Let's just say I am one of those pregnant women/mamas who obsesses about every ingredient that comes into contact with her skin. I was afraid this would happen.
Long, long before I became pregnant, a friend who became a mother in her early 20s told me she noticed that women who became mothers in their 30s or later tended to fret over parenting details more than younger mothers. She noted how very carefree she was about raising her children and they turned out fine. That sounded about right. I told myself I would not become one of those worry-wart mothers. Ha!
It all started when I decided to switch to a more natural facial cleanser. We were trying to conceive and I was on a very healthy diet, so to keep that all-natural-goodness momentum I stopped using my tried and true acne treatment cleanser. I just didn't like the idea of all those chemicals. My skin got worse. Yuck, but I just felt better about the switch.
Then I started reading more and more about which specific ingredients were harmful, and soon I was tossing out everything in my bathroom from lipstick to body lotions. The biggest culprits were products with fragrance (a.k.a. parfum). Because you can't be sure that fragrances in products are free of phthalates, unless the products specifically state so, it's best to stick to fragrance-free or products that use only essential oils for fragrance.
I admit that maybe I went a bit overboard, but when I think about how I spread a product like body lotion or sunscreen all over large portions of my body, with some ingredients absorbing into my bloodstream, and consequently passing to the placenta, I am fine with this little obsession. I'm not sure if pregnancy hormones have been working in my favor or if my skin loves the more natural products I've been using, but my skin has never looked better.
If you're interested in the specific changes I made, here's what I swapped. The main reason for the switch? My usual products had one or more of the ingredients found on this list of no-nos.
1. Facial Cleanser and Body Wash: Proactiv and Neutrogena Body Clear Body Scrub for Dr. Bronner's Castille Soap
Notes: I like the tea tree bar soap for my face and lavender liquid soap for my body. For lightweight moisturizing, I also use Dr. Bronner's Body Lotion. These products are certified Fair Trade!
2. Hair Care: Aveda shampoo and conditioner for Acure Organics (and Fair Trade!)
Notes: Although I am generally a fan of Aveda products because they do use many organic ingredients, their shampoos have some no-no ingredients. I also swapped my Oscar Blandi dry shampoo (fragrance) for Acure's version.
3. Skin Care: Aveda Tourmaline Cream for Avalon OrganicsNotes: Aveda's creams are wonderful, but for a fetus, the retinoids are not.
4. Body: Kiehl's Creme de Corps for all-natural Cocoa ButterNotes: When I want intense hydration, I use food-grade cocoa butter. I suppose it doesn't matter what brand I use because this product has only one ingredient -- cocoa butter. It is a bit annoying that at room temp the product stays solid, but I toss it in a pool of hot water in the sink while I'm showering, and when I get out, it's ready for use. Plus, it makes me smell like chocolate. Yum!
5. Sunscreen: Aveeno for Banana Boat's Natural ReflectNotes: The way I go through sunscreen in one summer, it doesn't make sense to pay $$$ for an expensive brand when this drugstore brand has the right ingredients -- titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.
6. Fragrance: Flowerbomb for Aveda's Chakra scents
Notes: I have stored my Flowerbomb for a later TBD date and every once in a while spritz Chakra scents on my clothes (not directly on my skin), which are mostly made with essential oils and other natural fragrances.
7. Antiperspirant: Drugstore/Conventional Product for Lavanila deodorant
Notes: I think Lavanila works great for me, so long as I remember that on extra sweaty days, I need to reapply in the afternoon. This product does not prevent perspiration, but it does mask sweaty odors pretty well.