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What Make-Up Products Are Safe To Use During Pregnancy?

Medically reviewed by Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated a week ago

    What Make-Up Products Are Safe To Use During Pregnancy?

    Is it safe to wear makeup while pregnant?

    Most makeup products contain several ingredients that may or may not be safe for pregnant women, so it’s important to be aware of the safe products and ingredients. Since makeup is being directly applied to the skin, it’s natural to be concerned. So is it safe to wear makeup while pregnant? Read on to learn more.

    How Dangerous are Chemicals in Makeup? 

    Studies have shown that 60 to 80% of pregnant women use makeup on a daily basis. These include products such as cleansers, facial cream, eye pencils, mascara, foundation, eye-shadow, makeup removers, and other makeup products.

    These contain different kinds of chemicals such as paraben, formaldehyde, dioxane, nitrosamine, phenol, heavy metals, etc. 

    is it safe to wear makeup while pregnant

    Since makeup is applied directly onto the skin, these various hazardous chemicals will pass the skin barrier. What’s more, they may make their way into the bloodstream, possibly causing fertility and reproductive health issues.

    In addition, these harsh chemicals are present in the makeup products themselves for either one of these reasons:

    • Chemicals were purposely included in the ingredients of makeup products to enhance its effects 
    • It could also come from raw materials or technical machines that are used in producing the makeup products

    There have been case studies done that show the negative effects of the chemicals in makeup products to pregnant women and their babies.


    Phenol may affect pregnancy, particularly the birth weight of a male baby. 


    Exposure to phthalates could possibly lead to pregnancy loss.

    Furthermore, these studies have also shown results that pregnant women who occasionally drop by hairdressers and cosmetologists are closely associated with adverse pregnancy effects such as miscarriage, low birth weight, preterm birth, SGA (small for gestational age), so on and so forth. 

    It is clear that makeup products may affect pregnancy in severe ways. So this is why pregnant women must know what makeup products are safe for them and what other things they must observe to avoid any adverse pregnancy outcomes. 

    What Makeup Products are Safe for Pregnant Women?

    In order to know what makeup products are safe, pregnant women must be cautious of the ingredients in the products themselves.

    There are lots of harmful chemicals they should watch out for and here is a list to help them identify what makeup products to avoid: 

    • Retinoids (tretinoin)
    • Hydroquinone 
    • Endocrine disruptive chemicals
    • Parabens (ethyl-paraben, butyl-paraben, methyl-paraben, propyl-paraben)
    • Phthalates (dibutyl phthalates, dimethyl phthalates, diethyl phthalates) 
    • Triclosan 
    • Heavy metals (mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium) 

    To explain a few of these chemicals, do refer to the information listed below. 


    Retinoids are a group of chemicals from Vitamin A and a common type of retinoid is called tretinoin. Tretinoin is widely used in anti-wrinkle creams and acne products. There have been reports in which makeup products infused with Vitamin A have caused birth defects in pregnancy. 

    Although this chemical is not typically absorbed by the skin, it is still better to avoid products with this ingredient.


    This chemical is most often seen in skin-lightening products. A percentage of 35-45% of hydroquinone is said to be absorbed by the skin and safety data states that the use of this chemical in pregnancy is limited, therefore, it should be avoided. 

    Endocrine disruptive chemicals

    These are man-made chemicals that have hormone-like properties and these affect pregnancies negatively.

    EDCs would affect a pregnant woman’s endocrine and reproductive bodily functions, it would increase cancers concerning the hormones (e.g. breast cancer), and it could also affect the development of their child. 

    Parabens, phthalates, and triclosans are some of the most prevalent EDCs being used in makeup products. 

    How to Stay Safe When Using Makeup Products and other Cosmetics

    Pregnant women can practice the following steps to avoid any adverse effects from happening to themselves and their baby:

    • Pregnant women should lessen the use of products, be it makeup or other cosmetics, so that the exposure to harsh chemicals is also lessened. 
    • If possible, pregnant women should not avail of services at nail and hair salons. 
    • Pregnant women should watch out for lipsticks and read the ingredients carefully because some lipsticks contain a heavy metal component (lead). 
    • Pregnant women must always read the labels on makeup and cosmetic products so they would know which products to avoid. 

    Key Takeaway

    Pregnant women must always be cautious when it comes to using makeup and cosmetics since a number of harsh chemicals may be used in producing these products. It is better to withdraw from using makeup temporarily than to use them and risk the health of one’s baby. 

    Learn more about staying healthy throughout pregnancy here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated a week ago

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