Tag Archives: skin care

The Benefits Of Resveratrol

Wine and grapes

If you are a follower of Greek mythology, you may know that Greek gods were superior immortal exceptionally beautiful beings believed to have powers over controlling the world or some aspect of it. You probably also know that the Greek gods drank a lot of wine. Did anyone ever make a connection between the two? Resveratrol is a polyphenol compound found in red wine and grapes. It is said to promote longevity and offer a range of health benefits from promoting weight loss to combatting cancer. Could it help us achieve god-like status? You be the judge. Here are some of the benefits of resveratrol.

What Is Resveratrol?
Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant produced by some plants as a natural defense against stresses of the environment and is theorized to be able to do the same for humans. Antioxidants are compounds which have been shown to neutralize free radicals which cause aging, cancer, and heart disease. Although Japanese knotweed tops the list of plants with the highest content of resveratrol, a large amount is found in the skin of grapes. Resveratrol protects the grapes against sun damage and fungi disease, making red wine, produced with the grapes, a source of the antioxidant, although in an albeit small amount.

Woman drinking wine

Resveratrol and the French
Resveratrol is thought to be the cause of low rates of heart disease in France. Even with the French habits of smoking, coffee drinking, and the consumption of a high-fat diet, the incidence of heart disease remains low in the French population. The theory is that the resveratrol in the red wine the French consume counteracts the effects of poor health habits, and also contribute to the longevity of the French people.

How Does It Work?
Resveratrol helps to protect cell DNA and reverses the damage caused by free radicals leading to cancer, and aging.

Woman pondering

Benefits

  • Skin Care
    Research indicate that resveratrol can fight skin damage caused by UV light. A study publishes in the FASEB found that when directly applied to skin, resveratrol can protect against the effects of aging caused by sun exposure.
  • Weight Loss
    Scientific finding show that resveratrol can stimulate the production of adiponectin, which is a hormone throughout to fight obesity and insulin resistance. Animal based and test tube studies show that the compound can help to speed metabolism and slow down the formation of fat cells.
  • Brain Health
    A study published in the journal Neurology in 2015 showed that individuals suffering from mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease demonstrated small improvements in their self maintenance abilities after taken resveratrol supplements daily for a year.
  • Cancer
    A report from the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences reveal a number of studies suggesting that resveratrol may have anti cancer properties. A study on cell cultures revealed that resveratrol helped to slow the progression of breast cancer in its early stages, and prevented estrogen from reacting to DNA molecules and forming compounds associated with the beginnings of cancer.

Have you taken resveratrol or used it in your skin care products? Let us know what you think. Is resveratrol the new miracle antioxidant?

A Moisturizer For Skin and Hair

Woman touching face

Today, many of us won’t touch a product unless it lists hyaluronic acid, retinol, or any of the other scientific-sounding ingredients that seem to be revolutionizing the face of skin care, and your own, these days. However, while much of this stuff has proven quite effective, there are still those of us who prefer natural ingredients, that have grown out of the same earth as we have. Shea butter is a natural ingredient used for centuries. In fact, Cleopatra was said to have used it in her beauty regimen, and they say Marc Anthony was not hard on the eyes. Here are some of the ways shea butter can be used as a moisturizer for skin and hair.

For Skin

  1. Healing
    Shea butter contains fatty acids and plant sterols which do not convert into soap as easily as other nut oils and fats, which makes it a great healer for skin. Raw shea butter has been known to help treat skin rashes, and peeling after tanning and is effective on everything from scars, frostbite, athlete’s foot, stretch marks, arthritis, to insect bites.
  2. Antioxidants
    Shea butter consists of plant antioxidants, like vitamin A and vitamin E and catechins, which protect cells from damage by the environment and free radicals, and cinnamic acid esters to prevent skin from sun damage.
  3. Anti-Aging
    In addition to preventing sun damage, shea butter can stimulate the production of collagen, the protein building block of skin. The vitamins E and A lend their moisturizing powers, keeping skin supple and preventing premature wrinkles.
  4. Skin Elasticity
    As mentioned earlier, shea butter is non-saponifiable, which means it does not convert easily into soap. This and its vitamin F content make it vital in the maintenance of skin elasticity and tone.

Woman combing hair

For Hair

    1. Dry Scalp
      Got flakes? Try shea butter. It’s an effective treatment for dandruff or a dry itchy scalp. Shea butter is easily absorbed into the skin, so you don’t have to worry about greasy residue or clogged pores. Once penetrated, its vitamins A and E work to repair breakage, soothe dryness, and mend split ends.
    2. Moisturizer
      Shea butter can be used as a natural substitute for your conditioner. Its presence of A and E vitamins make it effective in locking moisture in without added weight and greasiness. Shea butter is widely used in the treatments of curly hair because of its emollient properties, It can also restore moisture loss caused by chemical treatments, such as perms and straighteners.
    3. Hair Protection
      Not only can shea butter protect your skin against free radicals, it can protect your hair as well. The small amount of SPF contained in the cream provides sufficient protection from sun damage caused by UV rays, and can actually repair preexisting damage as well. This is because shea butter coats the shaft of the hair to protect it from heat tools and other damaging materials. This is especially beneficial to frequent swimmers looking to protect hair from chlorine and to those with colored or processed hair.
    4. Hair Softener
      Brittle, dry hair? Shea butter to the rescue. Because of its non-greasy texture, shea butter can help control the spread of excess oil in the scalp and make hair soft and silky. Shea butter should be applied generously twice a week for moisturizing and improving hair texture and growth.

Do you use shea butter? Let us know which one of its myriad of applications you find most beneficial and how it is working for you.

Summer Skin Care Saviors

Girl on hammock

When Helena Rubenstein famously said, “There are no ugly women, only lazy ones,” one might stop to think if that held true for the makeup mogul in the long lazy days of summer. When it was too hot to lift a finger, was Helena still lifting hers to extract hot rollers from her hair, or to apply that final coat of mascara? While the modern woman may not take Rubenstein’s words completely literally, she will understand the wisdom behind them. While the heat of summer may provide a good excuse to take a snooze on an outdoor hammock, it certainly is not an excuse to abandon your skincare, maybe just lighten up on it a little. Here are some great summer skincare tips for doing just that.

Lightweight Moisturizer
While the winter cold and dry inside air require the protection of heavy creams, the humidity of summer gives you a little more leeway. Melissa Pilang, MD, explains, “During the warmer seasons, lighter moisturizing lotions will likely provide enough moisture for the skin, while heavier and creamier formulations may lead to clogged pores and breakouts. The best summer products are the ones that contain hydrating ingredients, like resveratrol, which fights radical damage, and hyaluronic acid.

Antioxidants
Antioxidants are particularly important in the warm weather when the UV rays are strongest. Tsippora Shainhouse, Beverly Hills MD, says, “Not only can too much sun lead to direct DNA damage, but it can also break down collagen and elastin, due to UV-induced free radicals.” Avoid free radical damage by applying an antioxidant serum after cleansing your face in the morning and top with sunscreen.

Woman applying sunscreen

SPF
Of course, the lazy days of summer suffer no lack of intense sunshine. While the application of SPF should occur every day, it becomes even more vital during the summer months. Dr. Dendy Engelman warns, “Incidental sun exposure, even for only ten to fifteen minutes a day, adds up over time and can cause significant sun damage, photo-aging, hyperpigmentation, and wrinkles.” She suggests the use of a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of at least 30 (ideally 50) to reduce accumulation of UV damage associated with aging and non-melanoma skin cancer.

Reduce Retinol
Even though retinol works wonders on wrinkles, it can actually make your skin more sensitive to the sun, which can be somewhat counter productive. According to Joel Schlessinger, MD, “Retinol boosts cell turnover, which means it eliminates dead skin cells and replaces it with new ones, and these healthy, new cells are more sensitive and prone to burning from the sun’s rays.” Don’t fret, however, you don’t have to completely abandon your precious retinol in the summer months, just cut the frequency to one or two times a week and wear enough sunscreen and a broad-brimmed hat to reduce sun exposure to your face.

More Astringent Cleanser
More humidity means more sweat and more sweat means more shine. However, you can control both shine and sweat with the use of a slightly more acidic cleanser. S. Manjula Jegasothy, MD, says, “Spring days become much warmer in the afternoon than the morning. Your cleanser should keep your skin clean and sweat-free throughout the day, which a more acidic cleanser is likely to do.”

How are you changing your skin routine on these warm, lazy days. Let us know what your favorite summer skincare go to’s are!

Powerful Peptides

Woman examining face

The science of skincare. Some of us have no interest in the way an ingredient works, as long as it does. And that’s fine. After all, results are the bottom line. As long as the buzz is positive, we’ll try it. Others, on the other hand, have a vested interest in exactly what products do for your skin. Both groups have probably heard the word peptide being tossed around by skincare experts. To the latter group, here is some information that you may find fascinating. To the former, here is some more buzz about peptides.

What Are Peptides?
Peptides are pieces of proteins made of amino acids. When the amino acids combine, they create specific peptides. That’s why you may have heard the word peptide mentioned in athletic doping scandals, pepto bismal, and skincare; there are hundreds of types used for many different things. We’ll keep to skincare, to keep the lesson brief. When peptides combine in a certain way, they make proteins and proteins are the building blocks of skin. Without them, skin texture changes, wrinkles appear, and skin becomes saggy.

Woman at mirror

Peptides and Skincare
While peptides are a clear member of the “ingredients to look for in a skincare product” team, it is important to remember, that this is just what they are, a part of a team, albeit very important ones. There is no single solution to all the aging problems, and peptides are no different. However, they do play a valuable role, helping to make skin more resilient and providing support for the skin’s fundamental building blocks.

Collagen Production
Collagen is a protein made up of peptides, and forms peptides when it is broken down. The result goes into your wrinkle cream. When the collagen supply in your skin lowers with age, the peptides signal your skin to make new collagen. The most popular peptide for this function is palmitoyl pentapeptide (matrixyl). Smart consumers will look for this on the ingredient labels of items they are considering for purchase.

Copper
The small size of peptides enables them to penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin. When combined with copper, the peptide will deliver copper to those layers. Research shows copper has healing properties and seems to act as an antioxidant and promote collagen production.

Woman reading product label

Read Before Buying
Even though peptides are capable of great results, many things have to happen to ensure that they happen. Because they are products of broken down proteins, peptides may continue to break down in a topical cream, until they are rendered useless. They also need to be in a cream which will be thin enough to penetrate the skin. A peptide in a thick cream may sit on the surface of the skin, only to wash off before going to work.

Have you tried peptides? What do you think? Did you get the combination right? Let us know!

The Many Benefits of Vitamin A

In history, there have been many noteworthy firsts: the first baseball player to hit 50 home runs in a season, the first man to walk on the moon, the first talking movie, the first female Supreme Court justice, and the first vitamin to be discovered.

The first suspicions of Vitamin A’s powers were recognized by the ancient Egyptians, who realized night blindness could be treated by eating liver. But it wasn’t until its formal discovery in 1913 that it officially claimed the first letter of the alphabet for its name.

Since then, Vitamin A has been delighting acne-prone teens, wrinkle prone ladies, and fighting to protect humans from all sorts of symptoms of malnourishment and cancer. So, as we do with all famous firsts, let’s take a moment to commemorate. Here are some of the many benefits of Vitamin A.

 Eye Health

Vine-Vera-Healthy-Eyes
Beta carotene, a form of Vitamin A in plants, plays a vital role in the prevention of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness. An Age-Related Eye Disease Study sponsored by the National Eye Institute found that people at high risk for eye disease had a 25% reduced risk of macular degeneration when they took a daily multivitamin containing Vitamins A and C, zinc, and copper over a six-year period. Another showed that vitamin A drops were an effective treatment for dry eyes and that OTC eye drops containing vitamin A were as effective as expensive prescription formulas.

Immune Support
Vitamin A regulates genes involved in immune responses, which means it is a crucial component in fighting everything from the common cold to autoimmune diseases and cancer.

A London-based study showed that Vitamin A supplements reduced child mortality rates by 24% in low to middle-income families, while the deficiency in the vitamin made children more vulnerable to infections like the measles and diarrhea.

Fights Inflammation
The antioxidant properties in vitamin A can help fight free radicals in the body that causes cellular and tissue damage. Vitamin A prevents cells in the immune system from becoming overactive to food proteins, creating food alleges and inflammation.

Vine-Vera-Vitamin A-Fights

Intake of the vitamin can also reduce the risk of certain food allergies altogether. The decrease levels of inflammation have been linked to lower risk of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Supports Health and Growth of Skin cells
Vitamin A is needed for skin regrowth, wound healing and plays a powerful role in skin cancer prevention. It is also necessary for a good complexion, fight acne and improve the overall health of the skin. Vitamin A produces collagen, which can keep lines and wrinkles from appearing as well as contributing to healthy hair.

 Prevents Cancer
A study at the University of York showed the intake of vitamin A can treat several forms of cancer because it is able to control malignant cells in the body. Retinoic acid (a vitamin A derivative) plays a significant role in cell differentiation, development, and treatment of cancer.

It has been credited with suppressing breast, lung, prostate, bladder, ovarian, and cystic cancer and has been linked to the reduction of melanoma and hepatoma. Most recently, researchers have discovered evidence suggesting that the molecular mechanisms found in the acid may have an effect on the fates of cancer cells.

Where do you get your vitamin A from? Tell us what supplements, foods, or topical treatments provide you with nature’s first vitamin.

Nighttime Beauty Habits To Start Now

Woman smiling

While the moon is channeling its inner powers of rejuvenation, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be doing the same. The nighttime is the ideal time for you to bring out your inner eternal Goddess, cleansing and exfoliating away the terrestrial grind and revealing your true heavenly self. Here are some “moon time” beauty habits to help you find your lunar beauty.

Wash Your Face
Resist the temptation to fall into bed without cleansing properly, no matter how tired you are. If you leave makeup on, it will spend the night grinding into your skin, stretching out pores and causing breakouts.

Cosmetic dermatologist Lisa Ginn, MD, advises an oil-based makeup remover which is gentle, and can remove even the most “long lasting” formulas without tugging on skin. Apply the remover to your skin with a cotton pad and follow with a mild cleanser.

Vitamin A
As we age, our skin produces less collagen, which, Ginn says, is the main cause of wrinkles. “If you never stopped making collagen and never damaged collagen, you would never get a wrinkle, your pores would stay small, you’d never get a scar, and your skin would stay nice and tight,” she says. “Collagen is key.”

Woman in bathroom mirror

And how can we keep this precious collagen working for us? Ginn recommends vitamin A which stimulates collagen production, tightening pores, and smoothing fine lines. The doctor recommends applying the vitamin in the form of an over the counter or prescription retinoid nightly. The retinoids also work to lighten brown spots, as an added perk.

Eye Cream
The skin around our eyes is the thinnest of all the skin on our bodies, and becomes thinner with age, making it especially vulnerable to hollowing and under eye circles.

The best treatment for skin repair around the eyes, according to Ginn, is a serum or eye cream with vitamins A, C, E or K. If you choose to use a serum, however, the doctor suggests using a light eye cream in addition to keeping skin moisturized.

Alternate Sleep Sides
Ginn says she can determine which side a person sleeps on by looking ar the lines in her face. While some experts say anti-wrinkle pillows are the solution, Ginn recommends trying to lie on your less favored side. She says that even if you end up reverting to your usual side during the night, you still will have prevented some damage. You can avoid any contact with the pillow by sleeping on your back, if you can manage it.

Hand and Foot Care

Hand and foot care

Foot Care
To keep your piggies lovely, rub your heels and toes with a 12% lactic acid lotion to get rid of dry skin and top with a heavier one, such as one which contains shea butter or glycerin. Cover feet with socks and wake up gorgeous. However, Ginn warns against excessive sock wearing as a possible breeding ground for fungal infection.

Hand Care
The nighttime is the perfect time to slather on that heavy duty hand cream that’s too cumbersome for daily activities. Remember to include your cuticles while you slather.

Let us know how you channel your moon goddess! What’s your nighttime beauty ritual consist of?

Protect Your Familys Skin Against Harmful Chemicals

Mother and child

It seems the definition of a good parent has expanded in the last few decades. It used to be if you could satisfy the basic needs of your child, see they remained somewhat groomed, hugged them a few times, and remembered to pick them up from school and pack lunch, you were doing okay. But that was back in the ‘ignorance is bliss’ days, before we became aware the existence of an ozone layer and harmful chemicals that were in danger of obliterating it.

Now, you need to develop a superpower that enables you to deflect harmful ingredients from infiltrating their little bodies at the speed of light. Not likely to happen. You’ll just have to do it the old fashioned way. Here are a few tips on keeping protecting your family’s skin from chemicals.

Stay Out of The Sun
The sad fact is that a lot of sunscreens out there do not protect against UV rays, and a host of them contain chemicals that can damage our skin. While it would seem that the best advice would be to stay out of the sun, that is often easier said than done when it comes to the average child. Sure, you can cover them with heavy clothes and a hat, but the likelihood is that most of it will end up on the floor of the playground. So what can you do to ensure your child stays active and chemical-free?

Couple smiling

Sunscreen 101
There are two forms of sunscreens:

  • Physical sunscreens
    These contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which form a film on top of the skin that reflects UV light.
  • Chemical Sunscreens
    These absorb UV rays before they can damage your skin. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, zinc oxide provides extensive UVA and UVB protection.

However, if you want a chemical sunscreen, be aware, while they protect against UV rays, they also contain chemicals which can be absorbed by the skin and end up circulating in your blood stream.

Check the Label For Chemicals

  • Dioxybenzone and Oxybenzone
    The most problematic chemicals found in sunscreen are dioxybenzone and oxybenzone. These two are among the most potent free radical producers and are also known to be disruptive to normal hormonal function.
  • PABA
    You’ve probably seen PABA listed quite frequently on sunscreen labels. Para-aminobenzoic acid is a dye that absorbs UV-B light. It contains a benzene ring which enables electrons to shuffle between different locations inside the structure, absorbing UV-B energy by converting light into heat. PABA can damage DNA, release free radicals, has estrogenic activity and has been known to cause allergic reactions in some people
  • Octyl Methoxycinnamate
    This is the main chemical use to filter out UV-B light in sunscreens. Its toxicity level, which can increase in sunlight can kill the cell in mice.
  • Benzophenone
    Benzophenone is a sunscreen ingredient that protects the products in the sunscreen from breaking down due to the sun rays. According to naturopath Nicole Bjilsma, it also disrupts hormones, interferes with thyroid function and lowers testosterone.

Baby

Check The Ratings
How does your sunscreen measure up? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) rates sunscreens on safety and protection. You can download their tip sheet on the best and worst chemicals in the cosmetics department, sunscreens included.

What are you doing to make sure your family’s skin stays free of harmful chemicals while avoiding the sun’s rays? Let us know how you do it.

Surprising Foods With Benefits

Can life possibly get better? First, you find out you can practically live on a diet of stuffed grape leaves and Greek yogurt, and then you find out that dark chocolate can fight free radical damage. At this rate, you’re certain that one day you’ll read a report touting the health benefits of donuts. Unfortunately, if you are counting on this article to be the bearer of that news, you may be sadly disappointed. However, although the perks of fried dough have yet to be discovered, there are some other foods that, you may be pleasantly surprised to find out, are both delicious and nutritious. Here are a few foods with benefits.

Hair
cheese

Cheese
Need a good excuse for ordering extra cheese on that pizza? According to Beautyflash.co.uk, cheese is rich in nutrients that can promote the growth of a long healthy mane.

Oysters
Is it the oysters or is it how good your hair looks? Oysters are rich in zinc which helps strengthen the protein structures in hair follicles, encouraging thick, healthy hair.

Poultry
Keep that head of hair lustrous by eating some poultry. Lack of protein causes the body to ration the protein, which may mean less of it goes to your hair, causing potential hair loss. Eating protein-rich poultry can help counter the damage.

Skin
Avocado and Yogurt

Soy Beans
The high protein and mineral content in soy beans make it a great food for reducing blemishes and evening out skin tone.

Avocados
The healthy fats in this wonderful fruit can help keep your skin plump and moisturized while protecting it from sun damage.

Greek Yogurt
Want to reduce those wrinkles? Get some Greek in you. (Greek yogurt, that is). This protein-packed superfood can make skin firmer and more resistant to wrinkles and lines.

Teeth
green tea

Green Tea
It may be green, but it will keep your teeth white. Studies show that green tea reduces plaque, lower the acidity of saliva, and controls bacteria levels. Research suggests that drinking green tea will make you less prone to tooth decay and gum disease.

Cheese
Now there’s a real reason to say “cheese.’ Cheese is a great source of calcium, which is one of the most vital nutrients for supporting healthy teeth. The gooey stuff is also believed to play a role in raising the pH in your mouth, reducing likelihood of tooth decay.

Strawberries
These beauties contain malic acid, a natural cleanser with enamel whitening abilities.

Nails
Chia seeds and borccoli

Mackerel
The omega-3 fatty acids in mackerel is a great way to put an end to dry and brittle nails.

Chia Seeds
Not only are these seeds packed full of protein, calcium, and magnesium, they also support the production of collagen in your body, helping your nails stay strong and fortified.

Broccoli
If growing long nails is on your list of goals, you should start eating your broccoli. With the aid of an amino acid called cysteine and the benefits of protein, this green veggie may be your key to a perfect 10.

If you’ve got a food that you would like to find out surprising health benefits about, well, we can’t really guarantee it; but, if you’ve been pleasantly surprised to find out your favorite food may be satisfying more than your taste buds, we’d love to know! Tell us what you’re loving to eat and all the fringe benefits that you’re getting while doing it.

Everyday Ingredients To Keep Your Skin Fresh Between Facials

Is there any way to keep your skin looking “fresh from a facial” great every day? Here are some ingredients that will help you do just that.

beautiful woman

Antioxidants
Antioxidants are nutrients found in most plants and are best known for their ability to fight “free radicals.” Free radicals harm DNA, and lead to wrinkles, dry, dull skin, and dark circles around the eyes. To keep skin looking fresh, it is important to not only eat foods rich in these chemicals, but also to use them on your skin.

Alpha Lipoic Acid
This is an antioxidant produced by the body and present in every cell you have. It attacks free radicals and it known for its ability to erase wrinkles and fine lines, shrink pores, and give a healthy glow to the skin.

Green Tea Extract
Tea is rich in free radical-fighting nutrients called polyphenols. Early studies have proven the ingredients in tea able to reduce sun damage and protect from skin cancer when applied topically. Green tea extract can be used under sunscreen to double the protection and, polyphenols, when used in lotions and creams, can reduce skin sagginess and wrinkles.

Retinol
Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that boosts collagen production and plumps skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It improves skin tone and reduces dark patches. The stronger counterpoint of retinol is tretinoin, which can improve skin appearance by clearing up acne, slowing aging of skin, and improving unwanted pigmentation.

Portrait of a woman

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a key ingredient in boosting production of collagen and elastin, which depletes with age. Its antioxidants minimize fine lines, scars, and wrinkles.

Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10)
Naturally occurring in your body, CoQ 10 works to destroy free radical in your cells. However, as you age, the amount your body makes decreases, making skin more vulnerable to free radical damage. Creams, gels, and toners containing the antioxidant can be used to supplement the decrease, with one study showing that it can even help to reduce the appearance of “crow’s feet” around the eyes.

Caffeine
Although the jury is still out on whether caffeine is effective when applied to skin, skin care companies have added it to lotions and creams. This is based on the evidence that caffeine may be useful in preventing skin cancer and the deepening of wrinkles, especially “crow’s feet.”

How do you keep that “fresh from the salon glow” every day? You’re looking particularly radiant.

Skin Care Ingredients Pregnant Women Should Avoid

So you’re pregnant. Your husband and your friends keep telling you you’ve never looked better in your life, but you sure don’t feel it today. Your ankles are swollen, you have a headache, and all you see when you look down is your stomach. You know exactly what you need! A little pampering. Nothing like a nice spa session to make you feel like the goddess you are. But wait! Before you apply that mask, there are a few things you should know about the ingredients in the products you may be about to apply.

Pregnant woman in front of the mirror

Retin-A, Retinol, Retinyl Palmate
The FDA categorizes ingredients according to letters of the alphabet: A, B, C, D, and X. Usually, only A and B categorized products are considered safe for pregnancy. Retin-A, retinol. and retinyl palmate all lie in the C category which means it can present a risk to the fetus. Although vitamin A is an important vitamin for fetal development, Albert Sassoon, MD, an ob-gyn says, “getting too much can cause serious birth defects and liver toxicity.” While Retin-A is usually associated with prescription skin care, women should be aware that vitamin A derivatives are also present in many over the counter formulas as well.

Benzoyl Peroxide
Even though pregnancy may call for the occasional zit zapping, benzoyl peroxide also falls into category C, indicating possible fetal risk.

Woman applying oil to pregnant belly

Essential Oils
Essential oils are not subject to assessment by the FDA and are usually marketed as safe for use in beauty products. However, according to Dr. Sassoon, “Often they have 50 times the concentration used in a cup of tea and can be harmful even in a non-pregnancy state.” The most commonly used oils warranting cause for alarm are rosemary and tea tree oil.

According to Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, MD, and dermatologist, “Tea tree oil is very potent and toxic when ingested. Its adverse effects include dermatitis, drug reactions, a blistering disease called linear IgA and estrogenic effects.” which may be to blame for premature contractions. Rosemary oil, meanwhile, is known to, “raise blood pressure and cause uterine contractions at high doses,” adds the doctor.

Woman buying product

Salicylic Acid
This category C acne fighter may be hard to avoid. But, as Dandy Engelman, MD, and dermatologist says,”When you’re pregnant, you have to seek out the purer products–the ones that feature just one of the acids that are approved. Lactic, mandelic, and glycol acids are all considered safe for pregnant women looking for some exfoliating action.

Hydroquinone
Although this may be tempting to use when pregnancy causes melanoma or dark spots, it falls into the C category.

Tazorac and Accutane
Both these vitamin A-derived product are prescription only and fall into category X: known to cause defects in birth.

What safe products do you use to soothe skin while you’re pregnant? Let us know what the modern pregnant lady is using to keep herself and her baby safe.