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  • Writer's pictureDr Dara Seebaran Suite

Pregnancy Pampering: Cosmetic Treatments in Pregnancy

Updated: Jan 6, 2019

Hey March! I see you! You snuck up on us .

Here we are in the month we celebrate all things maternal and I wanted to address some issues that may be affecting any expecting mothers. What cosmetic treatments are safe in pregnancy?

Botox: Unfortunately this is a no-no. There haven't been any human studies on botox use during pregnancy. Consequently, we can't say for sure that botox is SAFE to use in pregnancy. We also don't know if botox is excreted in breast milk. As a result, all reputable clinicians will advise their patients to avoid botox when trying to conceive, when pregnant and when breast feeding.

However, don't be too concerned if you had botox but didn't know you were pregnant. Botox binds to the muscles at the site of injection, and the doses are so small that its is very unlikely that the toxin will reach the blood stream and hence affect any developing foetus.

Dermal Fillers: This is very similar to botox in that no clinical trials have been done on the use of fillers in pregnancy, so its a grey area.

Hyaluronic acid, the main ingredient in dermal fillers is also produced by the body so theoretically it would be safe in pregnancy. In addition, fillers stay in the tissue that they are injected into and are unlikely to make it to the blood stream and affect the foetus. Nonetheless, without any clinical data this is another no-no for pregnancy.

Tanning and Sunbeds: I can't stress enough how bad tanning beds are for your skin. They accelerate the ageing process, increase the risk of unsightly pigmentation and cause skin cancer.

However pregnancy is definitely a time to forgo the bed. Studies have shown that if the mother's body temperature rises above 102 degrees farenheight, the heat can cause birth defects.

Skin is also much more sensitive during pregnancy and the UV rays can make the skin discolouration that sometimes accompanies pregnancy, even worse.

Lastly, the high temperatures can cause your blood pressure to drop, making you more prone to nausea and fainting.

Hair Removal: I have good news here! There is no reason why pregnant women should feel trapped with hairy underarms or legs. Especially since during pregnancy the rush of hormones can cause faster hair growth.

Its perfectly fine to shave, if you can comfortably reach all areas without feeling dizzy. You can also get a wax without worry but there is a caveat. Only get a wax if you have had one before. Waxing is not a pain free procedure, and studies have shown that pain can stimulate labour in the late stages of pregnancy. My advice: get the wax in before the 3rd trimester.

Laser hair removal is not recommended, as no studies have been done on pregnant women. It would also be very difficult to treat any post-laser hyperpigmentation, as most of the normal medications to treat this are contraindicated in pregnancy.

Acne Treatment: Acne is often related to sebum production in the skin, which increases during pregnancy. If you are plagued with pregnancy acne avoid these five medications:

1.Isotrenitoin: this Vitamin A derivative has a risk of birth defects and miscarriages

2.Topical Retinoids: also belonging to the Vitamin A family, these medications can be absorbed via the skin and lead to birth defects

3.Hormonal therapy: spironolactone and simliar medications are also associated with birth defects

4.Oral tetracyclines: this family of antibiotics including doxycyline and tetracycline can cause tooth and bone defects.

5.Salicylic acid and alpha hydroxy acids: both of these topical products are absorbed through the skin and are linked to birth defects.

So what can you use to banish these blemishes and reveal the pregnancy glow? Topical antibiotics such as clindamycin and erythromycin are safe to use in pregnancy. Benzoyl peroxide can also be used, but only if really necessary. Don't forget the basics as well, a gentle cleanser, avoid oily make-up and watch what to touches your skin.

Teeth Whitening: You may have to resort to baking soda in your toothpaste to keep your pearly whites, white. Dentists have not done any clinical trials on the teeth whitening agents used ( both at the dentist or over the counter) and so cannot recommend these treatments during pregnancy.

In addition, gums tend to be more sensitive and more likely to bleed during pregnancy. Applying these chemicals to the teeth is likely to irritate them further.

Hair Colouring: The issue with hair dye revolves around whether the chemicals are absorbed through the scalp and enter the bloodstream.

There hasn't been any link to birth defects associated with hair dye use, but to be on the safe side I recommend two actions. Firstly, wait until the end of the second semester when the baby's organs will have been fully formed. Secondly, forgo the full colour and only get highlights. Highlights don't usually touch the scalp and so the chance of any absorption is very low.

Facials: The effects of pregnancy on your skin can be unpredictable. The high hormone levels can work magic or wreck havoc on the face, clearing up acne and eczema or worsening these conditions. It is a given though that your skin will become more sensitive.

With this in mind the occasional facial should be harmless, but I would ask your aesthetican to go gently on the extractions .

I would also advise omitting any harsh chemical peels, microdermabrasion, electrical stimulation and light therapies.

Pregnancy can be challenging and full of new experiences as your body changes to support another life. Hopefully this has made the journey a little easier to navigate. For more advice on cosmetic procedures check out our blog on the Secret Uses of Botox or get in touch for a free consultation.

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