4 Beauty Ingredients To Avoid During Pregnancy

Posted by on Oct 13, 2015

Have you heard the news? We’re expecting! In celebration of Baby Black (due in April!), we’ll be running a #InnerBeautyBaby series here on the blog equipping you with all the information you need to keep your skin vibrant and healthy during pregnancy. Got any tips of your own? Tweet us!


Photo Oct 13, 12 16 05 PM


Pregnancy comes with a ton of do’s and don’ts. You know the basics — no alcohol, less caffeine and absolutely no smoking — but have you baby-proofed your cosmetic shelf? Experts agree these are the beauty ingredients to avoid during pregnancy.


1. Retinoids

Normally, we’re all about retinoids, the powerful substances found in most anti-aging creams and moisturizers, because of how well they reduce wrinkles and improve skin tone. They do, however, contain a high dosage of Vitamin A, which some studies have shown can be harmful to an unborn baby. Retinoids come in a variety of names, so check for anything beginning with Retin-, as well as the ingredients differin and tazarotene.

2. Salicylic Acid

When you’re checking your beauty stash for ingredients, this is probably the one you’ll run into the most: salicylic acid. Found in everything from major acne treatments to even the most basic of toners, the acid is great for clearing pores — but a big no-no during pregnancy. Since salicylic acid is in the aspirin family, high doses of it can cause pregnancy complications or even birth defects. Look out for products with salicylic acid, beta hydroxy acid or BHA on the label.

3. Phthalates

Often found in nail treatments and anti-aging products, phthalates are plasticizers that are commonly used to improve texture and keep product (mainly nail polish) from chipping. Some researchers believe phthalates are responsible for developmental issues, particularly in unborn boys. Check your labels for dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP).

4. Formaldehyde

Probably the most well-known ingredient of the four, formaldehyde is a controversial ingredient used as a preservative and hardener in a wide variety of cosmetic products — particularly hair color and nail treatments. Already heavily restricted in Japan and Canada, formaldehyde can pose a serious risk to you and your baby during pregnancy. It should be clearly marked on the label of any product you use.

With any new product, always consult with your doctor. One of the most important things to keep in mind during this journey is there are so many unknowns, so what worked for your skin before may not work for you now. Even if you don’t physically see or feel change, your skin will fluctuate constantly during pregnancy. Err on the side of caution — this isn’t a time to be experimenting with new products. Keep up with a routine. Less is best, from ingredients to steps. Focus on hydration (including serums!) and tons of SPF. You’ve got a lot to look forward to. Motherhood comes with concerns, but your skin shouldn’t be one of them. I’m on this journey with you — you’re not alone. If you have any questions, help is a phone call away.


Mindy Black

Mindy Black is a licensed esthetician and owner of her results-driven skin care clinic, Inner Beauty Skin Care Inc., located in Lake Mary, Florida. Mindy provides weekly beauty expertise on Orlando's FOX 35 Good Day morning show and has been quoted in Success magazine, the Moms Magazine, Orlando Mom’s Blog, Spark & Hustle, and is an eHow contributor. Mindy's accolades include: Vice Chair Woman of the Greater Sanford Regional Chamber of Commerce, member of the Lake Mary Rotary, Royal Court of Krewe 2012-2013, recipient of the Entrepreneur of the Year award, and nominee of Orlando Business Journal’s “Women to Watch.”