Pregnancy Safe Beauty: Top 10 Ingredients to Avoid

Pregnancy Safe Beauty: Top 10 Ingredients to Avoid

During my pregnancy I was instructed what not to eat, not to drink, activities to avoid, etc. but I was never informed about skincare/beauty ingredients that are potentially harmful for me and my baby. Am I the only one?

The skin is our largest organ and depending on the formulation of the product, it could absorb 60-70% of the chemicals it comes in contact with leading them to our bloodstream, yet, there's not a lot of information shared with new moms-to-be on this topic. 

So here we go, let's take a deeper dive into 10 harmful skincare/beauty ingredients to avoid during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Plus I'm sharing safe alternatives to some of those harmful active ingredients.


Retinoids, such as retinol, retin-A, and tretinoin, are powerful anti-aging ingredients loved by many. However, they are not recommended during pregnancy and breastfeeding because they can increase the risk of birth defects.

Alternative: Look for collagen boosting ingredients like Matrixyl 3000, Gotu Kola, etc. that are safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding to meet your anti-aging needs. Kalaia's Keep Smooth - Day & Night Serum is formulated with 7 pregnancy/breastfeeding-safe collagen boosting ingredients. 

Salicylic Acid:

Salicylic acid is commonly found in acne-fighting products and help clear out pores. While it is generally considered safe in small amounts, high concentrations should be avoided as they can be absorbed into the bloodstream, potentially harming the baby.

Alternative: Instead opt for a natural active ingredients like papaya extract to unclog pores. Kalaia's Detox & Balance - Cleansing Bar is formulated with papaya extract to loosen up blackheads and whiteheads for clear skin.

Benzoyl Peroxide:

Another acne-fighting ingredient, benzoyl peroxide, is generally considered safe when used topically. However, it is essential to avoid high doses, as it may harm the baby.

AlternativeFight acne causing bacteria with natural ingredients like turmeric, rose essential oil, etc. packed with antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Check out Kalaia's Deluxe Set for best defense against acne.


Hydroquinone is used to lighten dark spots and hyperpigmentation. It is best avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding because its safety for the baby has not been established.

AlternativeGinger extract, turmeric, and stable vitamin c are great alternatives to brighten dark spots without the risks. Kalaia's Keep Smooth - Day & Night Serum is formulated with 12 pregnancy/breastfeeding-safe skin brightening ingredients. 


Formaldehyde and its releasers are often found in nail products and hair straighteners. It is a known carcinogen and should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding.


Phthalates are often used as fragrance ingredients and plasticizers in cosmetics. They can disrupt hormone function and are best avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

AlternativeAnother reason why we promise to never use artificial fragrances in our products and only use high quality essential oils and extracts with skin benefits. Learn more about our Fragrance with Purpose.

Chemical Sunscreens:

Certain chemical sunscreen ingredients like oxybenzone and avobenzone can penetrate the skin and potentially affect the baby.

AlternativeOpt for mineral sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide instead during pregnancy and breastfeeding.


Parabens are used as preservatives in many skincare products. While their safety is still debated, it's best to avoid them during pregnancy and breastfeeding due to their potential hormone-disrupting properties.

Alternative: At Kalaia we use safer alternatives to parabens and also drastically reduce the amount of preservatives used where we can with our waterless products


Toluene is often found in nail polish and hair dyes. It can harm the developing fetus and should be avoided during pregnancy.

Formaldehyde-releasing Preservatives:

Ingredients like DMDM hydantoin and imidazolidinyl urea release formaldehyde over time. These preservatives should be avoided during pregnancy due to their potential harm to the baby. 

While there are many safe skincare options available, it's important to be informed about the ingredients to avoid. Always consult with your healthcare provider before introducing any new skincare or beauty products into your routine. While it may feel overwhelming to find safer alternatives, I just want to reassure you that there are plenty of pregnancy/breastfeeding safe products to help you maintain healthy and radiant skin throughout this special time in your life.