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The Bump Editors

Point & Counterpoint: Natural Beauty Products

Should you ditch your usual beauty products and go chemical-free during pregnancy? The experts are divided on the issue — check out their warnings, and then raid your makeup bag to decide what should stay and what should go.Plus:Top 10 Pregnancy-Safe Skincare ProductsColoring Your Hair During PregnancyPrenatal Massage Safety

Avoid Chemicals

Latham Thomas, Doula and Author 


“I strongly suggest pregnant women modify their beauty routine and minimize their exposure to toxins. Chemicals in your bloodstream can possibly affect fetal development. Phthalates are linked to cancer, for example. Steer clear of lead, arsenic, oxybenzone (in sunscreen), parabens, retinyl palmitate (or retinol), formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene and ammonia. If you see the word ‘fragrance’ on a product label, it could trigger allergic reactions, and some are toxic phthalates and endocrine-disrupting chemicals. It’s not about scaring parents but about education — if you could avoid a negative reaction, wouldn’t you?”

Natural Doesn’t Mean Safe

Sheryl Ross, MD, FACOG

“Yes, avoiding chemicals that could be dangerous to your unborn baby is advised. But some products may not have been tested properly for potential risks to your pregnancy and baby. Commonly used herbs for beauty that are safe in pregnancy include aloe vera, turmeric and lavender. But other herbs may not be safe, such as black cohosh, carcinia cambogia and senna. There are prescription medications (including erythromycin and clindamycin) that aren’t as natural but work well to treat acne and are safe for you and baby. Bring your beauty products to your doctor to ensure you’re not putting yourself or baby at risk; 98 percent of what my patients bring to me is completely fine.”