Brazil

The skin care nasties to avoid, especially for Mum’s-to-be

It’s perfectly natural to worry about what you’re putting into and onto your body when you’re pregnant, and even if you’re not.

G ot a bun in the oven? Or even if you don’t, it’s highly likely your re-thinking all the things you’re putting into and on your body. I met a lot of new mothers today at Weleda Mother and Baby Care day and most said a very similar thing:

‘It became particularly important to avoid chemicals when I fell pregnant – it wasn’t just about me anymore.’ Amber Johnson

I met with Brazilian Dermatologist Dr. Patricia Silveori, who specializes in natural dermatology. It was pretty daunting when I found out that 60% of what we use on our skin can enter our bloodstream, I hate to think how that statistic made to-be-mothers react. The potential for chemical nasties to be passed onto their unborn child I’m sure had sent many new mothers to the eco beauty counter to switch to a toxin-free skin care regime already.

We all know that anybody can benefit from less synthetic chemicals, additives and fragrances in and on our body – but when it comes to passing them to a little one the switch to natural products becomes even more compelling. As adults we think our skin is toughened, that it’s no big deal on our developed body and brain but studies are proving that these chemicals can impact a fetus as it grows.

Mothers-to-be are now seeking out more natural choices in their beauty regime to see them through all three trimesters and beyond.

A pregnancy group at Casa Angela – a not-for-profit natural birthing clinic in a San Paulo favella.

Why it can feel hard to go toxin free

1) It’s hard to know what is natural and what is now. So products that claim to be natural yet can still contain toxic ingredients.
2) Many eco-friendly, natural products don’t actually work that well – for example the shampoos didn’t foam like we are used too and the results from body products weren’t obvious enough.

I don’t have kids… so why am I writing about this?

I want to make it easy for you to enjoy a toxin-free pregnancy or just to help you make toxin free choices.

So many of my friends discovered the Weleda brand when they discovered they were going to become mothers. It was actually them and their research that introduced me to the Weleda and inspired me to enter this competition! That’s why I really wanted to share some of their learnings with you, because large life changes such a becoming a mother often bring on behaviour changes and shifts of priorities. It’s not just about you anymore, right!

I don’t have children but my brother Leigh and his partner Rebekka are about to have twins in a few weeks… I can’t wait to report in for aunty duties!

It’s obvious to see that expecting a baby is an exciting and wonderful time. But it can wreck havoc on your body and changes to your hormones and immune system happen – which can impact your overall comfort, health and appearance.

You’ll be happy to hear there are plenty of natural ways, free from chemicals that you can take care of your changing body, tackle stretch marks, dryness, itchiness and sensitive skin whilst also making sure your baby stays safe too.

Starting to be lox-tox is easier than it sounds

On average women use 12 beauty products a day, on average with over 168 different ingredients. Even just switching half of these products can have a huge impact. But before you go and throw out everything in the bathroom cabinet, it’s quite easy to start small, with the products you use most. This makes a dramatic change to yours and your babies chemical exposure but doesn’t feel like a drastic change. A good place to start is with hair products – shampoo and condition, products you may use 3 times a week, that’s 120 times over your pregnancy. It adds up doesn’t it!

Promise me one thing, you won’t beat yourself up about being perfect.
Small steps add up to big changes.

Has your skin become more sensitive?

Don’t worry, that happens to heaps of mothers-to-be. But I discovered the toxins in conventional products might be fueling that fire and even causing allergic reactions. Organic products won’t cause adverse reactions because they are natural, your skin has no reason to fight it because the ingredients are not foreign.

Stretch marks, dryness, itchiness and sensitive skin are common issues of pregnancy as the body changes.

When should you start tweaking your habits for pregnancy?

Dr. Patricia recommends going low-tox as early as possible, ideally as soon as you stop taking birth control, since some chemicals can become stored in the body and can take a bit of time to remove them entirely.

“Pregnancy is the most critical time for in-utero chemical exposure,” Dr. Patricia. “Common chemicals in everyday personal care products, such as shampoo, makeup and moisturizers can be associated with developmental and behavioural disorders, hormone disruption and cancer.”

The nasties Dr. Patricia suggests you start to avoid:

  • Phthalates – this is a synthetic substance that tricks the body into thinking its Oestrogen. Unfortunately, the skin drinks it up because the body is confused and believes it to be a natural hormone. This also means it doesn’t realise it needs to expel it so it’s presence can accumulate in the body over time. The effects of Phthalates have been linked to kidney problems, infertility and birth defects.
  • Parabens – you would have heard of this one before. It’s banned in a lot of European countries now because it has been detected in breast cancer tissue and also the cause of some male fertility issues. It’s still super common and used a lot as a preservative in beauty and skin care products so make sure to keep your eyes out for it.
  • Petrochemicals – also knows as petrolatum, mineral oil or paraffin most often found in skin care products. Crazy hey because they actually suffocate the skin and clog pores… the irony! These nasties are not good for the environment at all… they are a non-renewable resource that can contain cancer causing substances.
  • Synthetic Fragrance or Perfume – Dr. Patricia told me an odd cosmetic fact – perfumes don’t have to list their ingredients, who knows what’s in there, usually lots of chemicals. Synthetic fragrances can irritate the skin and cause allergies and allergic reactions.
  • Dimethicone – this is a manmade toxic pigment that creates a barrier on the skin, suffocating it. No wonder it can cause irritations and discomfort.

Studies have revealed that organic and natural products (products free of harmful chemicals, hormones, etc.) are 25% more nutritious and imperatively beneficial to pregnant women.

Casa Angela (The House of Angela) celebrates 1000 natural births

Here are some of the benefits of why to make the change

  • Helps Child Development
    Babies can’t self-detoxify until 6 months old so even the smallest exposure to toxic ingredients through the placenta or to the newborn skin directly can have lifelong impact of the development of the internal organs. As I said earlier, natural products don’t have ingredients the body needs to fight which leaves the baby free to develop without fighting chemicals.
  • Combats stretch marks
    A not so favourite part of pregnancy is the stretch marks. As if pregnant women aren’t already uncomfortable enough with the dry, itchy skin.
    Organic moisturizes that contain oils can really help to elastercise the skin to help prevent the skin from stretching and marks appearing. As an added bonus, natural ingredients also have moisture retaining properties which helps keep your skin hydrated which further helps the cause.
  • Lowers the chances of disease
    You will find over 400 chemicals in the most common, non-natural products. A lot that have been linked with causing brain disabilities, asthma and cancer. Exposure to chemicals during pregnancy dramatically increases the leukemia risk by nearly 4 times.

The benefits after your baby is born

So, the stork has dropped off your cute little bundle. What now? Dr. Patricia shared more benefits that hopefully inspire you to keep up with all the good work you’ve been doing for your baby, and for you too.

A new mother and baby at Casa Angela in San Paulo Brazil.

  • Babies are brand new, so is their skin. It’s not hardened like ours and it has a lot of growing to do which makes it more susceptible to infections, bacteria and skin reactions.
  • Dr. Patricia (Dermatologist) explained that a newborn babies skin is so fragile that she recommends using just lukewarm water for cleansing in the first few weeks before slowly introducing the gentlest of products to prevent that brand-new skin from becoming irritated. It’s also easier to work out what is causing irritations if the potential ingredient risk isn’t a list of 400 chemicals long. The shorter the ingredient list, the less likely your baby will have a reaction to it.
  • We all know that vitamin dense, healthy food is vital for a healthy body, but your skin and your babies skin needs food too. It’s the bodies largest organ so it’s fair enough it needs a little nutrition. Natural ingredients are the quickest to be absorbed into the skin because your body isn’t resisting, and your whole body is thanking you for it.
  • It’s common for babies skin to get dry. The only hydration it receives is from the breast milk so a gentle moisturizer can help keep your baby from scratching at that painful dry, cracked skin. You felt it when pregnant, your baby is probably feeling something similar too.
  • Good for baby. Good for the environment. If you want your baby to enjoy a world as beautiful or if not better than we do now then this is a good place to start. If we all make simple changes we can make big differences for future generations.
  • Let’s talk about synthetic ingredients again. These guys, often found in skin care products contain a nasty that acts as “endocrine disruptors.” These are man-made, industrial chemicals that trick the body by mimicking natural hormones that effects our natural function. When our natural hormonal processes are hindered this can lead to disease including fertility issues, heart disease, diabetes, weight problems and learning difficulties. That sensitive skin of babies makes them a lot more sensitive to these nasties.

It was incredible to listen to such a passionate, knowledgable and caring woman. I thank Dr. Patricia for her time and sharing her thought provoking presentation.

If like me, you’re not a label genius look for products that have a seal guaranteeing the ingredients are natural.

You’ve got a few new jobs Mum, now it’s time to be a savvy shopper too. The seals below make that a little easier and can certify the product you are looking meets varying standards of natural and organic requirements.

Weleda toxin free pregnancy skin care

Baby Augusto with the Weleda Calendula Babywash

Weleda offers a number of skin care product specifically for use during and after pregnancy. But because the whole range are natural, most products are completely safe for use during pregnancy because Weleda products are 100% natural and non-toxic, without any potentially harmful additives and chemicals.

Weleda products are formulated with nature’s gentlest plants and flowers, certified to NATRUE European standards to keep your new little buddy in balance.

Some products to check out are the pregnancy body oil, calendula shampoo and body wash, birch body scrub, and nursing tea were developed to aid pregnant and nursing moms, and are, like all of its products, 100% natural and contain no synthetic ingredients or preservatives. My friends swear by the nappy rash cream too!

Did you try natural products when you had kids?

6 Comments

  1. Hi, this information helps me a lot to get rid of this skin problem and I have been very thankful to you for providing this solution. Keep updating thankyou.

  2. Thanks for sharing your guide and great info, these are actually really good tips for everyday use and for a younger looking skin.

  3. michelle vicky says

    my husband and I used ttc herbal once, I’m pregnant! It’s so easy to use and I would highly recommend others try this product. We are thrilled on facebook: oduduwa ajakaye

    • Lauren Doolan says

      Congratulations! What amazing news! When is the baby due?

  4. I think that Moisture cream and Skin care lotions are the most important things for baby. Baby lotions, creams, powders, and oils are intended to moisturize the baby’s skin and soften it. Organic products contain non-ionic ingredients which are safe for baby’s use. Thanks for sharing..!!

    • Lauren Doolan says

      Thank you for sharing too! Glad you liked the article. xx

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