In this page:
- Is it safe to use cosmetics during pregnancy?
- Should I be using natural and organic products whilst pregnant?
- What should I do if I have a reaction?
- Can I colour my hair while I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Is it safe to use self-tanning lotions during pregnancy or when breastfeeding?
Yes. Sometimes people ask whether exposure to cosmetics during pregnancy may cause abnormalities in the development of babies. Such claims cause unnecessary alarm and distress to consumers because there is no basis for concern.
Choosing cosmetic products is a very personal thing, but this decision should not be driven by fears over safety. The law requires that all cosmetic products must be safe before they can be sold in the UK. The cosmetics industry takes its responsibility to the consumer extremely seriously and safety is the number one priority.
Strict laws are in place to ensure that cosmetic products do not cause any harm to human health. It is the case that unfortunately someone, somewhere could react to an ingredient used in cosmetic products, so all cosmetic products display a complete ingredients list and it is really important to always follow the on-pack instructions. Central to the requirement for safety is that a rigorous safety assessment is carried out on every single cosmetic product before it is placed on the shelf.
Cosmetic law also requires the use of appropriate warnings where necessary, so a cosmetic product label will clearly state if there are any risks to pregnant women. However, such labelling is rare because the safety assessment is performed by qualified experts who understand cosmetics may be used by women who are pregnant or who might not be aware they are pregnant at the time. So, unless cosmetics are safe for use in pregnancy, they would not be placed on the market.
It is important to understand that any ingredient used in a cosmetic product, regardless of whether it is 'natural' or 'man-made', must be safe to be in accordance with strict UK laws. 'Man-made' does not mean the opposite of 'natural' or 'organic' and has no bearing on whether an ingredient is safe to use.
Consumers, especially pregnant women and new mums, can remain confident in the safety of all cosmetic and personal care products purchased in the UK.
The majority of people use cosmetic products without any problems. However a small number of people may have a reaction to certain ingredients. Not every reaction is an allergic reaction but all are upsetting to the person concerned. Manufacturers of cosmetic products want consumers to enjoy using their products. However companies want to know if someone has a reaction to their product. A guide has been produced to help explain what to do in such an instance and why it is important to inform the cosmetic product manufacturer
If you have had an allergic reaction:
See your GP for further information. They may refer you to an allergy specialist such as a dermatologist to determine the cause.
Contact the manufacturer to let them know you have had a problem with their product. They will be able to advise you further.
Once the ingredient to which you are allergic has been identified, you will be able to avoid it by checking the ingredient list on product packaging. Ingredients are listed with the same names across Europe and most of the world, so you will be able to identify your allergen even when travelling.
Always perform an Allergy Alert Test every time you colour your hair.
Colouring your hair when you are breastfeeding or pregnant is safe.
As always, it is vital to follow the product instructions and carry out the Allergy Alert Test as directed 48 hours before colouring your hair, every time.
Yes, self-tanning products are safe to use during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding although you probably wouldn't want to apply it to your breasts because it won't taste or smell very nice for your baby and you wouldn't want them to swallow it. Some mothers worry about the effect of cosmetics on their breast milk. There is no evidence to suggest that cosmetics make breast milk unsafe.