The safety of various in-clinic cosmetic skin and hair procedures in pregnant women depends on several factors, including the specific procedure, the stage of pregnancy, and the individual’s health status. Generally, elective cosmetic procedures are not recommended during pregnancy due to potential risks to both the mother and the fetus. In this post we will discuss about common cosmetic treatments in pregnancy.
Similarly, hair treatments involving chemical dyes or relaxers may contain potentially harmful ingredients that can be absorbed through the skin and may pose a risk to the developing fetus. It is generally recommended to avoid such treatments during pregnancy or to use safer alternatives with minimal chemical exposure. Some of the cosmetic treatments and products that may pose a risk during pregnancy and breastfeeding are:
Cosmetic Treatments in Pregnancy: Botox (Botulinum Toxin) and Dermal Fillers
According to the American Pregnancy Association, Botox injections are not recommended during pregnancy due to potential risks to the fetus. While there is limited data on the effects of Botox and dermal fillers during breastfeeding, experts advise caution and recommend discussing the risks with a healthcare provider. Additionally, the American Academy of Dermatology suggests delaying these treatments until after breastfeeding.
Cosmetic Treatments in Pregnancy: Chemical Peels & Microdermabrasion
These are cosmetic treatments in pregnancy that remove the outer layer of the skin to improve its appearance and texture. They may cause skin irritation, inflammation, infection, or scarring. They may also increase the sensitivity of the skin to sunlight and other products. The safety of these treatments during pregnancy and breastfeeding is uncertain, but there is a potential risk of exposing the baby to the chemicals or the abrasives used in the crystal microdermabrasion procedures. Therefore, it is suggested to avoid these treatments during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
The American Academy of Dermatology states that chemical peels containing ingredients such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or retinoids should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding due to potential risks of systemic absorption. However, superficial peels using safer ingredients like lactic acid may be considered under the guidance of a dermatologist/cosmetologist.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises against microdermabrasion during pregnancy due to potential risks of infection and skin irritation. Limited data are available on the safety of microdermabrasion during breastfeeding, so it is best to consult with a healthcare provider.
Cosmetic Treatments in Pregnancy: Laser Hair Removal and Electrolysis
These are methods of removing unwanted hair by using laser beams or electric currents. They may cause skin irritation, burns, scarring, or pigmentation changes. The safety of these treatments during pregnancy and breastfeeding is unclear, but there is a theoretical risk of damaging the baby’s skin or eyes if the beams or currents reach the abdomen or the breasts. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends avoiding laser hair removal treatments during pregnancy due to potential risks of skin damage and pigment changes. Limited data are available on the safety of these treatments during breastfeeding, so it is advisable to delay them until after breastfeeding.
Topical Retinoids and Hydroquinone
The American Academy of Dermatology advises against the use of topical retinoids (such as tretinoin) and hydroquinone during pregnancy due to potential risks to the fetus. While limited data are available on the safety of these ingredients during breastfeeding, experts recommend exercising caution and consulting with a healthcare provider.
Cosmetics, moisturizers, and other skin care products
These are products that are applied to the skin to enhance its appearance and condition. They usually contain ingredients that are unlikely to be harmful in pregnancy and breastfeeding as they are minimally absorbed through the skin. However, some ingredients such as hydroquinone, minoxidil, and tretinoin should be avoided as they may have adverse effects on the baby. It is also important to check the labels of the products and avoid those that contain retinoids, salicylates, or parabens. It is also advisable to do a patch test before using any new product to check for any allergic reactions.
Hair dye, bleach, and perm
These are hair products that are designed to alter the color, texture, or shape of the hair. They may contain certain chemicals such as ammonia, peroxide, or formaldehyde that can cause irritation, allergy, or respiratory problems. Although these chemicals are not typically absorbed through the scalp or hair, they may enter the bloodstream or breast milk and impact the baby. To minimize any potential risks, it’s recommended to use these products in a well-ventilated area, wear gloves, and thoroughly rinse the hair after treatment. Additionally, it’s advisable to use natural or vegetable-based products as they are less likely to cause harm.
Nail polish, nail remover, and artificial nails
These products are commonly used to improve the appearance of nails. They contain solvents, resins, or glues that are not absorbed by the skin or nails. However, some of these products may emit fumes that can cause headaches, nausea, or dizziness. It is also possible for these products to come into contact with the mouth or eyes, leading to irritation or infection. It is advisable to use these products in a well-ventilated area, avoid biting or chewing the nails, and wash hands thoroughly after use. To minimize health risks, it is preferable to use water-based or natural products that are less toxic.
Sunscreen, self-tanner, and spray tan
These are products that are used to protect the skin from sun damage or to give it a tan. They usually contain ingredients that are safe to use in pregnancy and breastfeeding as they are not absorbed through the skin. However, some ingredients such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, or octinoxate may cause allergic reactions or hormonal imbalances. It is also possible that some of the products may stain the clothes or the bedding. Therefore, it is advisable to use these products sparingly, avoid inhaling the spray, and wash the skin thoroughly after the treatment. It is also preferable to use mineral-based or organic products that are more natural.
Overall, the safety of in-clinic cosmetic procedures during pregnancy is a complex issue, and caution should be exercised to minimize potential risks to both the mother and the developing fetus. In summary, the safety of cosmetic treatments during pregnancy and breastfeeding requires careful consideration of potential risks to both the mother and the developing fetus or breastfeeding infant. While some treatments may be considered safe under medical supervision or after breastfeeding, others should be avoided altogether. Women must discuss their cosmetic concerns with a healthcare provider who can provide personalized recommendations based on their circumstances. Pregnant women are advised to prioritize their health and the health of their baby by avoiding unnecessary cosmetic procedures during pregnancy and seeking alternative solutions if needed.
- American Pregnancy Association. (n.d.). Botox and Pregnancy. Retrieved from https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/is-it-safe/botox-during-pregnancy-975
- American Academy of Dermatology. (2021). Skin care during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/skin-care-during-pregnancy-and-breastfeeding
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2015). Skin Conditions During Pregnancy. Retrieved from https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/skin-conditions-during-pregnancy
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2020). Cosmetic Procedures During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. Retrieved from https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2020/05/cosmetic-procedures-during-pregnancy-and-breastfeeding
- American Academy of Dermatology. (n.d.). Hydroquinone. Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/public/cosmetic/skin-care-secrets/hydroquinone
- American Academy of Dermatology. (n.d.). Retinoids. Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/public/cosmetic/skin-care-secrets/retinoids
- Skin Care, Hair Care and Cosmetic Treatments in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding