Safe Products For Pregnancy: Natural Skin Care Not Only Works Well, It’s Good For You, Too!
By: Karen Fredette
With prescription medications being delivered via transdermal "patches", there's no denying that what goes on your skin is absorbed into your whole body. As you've certainly heard before, your skin is your largest organ. Pregnancy is the perfect time to begin taking particular care to use safe body products -- and a habit you'll want to carry on when caring for the delicate skin of a newborn. Shampoos, soaps, lotions, oils and other "cosmetics" are not heavily regulated, so you may be surprised at the number of chemicals, synthetic compounds and even known carcinogenic substances found in many of these items. Fortunately, if you'd like to go more natural, it's simple. Read the label, and gravitate towards products with ingredient lists you can pronounce and that are familiar to you. Here are a few categories of products, and some suggestions to help you on your way.
Soaps and Shampoos: Sodium laurel sulfate / Sodium laureth sulfate – In the words of my 3 year old, "It not good!" While this is the primary ingredient in any number of soaps and shampoos, it is a known carcinogen, so you really don't want to be applying it to your skin day in and day out. A little probably won't hurt you, but why make it a part of your every day regimen? After all, what's the use in not dying your hair for nine months when you're applying another bunch of harmful chemicals with every shampoo?
What should you look for? Products that are labeled "SLS-free" or do not list SLS as an ingredient, for starters. A glycerin or vegetable soap base, or "super-fatted" soaps are good options. You should be able to find a variety of options in your local health food store.
Lotions and Oils: Often, the first ingredient in these products is water (a "natural" product), and many of the rest of the ingredients are simply unpronounceable. You should be able to find products where every ingredient is something easy to pronounce. And remember, water is usually just a "filler" in moisturizers – and its presence can increase the likelihood of bacteria growth, necessitating the use of preservatives. Look for products with natural oils like olive oil, jojoba, grapeseed oil, soybean oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, etc. These products may be more expensive than other lotions, but the formulas are better for your skin and more concentrated – every ingredient is there to help your skin, as opposed to functioning as a cheap filler or chemical preservative. Surprisingly, oil will not necessarily make your skin feel oily -- many fine oils are easily absorbed and close to the composition of the natural sebum in your skin, so they won't clog your pores or attract dirt and oil to your skin. If you're the crafty type, you can make your own skin care preparation or literally apply olive oil from your kitchen on your skin. Search online for skin care "recipes" you can make at home.
Pregnancy Concerns: Itching and dry sensitive skin are common complaints during pregnancy. There are many soothing natural products available, allowing you to avoid steroid creams and other prescription drugs for topical relief. Soothing herbs like calendula, marshmallow root and comfrey are botanicals to seek out for relief from itching. Blooming Body's "Belly Bliss" is one such natural product. Herbal sitz baths like Blooming Body's "Soothe" are excellent for easing hemorrhoid discomfort or speeding postpartum recovery.
Many women wish to avoid stretch marks during pregnancy. You can make your own stretch mark prevention oil or butter by mixing cocoa butter, olive oil, and adding Vitamin E by puncturing a Vitamin E capsule and squeezing the contents into your base, or try a packaged product made for the purpose.
Natural and organic skincare is becoming increasingly popular in our country. There is no better time than pregnancy to become as vigilant about what you put ON your body as what you put IN it. When you're using something that is all natural and good for you, and you find it making your skin truly glow, you'll feel good inside and out!
Karen Fredette is the owner of Blooming Body. Visit Blooming Body online at http://www.bloomingbody.com/ for great all natural skin care for pregnancy, and wonderful gift sets to give to the expecting mother.