Skincare chemicals to avoid during pregnancy

As a pregnant woman, you should be aware of not only the food you eat but also what you apply to your skin. There are skincare that contain dangerous chemicals that can harm your unborn child. Though they can be beneficial in exfoliating your skin, they are unhealthy while pregnant.

Below are some of the skincare chemicals and reasons you should avoid their products :

  1. Retinol
    Retinol is a chemical used to treat acne and ageing effects. It is vitamin A in skin treatment, body creams, lotions, ointments and serums. Retinol works beyond the epidermis (outer layer of the skin); it penetrates to the dermis (inner skin). It helps with the skin’s texture and reduces the appearance of wrinkles and pores. But it is dangerous for you as a pregnant woman. It can negatively affect the growth of your baby and can lead to face deformation, hearing loss, learning disabilities, heart problems and wide eyes.
  2. Benzoyl Peroxide
    Benzoyl peroxide is an ingredient used to exfoliate the skin to remove dead skin cells. It helps kill bacteria that cause acne—the ones that build up underneath the outer skin. It can be found in facial cleansers, body washes, and body creams. When excessively used, it can lead to skin dryness and cause skin irritation during pregnancy.
  3. Salicylic Acid
    Salicylic acid is a skincare treatment used as a cleanser and toner to treat acne. It is usually effective for oily skin and as an exfoliant to remove bacteria and clogging. However, it can lead to salicylism — a toxic syndrome that builds up after excess use of salicylic acid. It can result in dizziness, nausea and coma. As a pregnant woman, it must not cross to the placenta; it can lead to prolonged labour, postpartum bleeding and death.
  4. Hydroquinone
    Hydroquinone is a skincare chemical used to treat skin discolouration, such as eczema, acne, and melasma. It lightens the skin and makes dark spots fade away.

Hydroquinone quickly absorbs and can enter your bloodstream and harm your baby. Other effects are itching, irritation, dryness, and redness of the skin. If this chemical is used over time, it can cause ochronosis.

  1. Phenoxyethanol
    This chemical can be found in cleaning products, paint, jet fuel, and skincare products. Phenoxyethanol converts to phenol, which hinders the immune system’s response. When the skin eventually absorbs it, the fetus and reproductive system are affected.


You should watch out for the chemicals listed above in your skincare products to ensure your and your baby’s safety. But you can consult your doctor if you’re using body cream you’re unsure of its chemical combinations.

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