Pregnancy skin care products are not necessarily safe for pregnant women, according to a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
“The results are concerning,” says Elizabeth Hwang, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the lead author of the study.
“We don’t know what’s causing these adverse effects.”
The researchers say they plan to continue investigating the safety of skincares used during pregnancy.
The new study was published online on Feb. 3, 2017.
“We don and can’t predict what’s going to happen in the first trimester of pregnancy,” Hwang says.
“That’s where the data are.”
“We really need to understand what the potential risks are for these products,” says Stephanie Houghton, M, a clinical associate professor at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and a co-author of the paper.
“They’re really just the tip of the iceberg.”
What Are Skincare Products Safe for Pregnancy?
For women over the age of 30, pregnancy skincaria is a safe choice.
But for pregnant people who are younger, Hwang suggests looking for skincaras with lower concentrations of glycolic acid, which are used to prepare cosmetics for the skin.
These ingredients, which have the same chemical structure as glycolics, are considered safe for both pregnancy and postpartum periods.
For women between the ages of 15 and 30, however, glycolinic acid can cause irritation, dermatitis, and dryness.
That could mean the products could not be used during postpartums.
In addition, there are some safety concerns.
Hwang notes that some products may contain preservatives, like glycolipids, which can interfere with the development of newborns.
“There’s some evidence that glycolins may be more potent irritants than glycolidics,” Houghtons said.
“In addition to that, some products might contain a chemical known to irritate the skin.”
Another problem with glycolis, HoughTON adds, is that they’re commonly found in certain types of hair care products.
“These are products that are meant to be applied to hair to keep it moisturized, not just for hair.”
Houghton and Hwang also recommend looking for products with less glycolin, like coconut oil, or with less acidic ingredients, like lactic acid.
“I would recommend not using any products containing glycols or acids containing glycosaminoglycans,” Hughton said.
There are other concerns for pregnant consumers, however.
Hough ton says she is concerned about the amount of glycerin in some of the products used during and after pregnancy.
“A lot of these products have glycerol levels in the range of 2 to 6 percent,” she says.
If the product is more than 1 percent, “there’s really no way for the product to be safe.”
“I think that the amount [of glyceric acid] that people think is safe for them, it really could be harmful to their unborn baby,” Haunton says.
The new study is a collaborative effort between researchers from Harvard Medical and Emory universities, as well as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Researchers at Em, University of Chicago, and University of Minnesota also contributed to the research.
The findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE.
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