Pregnancy can be a funny time: Just when your self confidence really needs a boost, you'll find many of your beauty go-tos are off limits. But instead of wallowing until delivery day – or worse, not allowing yourself to feel like the beauty you are – make some simple swaps to your makeup bag. There are skincare and beauty options aplenty – many of which are perfectly safe for you and your growing baby.
What to avoid
First and foremost, there are a number of chemicals all pregnant women should avoid completely. These items have been shown to cross the placenta and pose a risk to unborn babies. Scan your skin care products for the following and if you spot one of these ingredients, set it aside for use after baby: Tetracycline, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide and both prescription and over-the-counter retinoids (be on the lookout for a sneaky ingredient called retinol palmitate which is indeed a retinoid). Also beware of essential oils, some of which are potentially hazardous during pregnancy. Tea tree oil, lemongrass and clary sage are among those that should be used with caution. Consult your doctor with any concerns or questions.
When it comes to painting your nails, some folks agree that chemicals in widely available polishes should be avoided during pregnancy. Lucky for pregnant women the world over, there are countless brands like Butter, Chick Nail Polish and Scotch that make three-free polishes without potentially harmful dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde and toulene.
Go au natural
Pregnancy can wreak havoc on skin, throwing off a previously balanced complexion and adding things like dry skin, acne and oiliness into the mix. Switching to natural products may help soothe tired and reactive skin as you may be more sensitive to certain chemicals during pregnancy. Focus on introducing simple ingredient products like shea butter for moisturizing and coconut oil for makeup removal.
Choose a natural sunscreen
Piggybacking off the point above, never leave home without a natural sunscreen. For starters, your skin is more susceptible to sun damage during pregnancy and sitting in the sun unprotected puts you at risk for hyper pigmentation. A natural sunscreen, making use of UVA-blocking zinc oxide, may be gentler on you and cause less of a reaction.
If you haven't guessed yet, "be gentle" should be your new maxim during pregnancy. Due to fluctuating hormones, your skin may be a bit more reactive than usual. Avoid heavy-duty facial masks and anything that promotes drying or tightening. instead, focus on gently exfoliating your skin with a wash cloth and moisturizing thoroughly.
How has your beauty and skincare routine changed now that you're pregnant? Do you have any products or tips you swear by? Spread the word in the comments below.