Pregnancy-safe beauty
WellBeing|WellBeing #196
Your skincare regime may make you feel great, but beauty products often hide a large amount of harmful chemicals. Natural beauty columnist Ema Taylor shares her guide to the ingredients you should avoid while you’re expecting.
EMA TAYLOR

Pregnancy is a time of momentous change, and with change comes learning. One of the first things women learn when pregnant is what foods to avoid in order to minimise any risk of bacteria or other toxins, such as mercury, coming in contact with their growing baby. What can often be overlooked are other harmful substances found in our everyday environment, some of which reside in personal care products. Several of these substances have the potential to impact the health of a mother and baby.

Surveys have found that some women use between 12 and 15 personal care products a day, with a typical teenager using between 17 and 20. Many of the ingredients in beauty products are known allergens and irritants. Some ingredients are known endocrine disruptors and have the ability to impact the way hormones communicate in the body. Others are neurotoxins, which impact the health of the central and peripheral nervous system or are classed as mutagenics, which are substances that can change the genetic makeup (DNA) of an organism.

If a mother is exposed to these substances, so is her baby through the umbilical cord. While reading this may be confronting at first, it is not meant to instil fear, but rather empower you to become clear about what personal products are safe for you and your baby. Being conscious of what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your body.

Getting ingredient-conscious

Skin is our largest organ, accounting for more than 10 per cent of body mass, and is made up of three layers: the epidermis, dermis and subcutis. Skin is porous, which means it has the ability to absorb what is applied to it, and the areas with the thinnest epidermal layers such as the face, armpits and genitalia are generally the areas of highest absorbency. While the skin plays an important role in keeping unwanted substances out, it isn’t foolproof and there are a number of factors that can result in chemicals penetrating to a deeper dermal level or being absorbed into the body, bloodstream and baby’s umbilical cord. These factors include:

• the structure, size and concentration of molecules

• the skin integrity (damaged versus intact)

• the location of exposure (area, thickness and water content of skin)

• the temperature of skin

• the duration of exposure

Preservatives, stabilisers, mineral pigments, dyes, shines, fragrances, metals and numerous other substances are added to products to enhance their effectiveness and shelf life. Many of these chemicals are known to be allergenic or irritating, or have potential endocrine-disrupting effects.

Endocrine disruptors work by mimicking or partly mimicking naturally occurring hormones in the body by binding to cell receptors and blocking hormones from doing their job. They can interfere with the way hormones are made or controlled and may lead to potential developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune complications. Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can be associated with foetal growth retardation, thyroid dysfunction and neurological disorders leading to lifelong adverse health consequences.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM WELLBEINGView All

The Comfort Bake

recipes - THE COMFORT BAKE

5 mins read
WellBeing
WellBeing #198

Where the wild things are

From Sulphur Creek to Narawntapu National Park and everywhere wild in between, we discover the richness of life scattered across Tasmania's rugged coastline.

8 mins read
WellBeing
WellBeing #198

The negativity trident

There is a prevailing feeling that things are just getting worse and worse, but then humans have always tended to feel that, even when things are getting much better. So why do we tend to think the sky is falling, and what can you do about it?

7 mins read
WellBeing
WellBeing #198

You can beat autoimmune disease

Autoimmune disease tends to be viewed as a life sentence without a cure. However, as many have proved, you can recover and go on to thrive. In this comprehensive report we examine the causes of autoimmune disease and how it can be overcome.

10+ mins read
WellBeing
WellBeing #198

Yoga for happy hormones

Are your hormones happy? Do you get up in the morning boosting with energy and vitality or feeling somewhat "meh"? Discover how yoga can balance your hormonal system.

8 mins read
WellBeing
WellBeing #198

Natalie Kyriacou Inspiring curiosity

When Natalie Kyriacou first entered the business world, she was frequently dismissed working in the environmental sector was commonly viewed as "fluff" work. Now a multi-award-winning founder and CEO, she is determined to help educate and empower young people about wildlife conservation.

8 mins read
WellBeing
WellBeing #198

Create a future-proofed home

Learn how to future-proof your home to survive years of use and shift with your changing life stages and needs.

8 mins read
WellBeing
WellBeing #198

It wasn't me

From seemingly innocent white lies to fibs embellished with wild abandon, both kids and adults alike tell lies. For our children, lying is a natural part of development. Here, discover how to look beyond the lie and encourage truth-telling.

9 mins read
WellBeing
WellBeing #198

Debunking beauty myths

The beauty sphere is riddled with myths and misinformation, especially when it comes to the clean beauty movement. We dive into the murky waters of what makes a product "clean" with the help of cosmetic chemist Michelle Wong to debunk and demystify the ever-evolving world of skincare.

8 mins read
WellBeing
WellBeing #198

All about breadcrumbing

Breadcrumbing is on the rise in the domains of dating, friendship and careers. We speak to relationship coach Katie O'Donoghue on what it is, why it happens and how to stop following deceptive crumb trails.

6 mins read
WellBeing
WellBeing #198
RELATED STORIES

You Cannot Erase us

Over the years and through thousands of miles of running, I have thought about the words that marked the beginning of colonialism on the land and the end of Indigenous sovereignty.

2 mins read
Trail Runner
Fall 2021

H-S Precision PLR Rifle

Shooting the 6.5-284 Norma

8 mins read
Rifle
November - December 2021

BOYFRIEND DUNGEON

A dating sim where you romance deadly weapons

3 mins read
PC Gamer US Edition
November 2021

USING YOUR WORDS CAN MAKE YOU SAFER

LEARN TO USE YOUR VOICE TO DE-ESCALATE THREATENING SITUATIONS.

10+ mins read
American Outdoor Guide
September 2021

COLONIAL PIPELINE CONFIRMS IT PAID $4.4M TO HACKERS

The operator of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline confirmed it paid $4.4 million to a gang of hackers who broke into its computer systems.

2 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #499

For Crypto, The Price of Success May Be Regulation

Governments could finally target the anonymity that makes Bitcoin a haven for hackers

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 17, 2021

Your Paleo Primer

Done well, the paleo diet is one of the cleanest plans around. Here's how to make it work for you.

5 mins read
Better Nutrition
April 2021

Six Contrarian Picks

These companies are out of favor for one reason or another, but they could pay off for patient investors.

7 mins read
Kiplinger's Personal Finance
March 2021

EVEN BRO DIDN'T KNOW TRAGIC CHADWICK'S SECRET

GUTSY “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman kept his colon cancer diagnosis secret from his own brother!

1 min read
National Enquirer
December 14, 2020

WELCOME TO THE NEW WORLD CIVILIZATION

SOMETHING EXTRAORDINARY HAPPENED over the last few decades. For the first time in human history, a single global civilization emerged.

6 mins read
Reason magazine
November 2020