Beauty / Health and wellbeing | 08.09.2016

The most important chemicals to avoid during pregnancy

Many women turn to certified organic products for the first time when they fall pregnant, and it's a smart move. The sheer number of chemicals to avoid during pregnancy can be overwhelming, particularly in cosmetics and skincare products – some of the worst offenders.

You can rest assured when you use certified organic products, you won't be applying any dangerous chemicals to your skin, hair or nails, or inhaling any toxic fumes.

Studies show chemicals applied to the skin or inhaled do enter the bloodstream and can cross the placenta and harm your unborn child. The last thing you want to worry about during those special nine months is whether the nail polish, perfume or moisturiser you applied could have harm your baby.

So if you're thinking of falling pregnant, are currently pregnant or even breastfeeding, steer clear of these toxins for your own peace of mind.

Retinoic acid

This is a type of retinoid (also called tretinoin, Retin-A or Atralin).

When used in skincare products, tretinoin can cause miscarriage and birth defects. Tretinoin cream is often prescribed by doctors to treat acne, age spots and wrinkles.There is a long list of side effects from using tretinoin creams, from blurred vision to headaches and vomiting, so don’t just keep them away from your baby, keep them away from yourself.

Isotretinoin (Amnesteem, Claravis, others), an oral prescription medication for severe acne, is known to cause birth defects and should never be used during pregnancy.

The EWG Cosmetics Database says retinoids have been banned or found unsafe for use in cosmetics, they are toxic to organs and are also an environmental toxin. Retinoids are also found in some makeup brands, so look for certified organic makeup if you want to avoid them altogether.

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is a naturally occurring and synthetically produced beta hydroxy acid used in skin treatment products for acne, warts and calluses. It’s also used in anti-dandruff products, in hair and skin conditioning products and in makeup, and as a preservative.

High doses of salicylic acid have been shown to cause birth defects and various pregnancy complications, however some doctors and skincare companies that use salicylic acid in their products say it’s safe to use topically when pregnant.

There are no studies to show that small amounts of salicylic acid used on the skin — say when it’s used as a preservative in a facial moisturiser — will harm an unborn baby. I would caution against slathering your whole body in a product that is very high in salicylic acid if pregnant, but otherwise, it’s fine.

Chemical sunscreens

I suggest using only natural, nanoparticle-free sunscreens when you're pregnant. For your face, our Tinted Moisturiser with SPF 15 Sunscreen is a safe choice. Expectant mums should also avoid sunscreens containing oxybenzone, which has been linked to birth defects and still births.

Other sunscreen chemicals to avoid during pregnancy (and in general) are avobenzone, dioxybenzone, benzophenone, octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC), para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) and octocrylene.

perfumes, skincare products or cosmetics containing Parabens, Phthalates and BPA

Phthalates, parabens and BPA are all ‘xenoestrogens’, which act like estrogenic hormones in the body and are definitely chemicals to avoid during pregnancy and in fact, we suggest they're best avoided by everyone. They should particularly be avoided when the reproductive system is still maturing, e.g. newborns, children and prepubescent teens.

Look for these names on your skincare product’s ingredients list: methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben. Toss it in the bin if you see any of these offenders listed. Several phthalates have been banned for use in cosmetics in Australia: dibutylphthalate, diethylhexylphthalate, diisobutylphthalate and di(methyloxyhexyl)phthalate. 

nail polish

Some nail polishes contain toluene, which has been linked with short-term neurological effects such as dizziness, hallucinations and headaches and there are concerns that high concentrations could affect a developing foetus during pregnancy. There are some great natural nail polish ranges available that are toluene-free, so opt for those.

Formaldehyde is another nail polish ingredient you need to steer clear of, not just when you're pregnant. It's a preservative that can irritate skin, eyes, nose and the respiratory tract, and can cause cancer when exposure levels are high.

Also look for phthalate-free nail polish – while nail polish chemicals don't penetrate your nails and enter your bloodstream, the issue is more with inhaling the chemicals while you're applying it, so always apply nail polish in a well-ventilated area.


It's estimated only 0.5 percent of dihydroxyacetone (DHA), the active ingredient in self-tanners that makes skin darker, passes into the maternal blood stream during application. However, it's not known whether it crosses the placenta and reaches the baby. I wouldn't take any chances. Just avoid self-tanners while pregnant, especially spray-tanning salons as there's a higher risk of inhalation, which could allow more DHA to get into your bloodstream. 

teeth-whitening products

Not much is known about the effects of teeth-whitening products, such as peroxide, on an unborn baby, so it's wise to avoid them while you're pregnant. Opt for a natural toothpaste and if you want to whiten your teeth, try making your own turmeric teeth-whitening paste. Just mix 4 tablespoons of turmeric powder, 2 tablespoons of baking soda and half a tablespoon of coconut oil. Brush your teeth with the paste for 2 to 3 minutes, then rinse.

hair dye

As a conservative measure, it's best to avoid dyeing your hair during the first trimester, when the baby is most vulnerable. After that, it's okay to highlight or dye your hair but keep it off your scalp and rinse immediately. Avoid any dyes or hair treatments with ammonia, because the fumes could make you nauseous.  


We recommend avoiding Botox as general rule, as we just don't know the long-term side effects of injecting this toxin into the skin regularly. Pregnant women should absolutely steer clear, as there are no adequate medical studies of the effects of Botox during pregnancy.

On the upside no Mukti Organic products are contraindicated for use during pregnancy. 

Did you or someone you know switch to all organic products during their pregnancy? Share your stories with us below and you'll go into our bi-monthly draw to win $150 worth of Mukti Organics products.


Follow Mukti on Instagram to stay in the loop on all things organic beauty and wellness where Mukti shares insider tips, ideas and education that you don’t want to miss!

Health and wellbeing | 16.06.2016

The amazing health benefits of turmeric in one magic drink

   The incredible health benefits of turmeric have been known in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for more than 4000 years and now Western scientists are sitting up and taking notice. Turmeric is a potent superfood and healing herb that acts as an all-round immunity booster a...

Read post

Beauty | 16.02.2015

Never skip this step if you want beautiful skin

  So many people miss the importance of the first step in caring for your skin – CLEANSING. I remember years ago, my sister-in-law (who has always had problematic skin) complaining to me. I asked her about her routine and she admitted that she omitted the first golden rule and only c...

Read post

Beauty / Health and wellbeing | 10.11.2016

What you need to know about air-conditioning and skin ageing

  If you work in an airconditioned office, then you're probably aware of how drying it is on your skin. What you may not know is that the less hydrated your skin is, the faster it ages, so it’s super important to take measures to counteract the effect of artificially cooled or heat...

Read post

Beauty / Health and wellbeing | 01.03.2019

Timeless Beauty - Your Skin Through the Ages

While turning back the clock isn't an option, making educated choices that support the health and wellness of your skin as you journey through the decades, most certainly is within your control. As the story of your skin unfolds, many changes and variables come into play, (both intrinsic and extr...

Read post

Our core mission is to connect people back to nature, creating healthy lifestyles and beauty routines.

- Mukti Organics
Join our organic skincare
movement for 15% off
© Copyright 2019 Mukti Organics   |   design by Smack Bang Designs   |   Site development by Media Two
Get $25