for use in certain cosmetics in the European Union.

Safe swaps: Kiss My Face Obsessively Organic Under Age Ultra Hydrating Moisturizer ($19.99,, Juice Beauty Antioxidant Serum ($45,, Jason Organics Natural Apricot Super Shine Shampoo and Conditioner ($3.99 each,, Jane Iredale PurePressed Base ($48,
No-no 4: fragrances
Alias: perfume, parfum, cologne, scent
Found in: Just about everything from moisturizer, perfume and lipstick to self-tanner and deodorant

What they do: Fragrance is generally used to mask the unfriendly odors of chemicals used in a product or to make the product smell more appealing.

Why the red flag: Because individual ingredients in "fragrance" are protected by trade secret laws, companies are not required to divulge ingredients -- some of which may pose risks. There is no legal definition of the term "fragrance-free," so even if a product is marketed as such, it may still contain a masking fragrance.

Safe swaps: Peter Thomas Roth Tinted Mineral Moisturizer ($42,, Free and Clear Liquid Cleanser for Sensitive Skin ($7.75,, and Tom's of Maine Natural Deodorant Stick ($4.29,
No-no 5: toluene
Alias: methylbenzene

Found in: nail products

What it does: It's an industrial solvent (liquid that can dissolve chemical substances) that allows nail polish to go on smoothly and stick to the nail.

Why the red flag: There is a high risk for developmental and reproductive toxicity, including brain and cell damage, when exposed to large doses of toluene, particularly when it is inhaled. Although it is still found in nail products, it has been deemed unsafe for use in cosmetics by the International Fragrance Association Codes and Standards.

Safe swaps: L'Oréal Paris PRO Manicure ($4.99,, Revlon Nail Enamel ($4.79,, Paula's Choice Longevity Base and Top Coat ($7.95,
No-no 6: formaldehyde
Found in: nail-strengthening and cuticle treatments, hair color/bleaching, styling gel/lotion

What it does: Formaldehyde is a preservative, disinfectant and hardener in cosmetic products

Why the red flag: The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Council has recommended limiting the use of it in cosmetics because of proven links to cancer and reproductive/developmental toxicity toluene. It has been banned or found unsafe in cosmetics in Japan and is restricted in cosmetics in Canada.

Safe swaps: Barielle Cuticle Replenisher with Mango Butter ($15,, John Masters Organics Sweet Orange and Silk Protein Styling Gel ($17.50,, Light Mountain Natural Hair Color and Conditioner ($7.44,
No-no 7: p-phenylenediamine
Aliases: PPD, PPDA

Found in: hair color/bleaching, hairspray, shampoo and conditioner
What it does: hair colorant

Why the red flag: This is the chemical that started all of the worry about getting your hair dyed while pregnant. High exposure has been linked to reproductive/developmental toxicity and cancer, and there's strong evidence that it's neurotoxic (a substance that damages the nervous system).

Safe swaps: Clairol Loving Care ($13.95,, Burt's Bees Hair Repair Shea and Grapefruit Deep Conditioner ($8,, Weleda Baby Calendula Shampoo and Body Wash ($10,
No-no 8: oxybenzone
Alias: benzophenone

Found in: sunscreen

What it does: absorbs ultraviolet light

Why the red flag: While the risk is not as high as retinoids, there is limited research showing links to developmental toxicity and hormonal disruptions with high exposure.

Safe swaps: Vanicream Sunscreen Sensitive Skin SPF 60 ($16.99,, Lavera SPF 15 Sun Lip Balm ($7.88,, Belli Pregnancy Specialty Skin Care Solutions Anti-Chloasma Facial Sunscreen ($22,, 3LAB Perfect Lite Sunscreen SPF 30 ($45,
So there you have it. I know our parents raised us without all these things to be careful of, and we turned out fine. But it's always to know what's out there, just in case you feel like being extra cautious.


At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this. You rock. And yes its true our parents didn't worry about all these things, but it doesn't mean the risks weren't there.
And that's just it, they're "risks". Not something to get anxiety attacks over, but definitely something to be informed of and careful about. Plus there are things such as autism and attention deficit disorders that weren't as known of when are moms were pregnant. Now we know. There's no excuse for ignorance.
Thanks again for this. You rock.
(So should I not wash my hair and get made up? Just great.) Just kidding!
I love you babe!

At 3:13 PM, Blogger Gina said...

You're right Fi, there's no excuse to not be informed. Glad you enjoyed the article:) Love you too!

At 9:47 PM, Blogger Daphne said...

I LOVE Belli!! Especially the Acne Wash, it changed my life. Thanks for the great post!

At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Monica said...

Thank you so, so much for this post. Belli Skincare is the only company that actually screens for teratogens. I love their whole line


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