Use it or Lose it

Our guide to which products you can use now, and which to put away until after you give birth.


Many beauty products are perfectly safe to use during pregnancy. But some ingredients may now irritate sensitive skin, while others, such as certain acne medications, can pose a threat to your fetus. Not to worry: There are plenty of alternatives to help you look and feel great. Check out which products you can use now, and which to put away until after you give birth.

Safe and sensational

Some of our favorite pregnancy-friendly beauty buys

Use it Lose it Smell Sweet Spritz on a light scent that won’t make you queasy. Test it on a small area of your skin before spraying all over to make sure you don’t react badly to it. If your sense of smell becomes more sensitive

during your pregnancy, shelve heavy perfumes

until after you give birth. Stay polished Some nail-polish brands now offer formulas free of dibutyl phthalate (DBP), but not all list the ingredients, so stick with brands such as L’Oréal Steel Colour, Firozé and Acquarella. Manicures are fine, but a study by the Environmental Working Group warns against using nail polishes that contain DBP, an ingredient linked to birth defects in animals. Get pearly whites You may have to wait until after your pregnancy to tackle deep, intrinsic tooth stains, but you can brush away surface stains using an electric toothbrush. Toothpastes with ingredients like silica, which gently polish away stains, also are safe “No evidence-based research I know of indicates that [peroxide-based] at-home tooth-whitening products are harmful to pregnant women, but why take the risk?” asks James H. Doundoulakis, D.M.D., M.S., co-author of The Perfect Smile (The Hatherleigh Press, 2004). “No dentist would recommend their use.” Go natural Mineral-based makeup offers

natural sun protection and is chemical-free Nearly all makeup is safe to use during pregnancy; however, you might want to try a mineral-based line to avoid the chemicals found in traditional cosmetic formulas. Save face Over-the-counter topical treatments that contain anti-acne ingredients such as salicylic acid and erythromycin are safe and effective alternatives to medication. Gentle facial scrubs can keep pores clear. “Some acne medicines absolutely should not be used during pregnancy,” says Doris Day, M.D., a New York City dermatologist. Accutane, which may cause birth defects, and any other vitamin-A-derived treatment (such as Renova and Retin-A) should be shelved until after pregnancy. Bathe safely It’s perfectly fine to use bubble baths, milk baths, effervescent bath balls, oatmeal baths and bath infusions. Keep the water temperature at or below 98ÞF

to avoid raising your blood

pressure and/or presenting a health risk to your baby. Since your center of gravity changes as your belly grows, avoid using bath oils since

they may increase your chance of slipping on slick bathtub porcelain.