Your skinny jeans and that glass of wine may not be the only things you have to ditch for the next nine months—a few beauty standbys could end up on hold too!

Many women look forward to that mum-to-be glow once they learn they’re having a baby. But the truth is, when it comes to your complexion, pregnancy may produce a mixed bag of conditions, thanks to shifting hormones. Sure, some women are downright radiant—but many end up with dry skin, a greasy sheen or acne flare-ups. Follow BAO’s Happy Pregnancy Skin Routine to keep your skin healthy during this magical time.

Before you try your usual go-to beauty products to resolve those common pregnancy skin problems, read the label: Not all skin care products are deemed safe when you’re expecting. Here’s what you need to know about the main ingredients that should be avoided.

Botulinum Toxin

While there are no studies testing the effect of injectables like Botox and fillers on a developing fetus, No physician would recommend or perform this on a pregnant patient because the botulinum toxin works by paralyzing the muscles around wrinkles so that they become less visible. Not exactly something you want to take chances with when you have a growing baby inside you.

Diazolidinyl Urea

Here's something scary: This ingredient is often found in mascaras, some specialists say it releases formaldehyde. Errrr best check your mascaras ladies!

Essential Oils To Avoid

Even if you’ve used certain essential oils for years that you can trust, you should still proceed cautiously if you’re using them when pregnant. If you’re allergic to certain ingredients, for instance, you shouldn’t use them even in aromatherapy.

Essential oils can be very powerful and actually some are harmful to use during pregnancy. Lavender Oil is advised to be avoided in the first trimester, but is absolutely safe to use throughout the rest of your pregnancy. The oils below can cause complications (for instance, they might promote uterine contractions) or because experts are just not sure about how they’d affect the pregnant mum or fetus. These include fennel, clary sage, marjoram, tarragon, caraway, cinnamon, thuja, mugwort, birch, wintergreen, basil, camphor, hyssop, aniseed, sage, tansy, wormwood, parsley seed or leaf, and pennyroyal.

This is why I was very careful when selecting the essential oils to use in BAO. They not only smell delicious, they are all safe to use whilst pregnant. The citrus scents of Sweet Orange, Mandarin, Grapefruit and Lemongrass will help to uplift your mood. Whilst the calming effects of Lavender, Geranium and Ylang Ylang will soothe and calm a busy mind. *Restorative Beauty Oil and Healing Bath Salts and Body Oil should be avoided in the first trimester.


This chemical has been linked to cancer as well as other nervous system issues like chest pain, coughing, trouble breathing, and respiratory irritations. Some hair-straightening procedures use this chemical during the process. Even some nail polishes still contain formaldehyde. Check the labels first.


This is used as a skin-lightening agent in brightening serums and creams used to treat conditions such as dark spots and melasma. Whether you were taking hydroquinone pre-pregnancy or are considering using it to treat the dark patches of skin that sometimes develop during pregnancy (also called the mask of pregnancy), this is one product to avoid until after your baby is born. Studies have shown that as much as 45% of this medication is absorbed into the skin after topical application, and while no studies have yet been conducted on the effect of hydroquinone on a fetus, there is just too much of the chemical in your bloodstream after use to justify the risk.

To prevent brown spots and discolouration during pregnancy—use sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen!


Research is still ongoing, but there are studies that show these chemicals have been linked to breast cancer as well as affecting the reproductive system. A link does not mean cause and effect, but it's worth noting. They are mainly used to preserve products, found in everything from foundations to styling gel. However, so many wonderful products now exist that do not need to include this harmful ingredient!


This is an ingredient mainly found in beauty products to help stabilize the formula and have been linked to liver, kidney, lung, and reproductive issues. Look for these terms ending in -phthalate to avoid this ingredient.


Isotretinoin, a vitamin A derivative, comes in both oral and topical forms. The oral kind is typically prescribed for severe acne, but can cause birth defects of the brain and heart as well as bone abnormalities. Doctors even recommend waiting at least 30 days after stopping these drugs before you try to conceive, and avoiding them while breastfeeding. To be safe, steer clear of ingesting excessive vitamin A (more than 25,000 IU per week) as well. As for topical retinoids, you’re better off avoiding them all together. Although very little of the drug gets absorbed into the skin, a handful of studies do, in fact, suggest a birth-defect link. Best to be safe.

Salicylic Acid

This beta hydroxy acid is often used in products to help exfoliate and reduce acne and/ or wrinkles. The Food and Drug Administration allows topical over-the-counter acne-fighting treatments to contain salicylic acid concentrations of up to 2 percent—and clinical reviews have deemed these topical salicylic acids low-risk for baby if used only on local areas for a limited time. Still, some dermatologists suggest avoiding salicylic acid in any form, just in case.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Check your shampoo and soap labels—there's a good chance this ingredient is lingering in your bathroom at this moment. This chemical acts as a foaming agent in many soaps and washes. (BAO washes are all SLS free. ) The issue is that the level of concentration of this chemical is too irritating by cosmetic standards. Our body is not able to break this chemical down, and with prolonged exposure, it can cause issues with the nervous system and kidney and liver function. If ingested, it can cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.