The stick turned blue and now you’re waiting to welcome your little one into the world! Most likely, you’ve turned your attention to baby proofing and detoxifying your home. You’ve ransacked your kitchen, removing all processed and chemically-filled food, you’ve tossed all those industrial cleaners that make your eyes water, and maybe you’ve even swapped out all those BPA-riddled plastic containers for glass tuber ware.
Now it’s time to take a look at your bathroom!
I understand the struggle when it comes to this area of the house. Once you find a beauty product that works for your skin and hair, it’s hard to switch, going through the tedious process of trial and error once again. This is especially hard for those vegan mamas out there!
So, you may be thinking that you can put it off until after the baby arrives since you’re already going through so many changes as it is.
Did you know that your skin absorbs a startling 64 percent of what you put on it? In fact, another study claims that your skin absorbs closer to 100 percent of fragrance ingredients. Therefore, instead of waiting until your little one arrives, it may be a good time to take a look at the ingredients in your current skincare routine.
With that said, what should you be looking for that’s beneficial? What do you need to avoid? And for those vegan mamas, which vegan-friendly skincare lines are best for pregnancy?
Let’s take a look and help you find your perfect pregnancy-friendly skincare brand!
Your Miraculous Absorbing Skin
Along with a porous design lending to a high absorption rate, your skin also happens to be the “largest organ of your body” and therefore demands a little more attention than we generally give it. This is especially true for what we put on our skin as it will eventually end up inside our bodies and to our blood and lymphatic system. Plus, depending on where you apply the beauty product (face, armpits, genitalia, etc.), your skin can absorb anywhere from 64 to 100 percent of the product.
How does this happen?
It all depends on the ingredients! If the ingredients are small and permeable — such as “L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C), tocopherol acetate (vitamin E), and retinol (vitamin A)” — they will be “uptaken by skin cells and processed” then secreted out of the skin cells where they enter circulation. Next, are the large and non-permeable ingredients in which there are two types. First, if the ingredients are large and non-permeable — such as “peptide ingredients like Matrixyl 3000” — they “will move between the skin cells for a period of time” before entering circulation. Secondly, if the ingredients are large and non-permeable — such as aluminum (think aluminum in deodorants) — they may also be “temporarily absorbed by some glands in a process known as ‘appendageal absorption'” in which “substances may be stored within the glands for absorption overtime before being released into the bloodstream.”
When reviewing ingredients, it’s important to take a look at the permeability of ingredients to see where it lies on this spectrum.
Common Ingredients for Pregnant Mamas to Avoid
First and foremost, make sure to consult your doctor regarding your beauty regimen! Your doctor will be your ultimate go-to guide for safe and unsafe beauty product ingredients! With that said, there are a handful of chemicals that you should simply avoid if you’re looking to have a chemical and toxin-free pregnancy.
When looking at the ingredients list on your new body lotion, face cream, or skin serum, it’s important to look for the big names that generally are unhealthy for your body which include toxins, chemicals, petroleum derivatives, colors, preservatives, and synthetic fragrances. Most mainstream beauty products “contain a cocktail of carcinogenic chemicals, allergens, and irritants” that usually stem from these artificial chemical ingredients. It’s also important to steer clear of ingredients that may cause disruptions in hormones — hormone disruptors — which (while incredibly controversial) may cause issues for the baby and mama alike.
So, what are the big common beauty product chemicals you want to steepr clear of? If any of these are listed, put it back on the shelf!
- Retinoids/Retinol/ Retin-A/ Retinyl palmitate (acne treatment)
- Cocoamidopropyl Betaine
- Olefin Sulfonate
- Sodium Luaroyl Sarcosinate/ Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
- Potassium Cocoyl Glutamate
- Parabens (preservative + hormone disruptor)
- Formaldehyde/ Diazolidinyl Urea (preservative)
- Aluminum Chloride
- Oxybenzone (hormone disruptor)
- Avobenzone (hormone disruptor)
- Thioglycolic acid
- Botulinum Toxin (botox)
A Note on Chemical Sunscreens
Instead of using some of the harsh toxin-filled skincare products to help with dark spots and pregnancy-related melasma (also called the pregnancy mask), some mamas-to-be opt for more sunscreen. While sunscreen is a great option, you’ll want to steer clear of chemical-based sunscreens. Read the ingredients label and avoid any sunscreen with “avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, oxtinoxate, menthyl anthranilate, and oxtocrylene.” These ingredients are “not all classified under the FDA categories,” therefore it’s recommended to use “physical blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.”
Uncommon Ingredients for Pregnant Mamas to Avoid
You may think that by simply going “all-natural” with plant-based products, you’re avoiding any dangerous compounds. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Some plant-based ingredients are also unsafe for pregnant mamas and these are generally not well-known or uncommon. With that said, similarly to the common ingredients, make sure to consult your doctor regarding any beauty products that you’re unsure of!
Some essential oils should be limited or avoided altogether. Turns out that the coveted potency that makes these essential oils so useful also makes them dangerous. When it comes to essential oils you’ll want to avoid a handful such as “jasmine and clary sage [which] have been known to trigger contractions, sage and rosemary oil [whcih] can cause bleeding, and rosemary has been proven to increase blood pressure.” With that said, most essential oils can be made safe simply by diluting them with your favorite carrier oil or those that have been diluted in beauty products. Make sure to consult your doctor about your essential oil use beforehand!
Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide
Even though these ingredients are super effective, natural, and vegan-friendly ingredients for those suffering from acne, they are also widely-recognized as unsafe for pregnancy. While topical use of salicylic acid during pregnancy is not well researched, oral usage has been linked to an increased “risk for intracranial bleeding in the fetus” during late pregnancy. Benzoyl Peroxide, another effective acne fighter, is incredibly powerful and therefore increases the risk of issues with the fetus and therefore is not recommended for use during pregnancy.
Even if a product is vegan-friendly, it can still contain harmful chemicals linked to that wonderful fragrance you love. It’s best to simply avoid beauty products with fragrances for the duration of our pregnancy unless you’re sure that it has been sourced 100 percent from natural sources — such as flowers. Look at the ingredients label and put it back if it contains “parfum, perfume, linalool, limonene, eugenol, citronellol, geraniol, or cinnamal.”
Vegan Beauty Products to Trust
Knowing what to avoid is simply the first step (and most important!) in the process to baby-safe pregnancy beauty care. Once you define what you don’t want, then you need to find those perfect products that you do want. For vegan mamas, this can sometimes be a challenge.
What do you want to look for?
First off, choosing a product that has been USDA certified organic is a huge step in the right direction! This means that the product is at least 95 percent organically derived and that remaining five percent has strict guidelines regarding chemical ingredient usage. Also, try looking for the term “all-natural,” which generally means that the ingredients are plant-based. With that said, this doesn’t mean the product is vegan-friendly! For vegan mamas, look for the vegan certified symbol (the big “V”) or vegan terminology on the package. Another great tip … if you can’t pronounce the ingredient, then you most likely don’t want it in your body! With that said, many ingredients labels will use the full scientific name for plants, which are difficult to pronounce, so take this tip with a grain of salt and personal exploration.
To help you out, we’ve found five beauty products that are vegan-friendly, free of chemicals and toxins, and safe for pregnancy!
This Body Merry Stretch Marks & Scars Defense Cream Daily Moisturizer is the perfect line of defense for healing, nourishing, and protecting the skin on your belly during pregnancy. Body Merry enriches this moisturizer with vitamins — specifically E, C, B3, and B5 — plant stem cells, seaweed, rich oils, cocoa, and shea butter. All of these ingredients aim to tighten skin, lighten the appearance of dark marks or stretches, and infuse your skin and body with antioxidants. This product is cruelty-free, vegan-friendly, and safe for all skin types! A 4-ounce jar costs $18.99.
This Farmstead Apothecary 100% Natural Body Lotion is great during pregnancy and after! Not only does Farmstead Apothecary use organic and natural ingredients — such as safflower oil, sunflower oil, non-GMO vegetable emulsifying wax, radish root ferment, and vitamin E — this lotion is scented with real fruit. This product is vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, and contains no chemicals, toxins, or artificial fragrances. An 8-ounce jar costs $14.24.
This Belli Healthy Glow Facial Hydrator and Moisturizer is not only pregnancy safe, but it’s also vegan-friendly! This product works its hydrating magic sans toxins and chemicals using only natural ingredients including vitamin C, grapeseed oil, and chamomile. Not only does it moisturize but this product also nourishes, increases collagen, fights acne, unclogs pores, and reduces dark spots. Zero synthetic fragrances, parabens, gluten, phthalates, preservatives, or any other chemicals! A 1.5-fluid ounce bottle costs $29.07.
This 7th Avenue Products Natural Organic Mineral Zinc Oxide Sunscreen is not only chemical and toxin-free, but it’s also 100 percent plant-based and vegan-friendly. The ingredients include “sunflower oil, deionized water, zinc oxide, titanium oxide, plant essence, and amino acids.” While protecting you from rays, this sunscreen will also reduce fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, and prevents signs of aging. A 2.8-fluid ounce bottle costs $10.89.
This Soapwalla Organic/Vegan Pregnant Belly + Body Oil is not only vegan and certified organic but is also cruelty-free! Created from all-natural ingredients — meadowfoam, jojoba, apricot kernel, sweet almond, and black currant seed oils — this oil will nourish and soothe skin, while also encouraging collagen regeneration to alleviate stretch marks. This product is safe for pregnant mamas and can also be used on other scars! A 4-ounce bottle costs $36.00.
We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
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