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Beauty Products to Drop During Pregnancy

A Baby Bumper’s Guide to Safe Beauty Basics

Way back, when pregnancy was invented, beauty products didn’t exist. Everyone and everything was au natural. While you can’t recreate those conditions today, you can do your best to avoid anything that’s questionable and check all ingredient labels.

The next 9 months are best filled with joy and wonder—not fear and worry about doing every little thing perfectly. To prevent overwhelm, we’ve created a basic guide so you can create the healthiest, safest, most loving little cocoon for your baby-to-be!

A good rule of thumb: if you can’t pronounce it, avoid it.

This works as well at the dinner table as it does in the bathroom or salon.

Another good general guideline: if it smells toxic, it probably is.

Remember, you don’t have to ingest something for it to enter your body. The skin and nose are access roads to your baby’s sanctuary too. Anything that can get into the bloodstream can cross the placenta.

To start, check all medications (and even herbs and vitamins) with your doctor or health-care professional and let him or her know that you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant.


The safest thing to do is to take a break from your beauty routine. Who knows, it might even be liberating!

If you just can’t go without, look for products that say they are phthalate-free, paraben-free, toluene-free, formaldehyde-free, and fragrance-free. “Hypoallergenic” and “organic” products might be better choices, but check the labels because they might sneak in some real doozies despite the leafy, green, floral, or ‘natural-looking’ packaging.

MakeupCaution! Go for a minerals-only makeup line.

Eyelash gluesSkip it.

Nail polishSkip it. Most nail polishes contain a combo known as the "toxic trio:” toluene, a suspected carcinogen, along with phthalates and formaldehyde. Try a natural nail polish brand like Zoya.

HairspraysSkip it. Filled with phthalates and especially bad since they’re so easily inhaled. Try a safe mousse or gel instead.

Perfumes / synthetic fragrancesSkip it. Lots of phthalates here and many mystery ingredients fall under the term “fragrance.” While you’re at it, ditch the air fresheners and scented candles too.

Spray self-tanners and spray tansSkip it. A lot of unknown risk here. Better safe than sorry.

Chemical sunscreensSkip it. They contain hormone disruptors. Use a physical block containing zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. You can also protect yourself from UV rays by covering up with clothing.

Hair removersSkip it. Shave instead.

Hair straightenersSkip it. This includes Japanese or other keratin treatments.

Hair dyesSkip it. Use plant-based, natural henna if you must. Never the black stuff—that’s a chemical henna.

BotoxSkip it. While Botox hasn’t been proven harmful it does contain botulinum toxin A – the thing that causes food poisoning.

Dermal fillersSkip it. There is unknown risk here.

Acne medications like Accutane, Retin-A, and TetracyclinesSkip it. Accutane can cause birth defects. Tetracyclines can permanently stain the permanent teeth of unborn babies.

SteroidsCaution! Topical steroids can be used in small amounts at appropriate strengths under a doctor’s supervision.

TattoosSkip it. Tattoo dyes are not regulated and you’re tempting fate with anything that involves needles.


Many ingredients haven’t been studied in terms of their effect on a developing fetus. There are also a lot of differing opinions out there. This is where we stand: better safe than sorry!


Retinoids / Retinol / Retin-A / retinyl palmitate: found in prescription acne and anti-aging products and linked to birth defects, miscarriage, and impaired growth.

Salicylic acid / Benzoyl peroxide: found in acne products. We err on the side of caution here even though small amounts are ok.

Hydroquinone: a skin-lightening agent used to treat melasma and brown spots. Some women can experience darkening of the skin often referred to as “pregnancy mask.” You must wait until your child is born and off breast milk before you treat spots and hyperpigmentation issues with hydroquinone. There are carcinogenicity (cancer) concerns with hydroquinone.

Parabens (BPA): used as cosmetic preservatives. They are hormone disruptors that are absorbed easily by the skin.

Phthalates: can imitate natural hormones and may affect male sexual development.

Aluminum Chloride: levels in antiperspirants might be ok, but higher levels in prescription products used to treat hyperhidrosis are an issue.




Essential oils: just because they’re “natural” doesn’t mean they don’t pack powerful effects that may harm a developing fetus. Dabbling here simply won’t do! Know your oils inside and out before you proceed.


• Hyaluronic acid

• Alpha hydroxy acids / AHA

• Glycolic or oleic acid for acne


• Argan, jojoba, and coconut oils are all great for moisturizing, but will not truly eliminate or minimize stretch marks.

We offer a safe choice with our SoCo Skin Free line. The four 'Skin Free' products are free of the harmful ingredients listed above.

Please keep in mind: you can be 6 weeks into your pregnancy before it’s confirmed, so follow these guidelines not only when you are pregnant, but also when you’re trying.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch: (203) 323-5660

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