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Pregnancy-safe makeup: Why pregnant women should avoid makeup with parabens

Pregnancy-safe makeup: Why pregnant women should avoid makeup with parabens
PHOTO: Unsplash

Pregnancy is the time when you take extra care of yourself and pay attention to every little detail that is directly or indirectly related to your foetus’s healthy growth.

As a pregnant woman, you must focus on consuming healthy food, drinking nutritious shakes, taking proper sleep and also on things you read and listen to.

But do you ever pay attention to the makeup items stocked in your dressing drawer? You might be wondering what makeup has to do with pregnancy and the growth of the baby inside your womb.

Well, according to NCBI scientific reports, ‘Since the majority of cosmetic products are used directly onto the skin, the hazardous chemicals can directly pass the epidermal barrier to the dermis of the human body and thereby enter the systemic blood circulation, which potentially damages the fertility and reproductive health of women.

Some of these chemicals are related to adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Most of the makeup items contain harmful chemicals. Even the ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ makeup items use chemicals for preservation to increase shelf life and prevent fungus growth.

Daily use products such as hair dye, deodorant, moisturisers, anti-ageing creams, soaps, acne-treatment creams, body wash, foundations, eye makeup, lipsticks, etc. contain harmful chemicals like paraben, retinol and phthalates.

Chemicals like these are immediately absorbed in the skin upon application and blends in with the bloodstream. Further, these chemicals impact our hormonal activity and affect the entire body function, including the baby in your womb.

The biggest culprit - paraben

One of the biggest culprits in personal care products is paraben. It is classified as endocrine hormone disrupter as it tends to impact the endocrine glands and hormone secretion based on the level of its usage.


In simple words, paraben with constant use can impact the functions of glands like the pineal gland, pituitary gland, pancreas, ovaries, testes, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland and adrenal glands.

It can affect your reproductive tract and can harm your baby, both prenatal and after birth.

This harmful toxic chemical is used as a preservative in 90 per cent of cosmetics and personal care products. You might not be aware, but chances are that you are already exposed to a lot of parabens present in a variety of beauty products.

Heavy exposure to this chemical during pregnancy can lead to several abnormalities and can disrupt foetal and postnatal growth in boys. Also, it could lead to less weight gain in babies and pre-term delivery.

List of chemicals to avoid

Before buying any makeup products, check out the ingredients used in it. Here are a few toxins that you need to avoid during your pregnancy.

  • Paraben
  • Fragrance/Parfum
  • Phthalates
  • Triclosan
  • Bisphenol A (BPA)
  • Retinoids
  • Diethyl Phthalates (DEP)

Natural alternatives for pregnancy-safe makeup

To avoid products that could potentially harm you and your baby, check out the below alternatives for paraben-free pregnancy safe makeup items.

Foundations and concealers

During pregnancy, your skin can look dull and might need a little foundation boost. Before applying your favourite concealer and foundation, check out its ingredients listed on the box.

Look for preservative agent paraben also known by the names of propylparaben, methylparaben, butylparaben, and isopropyl paraben.

Also, check if your foundation has retinol and fragrance in it. If you see any of these chemicals listed on the back of your foundation and concealer bottle, avoid it.


Instead of using foundation, use CC and BB cream in your makeup. these creams use ingredients that are gentle on the skin and are safe to use on a daily basis.

If you are still keen on using foundation then there are several paraben-free products like Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Foundation, Bobbi Brown Skin Long-wear Weightless Foundation with SPF15, and etc.


Moisturisers are quite essential in any makeup regime and most of them are usually considered safe. But better to be safe than sorry. Many brands add paraben and phthalates in moisturisers to prevent fungus growth.

Exposure to these chemicals could lead to a low level of thyroid, obesity and insulin resistance.


There are many paraben-free and organic moisturisers available in the market.

Purchase organic skincare products like Dr Roebuck’s No Worries Hydrating Face Moisturiser, Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser, Kew Organics Deluxe Hydra Nutrient Mist, etc.

Give your skin a toxin-free treatment by just paying a little attention to the ingredients used.

Deodorant and perfumes

Some deodorants have parabens, phthalates and triclosan in them, which get absorbed in the body.

These antiperspirant formulae contain chemicals like aluminium chloride hexahydrate which impacts sweat-producing cells in the body.

These deodorants and perfumes also contain artificial fragrances, which can be harmful to the expecting mum and baby.


Try and use natural and clean phthalate-free perfumes. Try natural options like Sephora’s Vanilla woods, Kai Perfume oil etc.

Eye shadows and mascara

Eyeliners and eye shadows contain artificial dyes and colours. Makeups having long-lasting attributes have more chemicals in them. These products sometimes develop eye irritation and itchiness.


Try investing in natural and hypoallergenic products made with vegetable dyes. If you see aluminium powder, talc, and Diazolidinyl urea mentioned in ingredients, then look for other natural options.

Lipsticks and Blush

Lipstick is one such makeup item which is partially eaten by women within one hour of its application. It directly goes into your stomach and the chemicals get absorbed during the digestion process.

Lipsticks and blushes also contain artificial dyes, preservatives like phenoxyethanol, benzyl benzoate, paraben, retinol and fragrance.


Glam up and look stunning by using vegan lipsticks and blush containing natural colours and ingredients. Look for ingredients like shea butter, beeswax and vitamin C.

Few samples of pregnancy safe lipsticks are Sigi Skin and Forest Rhapsody products.

Anti-ageing and acne cream

Most of the anti-ageing creams are formulated using Vitamin K, Salicylic acid, BHA, Alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) and sometimes injected with collagen and botox.

Acne creams, on the other hand, have retinoids, benzoyl peroxide and several other chemicals. All these chemicals are unsafe and harmful to the baby.


Recall your grandma’s natural home remedies for healthy-looking and glowing skins. Try home remedies for your ageing and acne-related problems. You can also consult your doctor for acne-related issues if it has increased during pregnancy.

Hair spray and hair dye

It is best to avoid hair spray and hair dye during pregnancy. These makeup items contain ammonia, phthalates, and other toxic chemicals.


Consider using ammonia-free products and try vegetable dyes to hide the greys.

You need not avoid makeup completely for nine months of your pregnancy. Sometimes looking in the mirror might make you miss your natural glow and looks.

This article was first published in theAsianparent.

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