From the moment you receive the exciting news that you are pregnant the sacrifices begin. And it always starts with the good stuff - wine, soft cheese and caffeine. It's never the stuff you could easily give up like brussel sprouts or boiled cabbage.
And when you have mentally worked through all these sudden favourite food restrictions you then learn that you might have to give up your favourite moisturiser. In the words of our 12 year old “Wait.... what!?!?”
Yes, it *is* true - there are both synthetic and natural ingredients in your moisturiser that you might need to avoid while you are pregnant. The confusing thing is that it’s not black and white.
It's hard to really test, because who’s going to sign up for an experiment on their unborn baby? And the majority of the advice and scientific studies out there about safe ingredients during pregnancy are based on when an ingredient is ingested (eaten), not applied to the surface of your skin.
Another reason why it’s tricky to pin down the cold hard facts about safe skincare ingredients during pregnancy is that everyone's situation and pregnancy is different. What’s OK for one Mum might not be OK for another.
Here at Woohoo Body we’ve done quite a lot of research into pregnancy safe skincare ingredients, as our range of natural deodorants and clean skincare are designed to be safe both during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, with the exception of a couple of products that we recommend you avoid just to be super duper safe. We’ll mention those at the end of this blog post so you don’t miss them and can refer back easily.
We feel very strongly about the importance of transparency and disclosing all possible risks to you and your new family member. Some people might say we avoid ingredients that would probably be fine, but we want to empower you to make your own choices for a smooth pregnancy.
As you browse through our website you’ll notice the ‘Made Safe’ and ‘ Toxic Free’ accreditations on our products - these have been awarded to our products by Safe Cosmetics Australia after very strict scrutiny of our formulas - and they indicate that our products are made with safe, toxic free ingredients.
But while it’s good to know which ingredients are OK to use, it’s probably even more important to know what to avoid.
The following list explains some of the ingredients that we choose to avoid due to concerns that they could potentially impact your pregnancy. We hope this list of ingredients we avoid helps you make the best choice on what to avoid for you and your bubba :)
Vitamin A (also known as Retinyl palmitate, Retinoic Acid, Retinaldehyde, or Retinol)
Too much (or too little) Vitamin A is bad. Both have the potential to affect the development of your baby. When it comes to skincare products it’s generally advised you avoid Vitamin A products during your pregnancy to be safe and ensure it doesn’t tip you over into the “too much” category.
But you don’t need to give up the skin benefits of Vitamin A. Some of our favourite Woohoo creations like the Make My Day Bio-Retinol Gel Cream, FG Serum 02 - Clear and the Sweet Dreams Ultra Rich Beauty Cream all use a plant extract that treats your skin just like Vitamin A. You get all the Vitamin A benefits without the risks and side effects.
Aluminium Chloride Hexahydrate
Aluminium Chloride Hexahydrate is used in antiperspirants to stop you from sweating. The effects on pregnancy are not completely known but the FDA in the USA classes it as an ingredient to avoid. Of course we agree with them, and Woohoo Body has the perfect natural deodorant option for you to switch to :) Check out our full range of pregnancy-safe natural deodorants here.
Formaldehyde is mostly now found in nail polish, but your skincare products can also be using a formaldehyde-releasing preservative. The risks of formaldehyde causing birth defects is well documented so this IS on that’s black and white. Avoid.
Check your skincare labels for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, hydroxymethylglycinate, imidazolidinyl urea and quaternium-15 as these are ingredients that release formaldehyde.
In high doses, Salicylic Acid can be problematic during pregnancy, and the FDA classes it as something to avoid. We do use small amounts of Salicylic acid in the This Is Me Enzyme Exfoliating Mask, so if you wish to avoid it we have other exfoliating options in the Spoonful of Sugar Exfoliating Scrub and the Mud About You Pink Clay Mask which uses a gentle polyhydroxy acid rather than Salicylic Acid.
Phthalates are used in synthetic fragrances to make the aroma linger longer. They’re also known endocrine disruptors, which means they mess around with your hormones. You have enough going on with your body during pregnancy already so we put them on the avoid list.
Essential Oils during pregnancy are really confusing as information is limited and it can depend on how the essential oil is used, what is the concentration and what stage are you at with your pregnancy. For example, clary sage should be avoided in the first trimester but recommended near your due date. The reason is that it's an emmenagogue, which means it can increase pelvic area blood flow which can trigger contractions.
When essential oils are diluted down in a skincare product and their total concentration is less than 1% they can be considered OK and safe for pregnancy. When we use essential oils in our Woohoo Body deodorants and skincare products the total concentration is always under 1%.
For those who want to avoid essential oils completely we have many unfragranced and essential oil free skincare and deodorant options which you can check out here.
Black Seed Oil
Like clary sage, Black Seed Oil can be an emmenagogue when used as a supplement and ingested. There are no specific recommendationswhen it comes to using Black Seed Oil on the skin during pregnancy, so we always stay conservative and advise against using it.
Recap: Woohoo Body products to avoid during pregnancy
As we mentioned above, we do tend to err on the side of being too cautious, so with that in mind, you might want to avoid the following products during your pregnancy:
- This Is Me Enzyme Exfoliating Mask (contains small doses of Salicylic Acid, and high doses can be risky during pregnancy)
- Black Seed Oil (emmenagogue when ingested, with no known studies when applying topically to your skin)
Do what feels right for you
This is not a definitive list and there are more ingredients to know about. If you are ever unsure we are always here to help, as we’re only an email or phone call away.
The most important thing is to do what feels right for you, and if in doubt just ask. While we can’t offer medical advice, we’ll do our best to arm you with all the information you need to help you make an informed decision about which skincare and deodorant products to use during your pregnancy.
Please note that this blog does not contain medical advice and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. While we believe our products are safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding, we recommend that you consult with your medical health professional and refer them to our listed ingredients which can be found on our website to alleviate any concerns.