How to Avoid Toxic Personal Care Products During Pregnancy
It is important for a woman to take care of her body during her pregnancy. This means taking a few more precautions than usual. One additional precaution that needs to be taken is to avoid toxic personal care products because they can interfere with the proper growth and development of your unborn baby. Toxic ingredients like parabens, phthalates, and formaldehyde are found in such commonly used products as moisturizers, shampoos, and baby lotions. To avoid these products, you will have to know what ingredients to look out for, how to identify these toxic products, and what natural alternatives you can use.
Knowing Which Ingredients to Avoid
Stay away from parabens.Parabens may disturb your endocrine system. Because of this, it is important to make sure that the products you use do not contain parabens. Unfortunately, parabens are found in 75-90% of all personal care products—from face powder to eyeshadow.
- Read the labels on your personal care products before you purchase them.
Avoid polyethylene glycol.Polyethylene glycol can harm you by removing the protective grease and oils from your skin and hair, and opens the way for other toxins. If toxins are allowed to get into your body, they may also affect your baby.
- Polyethylene glycol is commonly found in hair and skin products like hairspray.
Don’t use products with aluminium.According to some research, aluminum may cause damage to the tissues and bones in the area where it is applied. It may also be linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
- Aluminium is commonly found in antiperspirants.
Take care with phthalates.This chemical is infamously known to influence the occurrence of allergies, diabetes, obesity, and asthma. It has also been linked to breast cancer. Look out for products that may contain phthalates like:
- Nail polish.
Be wary of formaldehyde.Formaldehyde has carcinogenic influences, yet is an ingredient in numerous products. It can also be formed as a reaction to of water and a particular ingredient in a product. Formaldehyde has been found in:
- Nail glue and nail polish.
- Eyelash glue.
- Hair products like hair gel.
- Body wash and body soap.
Be careful with triclosan.Triclosan may cause damage to your baby's nervous system, causing a low birth weight, and problems with the thyroid gland. Because fo this, it is very important to look out for this ingredient in products like:
- Acne creams.
Avoid plastic containers with BPA (Bisphenol A).Choose the one that says it's “BPA free“. This chemical has a negative influence on the growth and development of children.
Identifying Toxic Products
Consult with your doctor.When you find out that you’re pregnant, you should talk to your doctor about products that you should begin to avoid. Your doctor may even provide you with a printed list of products that are known to have negative side effects. When a woman finds out that she is pregnant, she should consult with her doctor about personal care products and ingredients that she should avoid during her pregnancy. Sometimes, the doctor will provide a printed list of ingredients that should be avoided.
- If you have any questions concerning certain products that you are or have been using, you should mention the brand names because the doctor might recognize them as containing potentially harmful ingredients.
- The doctor might also suggest testing for certain chemicals that might have already accumulated in your body from using these products before you were pregnant.
Read the labels on all personal care products.You should not make any assumptions that a brand that has a non-toxic personal care product will make only non-toxic personal care products because different products require different types of ingredients.
- Labels on all personal care products should be read and compared to the list of known toxic ingredients that need to be avoided. This includes labels on sunscreen, lip balm, hand lotion, make-up, and feminine wipes, among other products.
- It might seem annoying or very time consuming for you to read the label on every personal care product, but it is important for the proper growth and development of your unborn baby, as well as your own health.
Throw away or store any products containing toxic ingredients.If you have a lot of products and are feeling overwhelmed, ask friends or family members to help you go through your products to make sure that they are safe. The products that are deemed unsafe should be stored away until after your pregnancy, or thrown away entirely.
- You should replace the products that you get rid of with products that you know to be safe.
Avoid products with artificial fragrances.Products with artificial fragrances may contain phthalate, a chemical that can affect your child’s health.
- Instead, look for products that are scented by essential oils and other natural fragrances.
Avoid lipstick that contains lead.Lead is a toxic heavy metal, and if you drink or eat with lead-containing lipstick on, there is a chance that lead can reach your baby.
- Lead can also be found in face powder, nail polish, and whitening toothpastes.
- If you really love lipstick, get one with all-natural ingredients, essential herbal oils and natural waxes like a beeswax, candelilla wax, and castor wax.
Steer clear of toxic nail polish.Nail polishes can contain chemical substances like Toluene, Formaldehyde, and Dibutyl Phthalate, all of which are harmful and may cause problems with your nerves, hormones or even cancer.
- Read the label and find water-based nail polish without these three chemicals. These nail polishes are non-toxic and easily removable with alcohol.
Note the composition of your favorite shampoo.Shampoos often contain chemicals such as DMSM and hydantoin which, when they come into contact with water, emit chemicals that may be potentially carcinogenic, such as Formaldehyde, Diethanolamine, Triethanolamine.
- Find a shampoo with organic natural ingredients. Try to wash your hair with baking soda. Add a tablespoon of baking soda to your wet hair, rub and rinse.
Be careful with deodorant and antiperspirants.You should be especially mindful of antiperspirants that claim they are long lasting. These products can be rich in aluminium.
- Instead, look for natural antiperspirants that are scented with essential oils and natural ingredients.
Choose antibacterial products wisely.Antibacterial products may contain triclosan, which can cause damage to the baby's nervous system , low birth weight, and problems with the thyroid gland. Sometimes soap and water is sufficient for a good hygiene.
Don’t use store-bought hair colors while pregnant.They may contain chemicals that can cause breast cancer, bladder cancer or even leukemia . If you want to change your hair color, do not change it drastically and try to use natural products.
- Blonds can brighten their hair by rinsing it with chamomile or lemon juice.
- Brunettes can refresh their color with henna.
- You can dye dark hair with a rinse made from sage leaves boiled in water or with color made from walnut shells.
Don’t use any products that contain talcum powder.Talcum powder (or talc) is a fine powder that can be found on condoms and surgical gloves, and in baby powder. Use products without talc and avoid products with this ingredient.
When in doubt, do without.In some locations, it might be hard to find certain types of personal care products that contain do not contain these damaging ingredients. If this is the case, try to go without using products for awhile.
- Check in with your doctor every once in a while. Some products become safe to use as your baby develops and grows.
Making Natural Alternatives
Make your own natural bronzer.You can make a natural, pregnancy-friendly bronzer from cocoa, cinnamon and cornstarch. Mix these ingredients until you get the desired shade.
- Store the natural bronzer in an old bronzer container. Apply it with a brush like a regular bronzer.
Try a homemade eyeliner.Mix cocoa powder and coconut oil, or cocoa butter and the same amount of coconut oil. Then apply the mixture to your eyes using a brush or the end of an old eyeliner pencil.
Experiment with natural lip gloss.You can make your own lip gloss to avoid using products that may contain harmful ingredients. Melt ¼ cup of beeswax, remove from heat and add ¼ cup of castor oil and 2 tablespoons of sesame oil.
- Color with beet juice and store the mixture in the jar.
Mix your own chemical-free shampoo.Mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil and one egg, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar in the blender. You can use this like ordinary shampoo and discard leftovers.
Make your own substitute deodorant.Mix 4 tablespoons of baking soda with 4 tablespoons of cornstarch. Stir in 6 tablespoons of coconut oil and some essential oil (the kind of essential depends on the fragrances you like). Store this mixture in an old deodorant bottle or applicator.
- Steer clear of lead, as it can be toxic in large amounts.
- After the baby is born, the woman may still need to avoid some or all of the toxic personal care products for a certain time period. This is especially true if she is planning to breast feed her newborn baby. There are some toxins that could be transferred to the baby through her milk. Although the risk of birth defects is gone, these toxins can still cause problems in the baby’s development and growth.
Sources and Citations
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