Though paying attention to what you're putting in and on your body is always important, it becomes especially so while pregnant or breast-feeding. Not only is skin your largest organ, but much of what we put on it ends up in our blood stream, meaning it can also be found in your baby's.
Studies have shown that chemicals found in common personal care products like shampoo, makeup and moisturizer are often associated with developmental, reproductive and behavioral disorders, hormone disrupters and cancer. But just because you know how important it is to use natural, toxin-free products doesn't mean you also need to sacrifice performance or quality.
Luckily, there are several totally safe and completely natural ways to get your skin care fix while pregnant, breast-feeding and well into motherhood! Here are five great alternatives to conventional ingredients you should think about adding to your beauty routine for the safety of your baby, and yourself:
1. Vitamin E
Isolated from vegetable oils, vitamin E is an important vitamin required for the proper function of many organs and an antioxidant, meaning it helps to slow down processes that damage cells. This is important for pregnant women because it can help prevent complications in late pregnancy due to high blood pressure, PMS, painful periods, hot flashes associated with breast cancer and breast cysts.
The moisturizing properties of vitamin E for skin is well known but it also does wonders for your hair! When ingested or applied topically on hair, vitamin E is effective for hair growth by improving blood circulation in the scalp, prevent premature graying by slowing down the overall aging process, giving hair a lustrous shine by promoting natural strength and shine, and preventing split ends by countering damage done by heat.
2. Argan oil
Not all women get a pregnancy glow — some experience dry skin, especially around the belly, breasts and hips as the skin swells and grows. High in vitamin E, antioxidants and linolenic acid, argan oil is a super-effective moisturizer that's been shown to prevent and treat stretch marks by maintaining elasticity and preventing moisture-loss.
On top of improving your body’s immunity to diseases such as breast and colorectal cancer, argan oil is good for treating under eye circles, burns, wrinkles, brittle nails, arthritis and rheumatism pain. Use argan oil to give lackluster postpartum hair a boost by adding shine and hydrating roots.
3. Broccoli seed oil
Broccoli seed oil is high in vitamin C, vitamin B and erucic acid, which is a light oil composed of many different omega-9 and omega-6 oils. This means it helps eliminate free radicals that can contribute to cancer, prevent hair loss while promoting thicker healthier hair and soothe redness and inflammation.
The best part? Broccoli seed oil is a natural substitute for silicone which is often found in cosmetic products, particularly in leave-on skin care and haircare products. This natural emollient hydrates hair and skin without leaving a greasy film, and adds a protective layer that traps in moisture, keeping skin and hair hydrated all day long.
4. Cupuacu butter
Found in the rain forests of South America, cupuacu butter has a natural hazelnut aroma, is rich in phytosterols, polyphenols, and fatty acids, and is a good natural substitute for lanolin. This means it can be used to effectively treat dry, damaged skin, combat free radicals in tissues, and protect and moisturize skin. Treating skin with cupuacu butter also allows skin to attract more water, fight inflammation and improve elasticity, making it the perfect ingredient for stretch mark-fighting belly butters. Plus, it also absorbs UV rays, adding natural sun protection.
5. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is a fatty acid that's easily metabolized by the body, making it an excellent replacement for butter and oils, and helps regulate blood sugar levels while providing stable energy. During pregnancy and breast-feeding, much-needed lauric, caprylic and capric acid in coconut oil passes from mother to child. These acids are known to have antiviral, antibacterial, and antiparasiticidal properties that support immune system in mommy and baby.
On skin, this holy grail ingredient prevents stretch marks and alleviates itchiness on belly and breasts.It’s also a natural, moisturizing, and gentle cleanser. Use to remove makeup from skin, tame frizzy hair and soothe cracked lips.
Adding these simple and natural ingredients to your beauty routine will go a long way in helping detoxify your pregnancy. Always remember to read labels carefully and opt for brands that provide full ingredient transparency. The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database is also great place to get more information about companies with high safety ratings.