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Education, Wellness

I’m Pregnant. What Treatments Can I Use?

Stay on the safe side when it comes to treatments and services during pregnancy and nursing.

The body’s own miracles kick into high gear during pregnancy. And whether you’re a beatific glowing Madonna or feeling like an alien’s taken over your body, you might be wondering what aesthetic treatments you can safely do while you’re expecting.

“During pregnancy there are always a lot of changes, including hormonal shifts, acne, irritation, redness and weight gain that change the entire body and also the skin,” says Steven Camp, MD, OrangeTwist’s medical director in Texas. But before you double down on your regular regime or start a new one, Dr. Camp says to hold off and first understand what you’re putting on—and in—your body.

“The best and safest thing to stick with are gentle cleansers and products that have more natural ingredients,” he says. How much is absorbed into the bloodstream for pregnant and nursing women is still largely unknown, and many products haven’t been tested for fetal safety, so it’s best to play it safe when it comes to chemicals. That means staying away from retinols, hydroquinone, high concentrations of vitamin A, formaldehyde and other common skin-treatment ingredients. Look to safer alpha-hydroxy and beta-hydroxy acids and natural moisturizers and cleansers. Dr. Camp also says to avoid fillers, Botox, fat reduction and nearly any other body-altering treatment while pregnant or nursing—even if it’s nowhere near your abdomen.

If an over-the-counter product or treatment seems natural because it touts a healthy-sounding ingredient (goji berries, anyone?), it can still contain harsh, harmful chemicals. One way to check if a compound is safe is to look up its FDA pregnancy category rating, which shows how chemicals fall on the spectrum of fetal risk.

While pregnancy comes with plenty of “don’ts,” there are also some definite “do’s,” including:

  • Check with your OB-GYN if you’re wondering about a specific treatment or ingredient.
  • It’s fine to get facials—just avoid ones that use electric currents, radio frequency or harmful chemicals.
  • Stick to gentle daily cleansers and natural exfoliants.
  • Use a high-grade sunscreen daily to ward off hypersensitivity to the sun and pigmentation spotting on the skin.

Know that eventually, you’ll be able to reclaim your body for yourself. But when a baby is growing inside, Dr. Camp says, “The focus should be on trying to make it safely through the whole nine months.”

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