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Beauty claims for pregnant women debunked

Last Updated: Sunday, April 28, 2013 - 13:11

Washington: Women around the world face many claims surrounding their beauty regimens during pregnancy.

Women face a lot of uncertainty as their bodies change during pregnancy, and many worry about how to look their best, said Mary Rosser, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Women`s Health, Montefiore Medical Center, and assistant professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Women`s Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

"We work hard to separate truth from fiction to put mothers at ease and help them figure out ways to make this special time in their lives consistent with the way they`re used to living and looking," she stated.

You naturally glow during pregnancy and your hair and nails get stronger and grow more quickly. But the most common concerns among pregnant women are focused on hair dyes, nail products and skin care.

Dr. Rosser has debunked some claims and addressed mother`s concerns:

It is claimed that pregnant women shouldn`t dye their hair because the product is absorbed into the skin and can be toxic to the baby.

Generally speaking, dyes are safe but try to be completely natural during pregnancy, she said.

If you must color your hair, do so after the first trimester and in a well-ventilated space; let your hair stylist know you are pregnant and ask to try not to allow chemicals to touch the scalp, she suggested.

She noted that the real concern is breathing the ammonia fumes that could be harmful to the developing baby in the first three months of pregnancy.

Women should be mindful of the fumes in straightening products as well, she said.

According to her, highlights are considered safer because the dye is enclosed in foil and won`t be absorbed into the skin. Vegetable dyes such as henna are likely to be safer during pregnancy.

Pregnant women also face claims that they should avoid using nail products because the chemicals are toxic.

Dr. Rosser revealed that pregnant women could get a standard manicure after the first trimester, when the risk to the developing fetus is lower.

But she suggests checking whether that instruments have been sterilized and asking the nail technician not to cut the cuticles to prevent exposure to bacteria and germs.

Pregnant women should avoid acrylic nails as the chemicals and adhesives can contain cyanoacrylate, which can be harmful, she noted. This substance can be inhaled in the dust when nails are filed, so she suggests wearing a mask and to make sure that there is proper ventilation.

Another claim is that pregnant women have few options to safely combat changes to their skin.

To combat acne, Dr. Rosser advice them to wear oil-free cosmetics and wash the face twice a day with a gentle cleanser and lukewarm water.

If acne persists, she said, they should ask their doctors for a prescription for erythromycin and to avoid Retin A or tetracycline, which can cause birth defects.

To prevent dark circles around the eyes and darkening pigment of the skin, wear sunscreen, she suggested.

Stretch marks are not completely avoidable but you can try rubbing vitamin E oil on the areas most likely to be affected, she added.

"The most important thing to remember is that this is a happy time in your life and you are beautiful just by nature of being a pregnant woman," Dr. Rosser said.

"As long as you make smart choices, get plenty of rest, drinks lots of water and eat a healthy, balanced diet, you can enjoy your pregnancy, look and feel good and have a healthy baby," she added.


First Published: Sunday, April 28, 2013 - 13:11
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