Safe Skin Care

Your Skin Matters to Your Baby

If you ask pregnant women if they know what's good for them and their babies most could give a complete rundown of which foods, drinks, supplements and exercises are appropriate and those that aren't. However, many stop there, forgetting that what goes onto the body is as important as what goes into the body when it comes to pregnancy care.

Your skin is the largest organ you have and it absorbs what is put onto it. Most of us liberally apply all kinds of creams and lotions every day, we slather them on after bathing without considering what might be absorbed through the pores of the skin into the body. When a baby is growing inside the body, what you rub in may have a profound effect.

Sandra Marchese Johnson, a dermatologist with Johnson Dermatology in Fort Smith, Arkansas says, "Everything you eat, apply, or come into contact with may affect not only you but also your baby."

Be Wise - Learn What is Safe

Some topical ingredients in creams and lotions are absorbed into the bloodstream which means there are some that are potentially harmful and should be avoided. As skin products become more powerful and target specific issues, it is particularly important to know what is in them and to be wise about what is used in terms of skin-care products when pregnant. If you are planning to breastfeed, then these considerations are extended for the entire time you are nursing.

Retinoids and Vitamin A

Anti-aging moisturizers, the ones that are praised for reducing wrinkles and tightening the skin contain retinoids, a type of vitamin A that speeds cells division and prevents skin collagen from breaking down. These are the type of substances that a pregnant woman should avoid. Studies indicate that high doses of vitamin A during pregnancy can harm an unborn babe. Oral retinoids, such as Accutane that is used as an acne treatment, are known to cause birth defects. Although topical retinoids have not been found to be harmful when used on the skin of pregnant women, it is better to err on the side of caution than take a chance.

Another No-No - Salicylic Acid

Retinoids are only one of several products that can potentially cause problems for pregnant women. Another is salicylic acid. This is a mild acid that is used to treat skin problems and is found in several skin products, including cleansers and toners. It is of the aspirin family and helps to reduce redness and inflammation on the skin. However, high doses of this acid taken orally have been shown to cause birth defects and pregnancy complications. As with retinoids, when used topically, salicylic acid used sparingly is considered safe. Again, as with retinoids, it is better to avoid it than use it during pregnancy.

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