Pregnancy and Makeup: Truths and Myths

One of the new hotly debated topics has been whether or not wearing makeup during pregnancy is safe. Some women worry that maybe the makeup could leach into their blood stream, poison the baby and turn it into the next makeup plastered Kim Kardashian.

Seriously though, many people are concerned that makeup such as nail polish, lipstick, hair dye, eye liner, and all of those products can cause some serious harmful side effects to an unborn baby. Even many doctors and healthcare practitioners have divided opinions on the issue.

The fact of the matter is that most-- if not all makeup products-- are quite safe for women to wear during pregnancy. Most of the horror stories are nothing more than urban legends; that being said there are a select few makeup products that should be avoided during pregnancy.

There are things best avoided during pregnancy like alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine, could makeup really one of these things too? We're here to separate fact from fiction. Keep on reading and find out why dying your hair red could poison your baby for life or why your moisturizer could potentially cause a miscarriage… or is it just a myth.

7 Nail Polish 

One myth that has been regularly circulated around the maternity community is that nail polish can be--and is--very harmful to your baby, it could give them cancer and other birth defects!

Needless to say this is completely false. While it's true that nail polish does contain some very harmful chemicals--2 to be precise, formaldehyde and toluene to be even more specific--they don't pose a serious risk to mothers or their babies.

Formaldehyde is used to harden nail polish. There have been risks associated with inhaling too much formaldehyde such as throat, eye, nose, and lung irritation and there have even been links to the development of cancer in the baby.

Scared to Paint Your Nails During Your Pregnancy, Find Out the Truth About Nail Polish

Toluene can cause nervous system damage to both you and your baby as well as birth defects. Now, this all sounds very scary, but the fact is that you would have to be exposed to monumental amounts of these chemicals to actually get sick, and moreover there are strict regulations as to how much of these chemicals can be in nail polish.

For this to actually have any potential effects, you would pretty much have to be huffing and inhaling nail polish all day and night long while pregnant.

To put it into perspective, people that work with formaldehyde--not nail polish containing small amounts of it, but straight up pure formaldehyde, may experience sickness related to that chemical after years and years of working with it day in and out.

So there’s one myth debunked, it’s completely okay to polish your nails every now and then or even every few days, unless you’re actively and purposefully huffing on it to try and get high. It won’t do diddly squat, so polish away!

6 Salicylic Acid 

This acid is present in many skin products like toner and cleansers that have the acid in it to treat skin disorders like severe acne. There's a big problem with salicylic acid during pregnancy.

The first point to make is that unlike acne cleansers, nail polish and hair dyes are applied in moderation to places that aren’t directly on the skin's surface. Unlike moisturizers and skin treatments containing salicylic acid which are often put on the face, hands, and generally all over the body, depending on the severity and type of skin condition.

This means that your body will absorb a lot more of the chemicals present in these products--in this case salicylic acid. The skin is a direct portal for germs and chemicals to get inside your body.

If You've Been Using Salicylic Acid, You Should Stop Immediately

It's recommended by doctors that pregnant women avoid even topical applications of any form of salicylic acid as that can be enough to make your baby sick. This agent is generally considered safe, but it really depends on the quantities being used.

That being said, any salicylic acid taken orally is highly forbidden for pregnant women as it can cause serious birth defects and complications. This is because salicylic acid is the same thing that's present in aspirin, which is also not allowed during pregnancy.

That's because it can cause miscarriage, slow the baby’s growth, and cause lung and heart problems in unborn children. Like I’ve said in previous articles, avoid aspirin at all costs, especially when pregnant. Salicylic acid is a huge no-no when pregnant, and that’s the truth!

5 Lipstick

Another big stir being caused in the maternity world is that lipstick apparently can lead to lead poisoning in an unborn child, early birth or miscarriage and it can cause slowed or decreased brain, kidney, and nervous system development as well as behavioral problems.

This is quite the list isn’t it...

Sounds like someone really has it out for lipstick. The reason behind this is that some, not all, but some lipsticks contain trace amounts lead and several other metals like aluminum which keeps the color from bleeding, and titanium oxide which is a whitening agent.

First of all it's only trace amounts, the lipstick isn’t full of these things, it just has a small amount of it. If you're concerned at all there are plenty of lipsticks that don’t have any of these metals present. It's not true that all lipstick contain lead and will harm your unborn baby.

Lipstick Isn't Going to Hurt Your Baby Unless You Feed Them a Whole Tube of It After They're Born

You would have to be using the lipstick as a meal replacement instead of lipstick. Literally, even for the lipsticks that contain lead, you would have to eat like 15 tubes of lipstick a day for it to do anything at all, and let’s be honest, lipstick tastes horrible so I don’t think anyone is going to be eating a rainbow selection of lipsticks for lunch.

If you really feel like giving yourself or your baby lead poisoning, then sorry, you’re out of luck with lipstick, you’re better off eating lead paint chips for breakfast-- that might actually work. As for lipstick killing your baby because of the lead content, well let’s just say there’s a bigger chance of you actually eating lead paint chips. Myth debunked!

4 Retinoids

Retinoids are a group of chemicals that include Differin, Renova, Tazorac, and Avage. These chemicals that are often found in moisturizers and anti aging skin crèmes because they're shown to improve skin tone and reduce wrinkles.

Retinoids are a group or type of Vitamin A, and what increased amounts of Vitamin A does is increase the healing ability of your skin and aids cell division to make your skin regenerate faster. Skin moisturizer is another product that you put directly on the skin and thus gets absorbed by the body.

People who use moisturizer often use a fair--if not overly excessive--amount at once or several times a day, so the risk of actually getting enough of the harmful chemical to do damage to your baby is definitely present.

Be Aware of the Ingredients in Your Skin Care Products

A pregnant mother who gets too much vitamin A can actually cause some serious congenital birth defects. Taking vitamins, supplements, mineral, and multi vitamins is all the rage right now, and some people who do eat them might think that eating 2 is great because eating 1 is good.

The fact of the matter is that you can actually get Vitamin A overloaded which then effects the baby. That being said, it’s probably safe to use moisturizer, but then you might have to avoid foods that contain too much Vitamin A and your prenatal vitamins. Just take your prenatal vitamins and switch moisturizer during pregnancy.

Remember, everything in moderation, you can moisturize just don’t over-do it, just like eating supplements there can be too much of a good thing which can then result in a bad thing.

3 Hair Dyes

Dying hair is a fun way for some people to pamper themselves, I did it just for giggles, but for some it’s a costly beauty maintenance they do every month. Recently there have been debates about whether or not dying your hair during pregnancy can be harmful to a baby or not.

Many people--mainly those already preconditioned towards being skeptical of big business as well as practitioners of homeopathy--claim that hair dye can contain many chemicals which are harmful and deadly to your unborn baby.

Ok, let’s get this straight, the people saying these things are neither peer reviewed scientists, nor are they really experts of any kind at all. The real experts and medical associations all over the world say that hair dye is completely fine even during pregnancy, it really makes no difference at all.

Be Informed and Don't Just Listen to What Other People Say

The reason people get freaked out is because hair dyes and other products such as perming agents, bleaches, or curling chemicals sound scary; lye, lithium, potassium, guanidine peroxide, sodium hydroxide, the fact of the matter is that it doesn’t really matter if these chemicals are harmful or not, and for the record they really aren’t.

And for the ones that may be slightly harmful, they're only present in minute trace amounts. Once again you would have to be eating the hair dye instead of dying your hair with it.

Moreover, people say this because they are afraid that your body will absorb the chemicals through the skin and somehow negatively affect the baby... you don’t dye your skin do you. No you don’t is the correct answer there.

Your Hair is Comprised of Dead Cells, so Go Ahead and Dye Your Hair

Your hair is what you dye, and it's humanly and anatomically impossible for your hair to absorb things and transfer it to your skin and spread it through the rest of your body.

Shafts of hair are not hollow straws that suck up chemicals and poison you. Just think about it, most of us live in cities with tones of air pollution and nastiness flying around in the air, if your hair actually did suck all of this up, then people living in cities would be poisoned before their first birthday!

Once again, it’s nothing more than a myth, so if you want neon blue hair with silver highlights then go for it.

2 Soy

There's a huge Soy health craze sweeping the nation and many people are turning to soy as a healthy alternative to regular food stuffs. Many women may think that using makeup which contains soy is safer than makeup that contains other harmful sounding chemicals when the fact of the matter is that soy can be quite unsafe as well.

Now, soy isn’t fatal for your baby or to your pregnancy, but it sure can be harmful for a pregnant mother. This is because soy may actually make the “mask of pregnancy” worse. These are dark patches on the face which develop during pregnancy known as chloasma or melasma.

Soy Isn't Deadly, but It Might Be a Good Idea to Lay Off Soy During Pregnancy

Soy has chemicals in it which may cause a pregnant woman to break out in the mask of pregnancy, or if it's already happening, it may just make it worse. This isn’t too bad though, as the mask most often goes away after pregnancy, so if you really like soy I won’t stop you from eating it or using soy based make up, but you’ve been warned!

1 Chemical Hair Removers

Waxing is the most preferred way of removing unwanted hair. Recently chemical hair removers have become all the rage with women who want to remove those unsightly hairs.

Even though these removers may sound scary because they're called 'chemical removers' and have unpronounceable ingredients in them doesn't mean they're unsafe. It's actually been proven that there's absolutely no specific chemicals which would put a pregnant mother or her unborn child at risk.

The Reason being that none of the chemicals are absorbed through the skin and moreover none of them are toxic. Furthermore the only risks associated with chemical hair removers are allergic reactions to the skin that can happen whether a woman is pregnant or not.

You're Safe to Remove Unwanted Hair, Just Be Aware That Your Skin Might Be More Sensitive Than Usual

Although, as some women’s skin does become more sensitive during pregnancy this may be more of an issue for those women. However it's just a myth that they do pose any sort of threat to your baby. So, there's absolutely no reason to go to the waxing salon or to take out the razor and shaving cream every few days.

On a side note, chemical peels are a little different as they do soak into the skin over a prolonged period of time and may be harmful to an unborn baby. Chemical hair removals are a go and chemical peels are a no!

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