Pregnancy is an exciting time for any new mum-to-be, but trying to get your head around what you should and shouldn't be doing can be daunting.
While there’s a lot of information available when it comes to what you can eat, one area that really seems to lack information is skincare and beauty when pregnant.
Mum-of-one, Niamh Ryan from Bella Beauty says she often has pregnant clients walk into her salon asking about suitable in-store products or treatments, only to realise the products they’re using on a day-to-day basis are unsafe.
“Once I would start talking to them about what they were using at home, I would realise that that the products they were using were not suitable for pregnant women and that they had no idea that they couldn't use them.
“I was also quite shocked that many professionals were selling products containing ingredients that they did not register were not safe in pregnancy, I suppose sometimes its only when you are in the headspace of being pregnant or have been pregnant that it registers as much with you.“
Between breakouts, rosacea and pigmentation, pregnancy can be hard on a lot of women’s skin - and then there’s the headache of trying to find something that clears the problem. The problem is that in looking for a solution to their skin problems, many mums-to-be don't know which ingredients are not suitable for them.
Here’s Niamh’s list of beauty ingredients to avoid when pregnant.
Vitamin A/ Retinols/Retinoids
Retinols – a derivative of vitamin A – are usually found in highly active anti-ageing products. Some studies have shown that high doses of vitamin A during pregnancy can be harmful to an unborn child, so it’s recommended to avoid these products when pregnant.
This ingredient is normally found in acne products and its percentage can vary widely from product to product, and again it is not something I would use in pregnancy. Salicylic acid is in the aspirin family and researchers have found that high doses taken orally have been found to cause birth defects and pregnancy complications.
These can cross over into the placenta so I would avoid anything that has these in it.
Don't panic if you have been using these ingredients while breastfeeding or pregnant – just avoid using them for the remaining time.
What about in-salon treatments?
It is really important to tell your therapist if you are pregnant, even if you’re only a few weeks into it. Most salons can't and won't take pregnant women for body treatments until after 12 weeks and some will wait even longer. It is at the salon and their insurer’s discretion. This is here for your safety so you and your baby are not put at risk.
Niamh says precautions still need to be taken after this time: “After the 12 weeks, there are still a number of salon treatments that cannot be undertaken when pregnant due to the ingredients they use. These include some high end peels, electrical treatments, such as laser, and sometimes treatments that require tinting or waxing.
“If you go to a salon with therapists you know and love, I would tell them you’re pregnant and get a patch test for tinting (even if you have had it done a 100 times) and waxing. When the hormone levels are high, you can be much more reactive to products and treatments, so you need to proceed with caution. Any experienced therapist will steer you in the right direction.”
While there are things you need to avoid, Niamh says there are still some fabulous treatments you can enjoy when pregnant. “Pregnancy massage, reflexology, pedicures (although make sure they know you are pregnant) and Mama Mio pregnancy treatments, which are available in salons around the country. You can also enjoy physical facials such as microdermabrasion when pregnant, as well as facials that are suitable for pregnancy.“
Niamh Ryan is an experienced therapist who was one of the first in Connacht to achieve the Skin Expert award from Dermalogica. She is also one of the top five ranking make-up artists in the country. For more information, visit Bella Beauty.