What makeup is safe for breastfeeding mothers? That’s kind of a trick question, actually. New moms should continue to use pregnancy safe makeup even after they give birth. But while there is no reason to ditch the clean brands that were good for pregnancy, there are specific ingredients that have been shown to transfer to breast milk.
Ingredients to Avoid While Breastfeeding
Chemicals that accumulate in a breastfeeding mom’s body fat will pass to breast milk. According to research, specific ingredients found in cosmetics do just that.
Octinoxate and Oxybenzone
Where you’ll find it: sunscreen, moisturizers, lipstick, nail polish, skin creams, foundations, fragrance, hair products.
Why you should avoid it: These UV filters can interfere with our bodies’ normal hormone functions. Research shows that octinoxate can have a harmful effect on a fetus’s reproductive organ development. And oxybenzone can alter the function of the reproductive system and thyroid in animal studies. Both are easily absorbed and have been found in mothers’ breast milk. These ingredients are most commonly found in chemical sunscreens, so it’s important that breastfeeding moms use mineral sunscreen.
Where you’ll find it: anti-aging products, acne products, face moisturizers.
Why you should avoid it: Retinol is a powerful skincare ingredient, clinically shown to reduce the signs of aging. Yet, some studies show greater health risks for pregnant women, children, and older women who use retinoids. Dermatologist Dr. Jerome Potozkin told me: “I advise patients to avoid retinol while pregnant as it has not been studied in pregnant women,” he said. Since we don’t know everything about the risks of retinol, it’s probably best to avoid it while breastfeeding as well.
Where you’ll find it: antibacterial liquid soap, deodorant, shaving cream, soap bars, and toothpaste.
Why you should avoid it: Triclosan can mess with our hormones, and one study linked it to the proliferation of breast cancer cells. Triclosan can accumulate in the body’s fatty tissues, and has been found in breast milk and infant umbilical cords.
In addition to these specific ingredients, you should always avoid other ingredients that have been shown to disrupt our body’s normal functions.
Safe Makeup Products to Use While Breastfeeding
The quality products below get a safe rating of 1 or 2 from EWG’s Skin Deep database and don’t contain worrisome ingredients for breastfeeding mothers. Pregnancy and breastfeeding are the perfect opportunity to make the switch.
- Moisturizer: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Sensitive Skin Face Moisturizer Intense Soothing Care
- Sunscreen: Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen, SPF 50
- Anti-aging: Alpyn PlantGenius Melt Moisturizer
- Acne: First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Acne Clearing Charcoal Cleanser
- Lipstick: Kosas Lipstick
- Foundation: Vapour Soft Focus Foundation
- Nail Polish: SOPHi Non-Toxic Nail Polish
- Body Lotion: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration
- Hair Products: Avalon Organics Biotin B-Complex Thickening Shampoo and Avalon Organics Biotin B-Complex Thickening Conditioner
- Deodorant: Thinksport Deodorant, Unscented
- Toothpaste: Davids Natural Toothpaste
The Benefits of Breastfeeding
While some ingredients transfer to breast milk, the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh the risks. Breastfeeding can reduce the chances of contracting both chronic and communicable diseases, and many mothers also enjoy bonding benefits. But with so many quality and safe products out there, there’s no reason not to try safer makeup, too.