It's time to debunk the myths of beauty maintenance during pregnancy. Contrary to popular belief, you can still paint your nails and colour your hair while you're pregnant. Click through this gallery for the truth about the biggest beauty myths, as well as expert tips and safe product recommendations.
A version of this article was published in our October 2012 issue with the headline "Beauty and the bump," p. 46.
It's safe to zap zits with over-the-counter washes and creams as long as they contain concentrations of five percent or less of benzoyl peroxide, or two percent or less of salicylic acid, says Winnipeg dermatologist Victoria Taraska. If you’re taking an oral acne medication, talk to your doctor about discontinuing it. Accutane, tetracycline and retinoid products have been shown to cross the placenta, causing heart defects or impaired skeletal growth in babies.
“Back off on scrubs and peels if your skin is pink or irritated,” Taraska suggests. You may also want to swap your regular products for ones that are free of chemicals like parabens, phthalates and sulfates. There are some concerns over the e ffects of these ingredients on the hormonal and physical development of growing babies, though the research remains inconclusive.
Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash, Pink Grapefruit, $11, well.ca
Another beauty red flag may come in the form of perfumes and scented products. “Some women will have trouble with strong fragrances, especially during the first trimester,” says Taraska. She suggests shelving your perfume and switching to unscented creams and shampoos if you find that your regular products are bothering you. For fragrance lovers who can’t imagine going out the door without a spritz of something, a lighter scent or formulation, like a body mist instead of an eau de parfum, may be in order. You can also opt for more natural perfumes that are free of the above-mentioned chemicals or an essential-oil based scent.
Kai Eau de Parfum, $76, kaifragrance.com
So far, the science says that nail polish doesn’t pose a risk to your baby. And according to Leeanne Colley, Revlon nail expert and owner of Tips Nail Bar in Toronto, most major polish brands are now free of chemicals like formaldehyde and tolulene. But, you can take safe a step further by opting for a formulation that contains natural colourants and organic ingredients. “Regular pedicures are good for swollen feet and ankles, and they feel really great — especially when you get to the stage where it’s difficult to even reach your feet,” says Colley.
SpaRitual Nail Lacquer, $13, sephora.com
The small amount of chemicals absorbed through the scalp during processing is considered safe according to Motherisk, a research and education program at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. But to err on the side of caution, you may want to postpone your hair-colouring appointment until week 13 or later, once you’ve gotten through baby’s critical first three months of development.
Live Clean Clean Air Volumizing Shampoo, $8, well.ca
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