Is It Safe to do Facial Bleach during Pregnancy?

Facial Bleach During Pregnancy – Risks and Precautions

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sabiha Anjum (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
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When you are pregnant, you are extra careful about the medication that you encounter since this medication can affect the baby. Similarly, some chemicals that fall under the cosmetics category should be considered before use. During pregnancy, the changes in your body can lead to more hair growth or darkened skin due to increased hormones called androgens (4). An increase in hair growth on the cheeks, chin, and lips, especially after the second trimester (sixth month), might make you use face bleaching products. These products are mainly skin bleaching agents, which are the most common treatment as they lighten the pigmentation of facial hair. But, is it safe to use face bleach during pregnancy? If that worries you, keep reading to know the risks and precautions associated with facial bleaching during this crucial time.

Is Facial Bleach Safe During Pregnancy?

Can I bleach my face during pregnancy? This is something that must have crossed your mind. Bleaching agents are chemical substances. These chemical substances have a drug-like action which lightens the skin. It interferes with enzymatic processes that lead to melanin production (which darkens the skin). The active ingredients used are hydroquinone, hydrogen peroxide with ammonia, potent steroids and glutathione (1). There always remains a risk of applying chemicals in pregnancy. Some of these are discussed in this article.

Risks of Bleaching When Pregnant

The safety of various beauty and skincare practices during pregnancy is a common concern for expectant mothers. One such practice, bleaching, raises questions about its effects on the mother and the child. Let us understand the risk associated with bleaching during pregnancy. 

  1. The first trimester is crucial during pregnancy because it is the phase where all the baby’s vital organs are formed. Therefore, babies are at risk (7).
  2. One may induce symptoms of vomiting with the fumes and smells of chemicals.
  3. Anything you apply on the skin tends to seep inside your body through the pores present on the skin, though in a minimal amount (8).
  4. During pregnancy, skin becomes sensitive and itchy; it is advisable to rest the bleaching sessions to avoid adverse reactions on the skin.
  5. As mentioned above, some bleach may also contain steroids and hydroquinone; these ingredients can cause low birth weight in babies (6). Hydroquinone also comes under category C, which means that it is clinically proven and tested to induce congenital disabilities in animals, causing stillbirth and low birth weight. Still, it is not conclusive that the same effect can be seen in humans.

Symptoms of Bleach Poisoning in Pregnancy

During pregnancy, it’s essential to look out for bleach poisoning symptoms. This is because these symptoms can look like everyday pregnancy problems. Here are a few bleach poisoning symptoms you must be aware of:

Haldi as a bleaching alternatvie

Natural and Herbal Bleaching Methods While Pregnant

The facts mentioned above may discourage you from using face bleach when pregnant. However, the truth is that you can still use bleaching agents even if you are pregnant. The bleaching agents, which are natural, are without any side effects. Some of the natural face bleach in pregnancy are:

  1. Using tomato juice acts as a bleaching agent and lightens your facial hair. Apply the juice for 15-20 minutes and then wash it with normal water.
  2. Mix milk and mashed ripe papaya; the combination of these two ingredients is a natural bleach.
  3. Using turmeric and milk paste will also help lighten hair on the face.
  4. Lemon with honey can also be a natural bleach for facial hair.

Precautions to Take While Bleaching in Pregnancy

Pregnant women can safely manage their personal care routines by following these safety guidelines:

  • Before skin bleaching, during pregnancy, a patch test on a small area of the face to check irritation or allergy is recommended. This is because, during pregnancy, skin becomes sensitive due to hormonal changes (5).
  • Rinse the face with cold water; it will help minimise the bleaching agent seeping into the skin, as cold water helps shrink the pores.
  • Sitting in a well-ventilated area is advisable to prevent inhaling strong bleaching fumes.
  • Reduce the bleaching time on the face.
  • If your skin is itchy or has rashes, never apply the bleach.
  • Use bleach with mild bleaching agents, excellent brands and not a local one.
  • Facial bleach done by a professional will be advisable rather than doing it yourself.
  • Lastly, consult your doctor before using bleach, as it is the kind of chemical which can interfere with pregnancy.

FAQs

1. Can you use hair removal creams instead of bleach during pregnancy?

Yes, you can use hair removal creams as an alternative to bleach during pregnancy. Hair removal creams dissolve the hair at the skin’s surface and do not involve the same potential risk as bleach.

2. Will bleaching body hair during pregnancy affect your baby’s health?

The effect of bleaching body hair during pregnancy on the baby’s health is not well-studied. While it is unlikely that bleaching body hair would directly harm the baby, there are potential risks associated with the chemicals in bleach. It’s best to consult with your doctor before using bleach during pregnancy.

3. Is it safe to apply bleach on pregnancy Melasma?

Melasma, also known as the “mask of pregnancy”, is a common skin condition characterised by dark patches on the face (3). The safety of applying bleach to treat melasma during pregnancy is not well established. Bleach contains strong chemicals that can irritate the skin, and there is a risk of the chemical being absorbed into the bloodstream.

Pregnancy for a mother is the most delicate phase of life. Therefore, care and concern are always a priority, but that doesn’t mean that beauty and care should be neglected. The use of natural products can guarantee beauty as well as the safety of the baby’s health.

References/Resources:

1. Bozzo. P, Chua-Gocheco. A, Einarson. A; Safety of skin care products during pregnancy; PubMed Central;  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3114665/; June 2011

2. Hair bleach poisoning; MedlinePlus; https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002702.htm

3. Basit. H, Godse. K. V, Al Aboud. A. M; Melasma; StatPearls; NCBI; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459271/

4. Pregnancy and Skin Changes; Stanford Medicine; https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=pregnancy-and-skin-changes-134-7

5. Hair Treatment During Pregnancy; American Pregnancy Association; https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/is-it-safe/hair-treatments-during-pregnancy/

6. Mahe. A, Perret. J. L, Ly. F, et al.; The cosmetic use of skin-lightening products during pregnancy in Dakar, Senegal: a common and potentially hazardous practice; Transaction of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene; ScienceDirect;  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0035920306002069; February 2007

7. Ooka. T, Horiuchi. S, Shinohara. R, Kojima. R, et al.; Association between Maternal Exposure to Chemicals during Pregnancy and the Risk of Foetal Death: The Japan Environment and Children’s Study; PubMed Central; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34831503/

8. Pregnancy Precautions; Nemours Children’s Health; https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/pregnancy-precautions.html

Also Read: 

Facial during Pregnancy
Eyebrow Threading when Pregnant
Manicure & Pedicure while Pregnant
How to Take Care of Skin in Pregnancy?

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