Are These Beauty Regimens Safe During Pregnancy?

Bayo Ajibola

There’s something about pregnancy that sometimes makes you feel like the elephant in the room. There is the undeniable size issue, puffy feet, aching joints and crazy hormones that just threaten to make your life a living hell. Some of these instances make you crave your former self and with that comes a trip to the beautician for many.

Feeling beautiful and attractive during pregnancy is of utmost importance to every woman because it greatly affects your self-esteem. A little touchup for your hair and face goes a long way in feeling superb carrying your baby bump. Unfortunately, some of these regular practices may not be safe when expecting. Let’s look at a few of the common ones and determine whether they are still good for you during this time.

Dyeing hair

One study focusing on the use of hair dye during pregnancy hinted that it could cause neuroblastoma in babies. Neuroblastoma affects the nervous system and other tissues and is a rare childhood cancer. There aren’t other studies with similar findings so it may be difficult to draw conclusions.

If you think about it though, it is possible for some of the chemical compounds to cause birth defects in unborn babies. You will however need to have been exposed to a lot of them and in high doses for them to have such an effect.

Changing your hair color can therefore be considered safe at least three or four times during pregnancy. Following the prescribed instructions should also keep you from harm’s way. If you plan to apply the color yourself, make sure you put on gloves, use the minimum length of time given and work in a well-ventilated room. You should also make sure you rinse well.

If it worries you, try highlights, paint or frosting instead of dyeing your whole head. These are better options because the only way for you to absorb any chemicals while doing your hair is through your scalp. These methods only get in contact with the hair shaft and not the scalp.

You could also try a vegetable dye like pure henna to avoid exposure to chemicals.


Henna gives beautiful results whether on the skin or hair. You should be careful to use pure natural henna especially if using it on the skin. This is because you can have a very bad reaction to it and it can predispose you to sensitivity to a certain chemical known as PPD (para-phenylenediamine) which is present in hair dyes and in black henna.

Natural henna comes from the plant and gives an orange tint that eventually turns brown. It lasts about three weeks. It is perfectly safe for your skin and hair and is semi-permanent. When used as a skin dye it is mixed with lemon juice and essential oils. Make sure that the essential oils used are safe during pregnancy.

As mentioned above, black henna contains PPD. It is safe in hair dyes but is illegal in products that will be applied directly to the skin. If you already used black henna and your skin feels itchy, see a doctor.

Relaxing hair

Hair can get difficult to manage and you may want to relax and straighten it. Generally, only a small amount of chemicals penetrate the scalp and a study found no connection with low birth weight or premature birth. It didn’t touch on birth defects though.

The standard straightening kits are no-lye (contain calcium hydroxide and guanidine carbonate), lye (contain sodium hydroxide) and thio (contain thioglycolic acid salts). Avoid keratin hair treatments because they contain formaldehyde. You can easily breathe this in or absorb it through your skin and long term exposure puts you at risk of cancer.

Remain healthy and beautiful during your pregnancy and make sure you read the label on beauty products to be on the safe side.



Bayo Ajibola

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