If you’ve become used to having Botox® injections to keep your skin looking younger, should you stop when you learn you’re pregnant? What skin care treatments are safe during pregnancy and while you’re breastfeeding? There’s no hard scientific data to answer these questions, but we recommend a cautious approach.
Is It Safe to Have Cosmetic Botox® Treatments During Pregnancy?
No researchers have completed controlled studies of Botox® use with pregnant women, but we, like most doctors, recommend that you avoid the risk. Here’s the reasoning behind that advice.
- The active ingredient in Botox® is a toxin — a powerful one. The reason Botox® works so well in reducing facial lines and wrinkles is that the botulinum toxin blocks signals from nerves to muscles, reducing their ability to move.
- There’s a small risk that the toxin in Botox® will spread beyond the treated area and affect other muscles with the same movement-inhibiting effect. Botox® packaging includes an FDA warning alerting users to this risk.
- Scientists don’t know with certainty whether botulinum toxin that spreads beyond a cosmetic treatment area can pass through the placental wall to harm a developing fetus. Animal studies have found no evidence of this happening, but there is no similar research on humans, for obvious ethical reasons.
That’s a lot of unknowns, but even a tiny risk of the Botox® toxin affecting your developing baby is too much. Why take that chance for a cosmetic treatment?
Is It Safe to Resume Botox® Treatments After the Baby Is Born, While Breastfeeding?
For the same reasons we and other doctors recommend against Botox® treatments during pregnancy, we advise that you continue to hold off on anti-wrinkle treatments until you have finished breastfeeding. There’s a small risk the botulinum toxin will spread beyond the treatment area, and if it does, scientists don’t know what would happen to your baby if it entered your breast milk.
Here again, why take the chance? There are other ways to keep your skin looking beautiful as an expectant and new mother.
Safe Skin Care During Pregnancy and While Breastfeeding
There are two health concerns to consider as you weigh your skin-care options during pregnancy and as a new mother. The first is the health of your baby. You don’t want any potentially harmful chemicals getting into your baby through your placenta or your breast milk. The second is your skin, which may be particularly sensitive during pregnancy.
Safe skin treatments include:
- Many , following the guidance of your doctor. High quality, well-tested products can help to keep your skin looking beautiful without risk to your baby. They can also safely control pregnancy-related acne.
- Mild made with glycolic or lactic acid are safe during pregnancy. Avoid more powerful peels made with salicylic acid.
- presents no risk to your developing baby, but experts recommend you wait until after your baby is born for these treatments because your skin can be especially sensitive during pregnancy.
Healthy lifestyle habits can also keep your skin looking fresh and young, and are great for your and your baby’s wellness.
- Eat a healthy mix of foods, with several servings of vegetables and fruit every day, along with lean proteins, nuts, and whole grains.
- Be physically active, following your doctor’s guidance.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Protect your skin from the sun.
- Get plenty of sleep. Doing so can be challenging with a newborn in the family, but sleep when you can, with naps when your baby sleeps and help from your partner through the night.
Learn More In a Personal Consultation in Annapolis
Dr. Henry Sandel and Dr. Claire Duggal have extensive experience in providing cosmetic facial treatments. They have earned a reputation for their beautiful results and their caring attention to patients’ health. Contact us today to schedule a consultation in Annapolis.