Tag: Questions

Should you care, what you wear on your skin during pregnancy?

 

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One of my pregnant friends asked me, what she should avoid during pregnancy in term of skincare and makeup. So I did a little digging. Here is a summary of everything I read.

I will provide links if anyone needs to read further about any of the compounds given below.

High risk (Scientifically proven to affect):

  • Retinoids/Accutane – A commonly used substance in acne treatments and anti-aging products. Scientifically proven to cause birth defects. A list of different forms of retinoids to avoid is given here.
  • Formaldehyde, Toluene – Known carcinogens. Commonly found in nail polish, especially in Gel manicures. Opt for nail polishes that are free of formaldehyde, Toluene (not just pregnant women but everyone should consider avoiding these).
  • Aluminium – Found in antiperspirant deodorants. FDA recognise this as a chemical to be avoided by expectant mothers. Instead, opt for natural deodorants or aluminium free ones like Ethique solid blocks.
  • Botox – This is something that has not been tested on humans, but because of how Botox works, it is recommended to avoid during pregnancy. The chemical in Botox – Botulinum toxin- apparently paralyses the muscles around wrinkles so that they become less visible. It is the most acutely lethal toxin known (OMG!) which can spread around when injected to one place. Sounds scary to have around when a person is growing inside you.

Medium to low risk (Little or no conclusive evidence for adverse effects but good to avoid):

  • Benzoyl peroxide, Salicylic acid – Used to treat acne. Found in skin care products likes facewash and also in some acne-treating makeup. Using these in moderation with doctors advice is okay. Using facewash with these compounds is comparatively safer than wearing makeup that includes these as ingredients. However, it is recommended to avoid both as much as possible.
  • Phthalates – This is found in Haircare (shampoo), skincare (handwash), nail polish and even hair spray. Effect of Phthalates are not tested on humans, but animals show adverse birth effects. Therefore it is recommended to avoid. Check for products that clearly state Phthalate free.
  • Ammonia – Found in hair dye. Not tested to check the effects but it is recommended to avoid hair colouring if possible due to minor absorption of chemicals via the scalp. However, if the colour does not go near the scalp (e.g. highlights to hair ends), it is okay use in moderation. Always ensure proper ventilation during application to avoid inhaling any chemicals. (Personal advice: Please stay clear of hair dyes until your baby is born)
  • Lead – This is found in lipsticks. However, there are no clinical trials to prove that lead in lipstick causes adverse effects. But because cases of lead poisoning have been reported, it is good to stay away from makeup items that have the ingredient in them.
  • Hydroxy acids (AHA, BHA) – Found in a number of cleansers, toners and exfoliants. Salicylic acid is a commonly used BHA (look for risk factors in salicylic acid above). Glycolic acid and lactic acid are common AHAs. Due to lack of conclusive evidence, these AHAs used in small amounts may be okay. But professionals advice to minimise the use as much as possible and obtain doctor’s recommendation before using.
  • Essential oils – Knowledge around how essential oils affect humans, in general, is limited. A common opinion by medical professionals is that due to the concentration levels, essential oils can be harmful even for non-pregnant people. Two essentials oils to stay clear from, that has known adverse effects during pregnancy, are tea tree oil and rosemary oil.

General Comments: 

  • Always opt for products, both skin care and makeup, that are labelled ‘3-free‘ (Phthalate, Formaldehyde and Toluene) or ‘5-free‘ (3-free + formaldehyde resin, and camphor).
  • Use Mineral makeup if possible – mineral makeup sits on the skin and do not get absorbed.
  • Makeup that is ‘noncomedogenic’ or ‘nonacnegenic’, which do not clog pores, are comparatively safer to use.
  • Avoid hair removal creams – Wax or shave instead.
  • Always wear sunscreen when out in the sun in addition to wearing sunglasses and hats. Always use physical sunscreen with Titanium Dioxide or Zinc oxide – These too sit on the skin and provide lasting protection.
  • Finally, ALWAYS ask your OB/GYN or the medical officer, before taking any antibiotic, pharmaceutical-grade skin care or any drug for that matter.

Want to read more? Go to WebMDBaby CenterMother Nature NetworkVogue 

See you in my next!

Cheers,

Sithru

 

Nail polish 101: which base coat & top coat?

Hello! So before posting about my nail polish hoard, I thought I’d cover the basics: the basecoat and topcoat.

I’m a bit old school so I haven’t shifted over to UV gel or dip gel or any of the multitude array of more permanent solutions.

It was a frustrating (and expensive) process but I found a combo that works for my nails. If your nails are very bendy or flaky – dip gel might be best for you if you have a spare 45 mins and want them up to last 6 weeks.

So my combo is Revlon Colorstay Base Coat/ Gel-Smooth Base Coat and Essie Good to Go.

So…what’s the problem with this combo? Revlon a couple of years back discontinued their Color Stay Base Coat! They bought out a line of polishes called Gel Envy that had the basecoat already included in it instead.

But apparently a good replacement is Orly Bonder which you can get from Farmers NZ.

If you want to try something other than Essie, a good swap out is Sally Hansen Insta- Dri.

So choosing the best base coat/top coat (if you even want to use them) is based on a couple of things for me,

  • Does it work? I can get about a week without chipping with most polish brands/types with this combo.
  • Does it bubble? Not too much, but they all do when your fingers are too hot from the heat and humidity.
  • How shiny is it? Shiny! The base coat also acts as a nail ridge filler which helps.
  • How hard is it to apply? Well they can get gloopy – so I normally add a drop or two of some Orly Nail Lacquer thinner when that happens (which I also get at my local Farmers NZ).
  • Smell? They stink! But nail polish tends to have chemically smell anyway. It fades within an hour of application for me.
  • Brush? This made a difference for me in terms of frustration. I have a strong curve in my nails – they certainly don’t lie very flat!

The brush on the Revlon base coat is good for me because it covers a lot of surface area. It’s different from most because Revlon appeared to just have doubled up on a typical thin brush (?!). Weird but it works for me. Press harder and I get lots of coverage, flip it to the edge and I can get around the end of the nail without having to load my brush up.

The Essie Good to Go top coat has a thicker brush – a little thicker than the original ones thank goodness. It let’s me glide over the nail without having to do more strokes and run the risk of adding bubbles (never shake your nail polish – bubbles galore! If you have to, shake and leave for a 30 mins).

I’ve used a number of base coats and top coats over the years (like Seche Vite, OPI RapidDry, INM Out the Door) but because I’m in NZ, I found a combo that was easy for me to get a hold of. All three products are found in my local Farmers NZ (Albany in Auckland). Ranges can be regional so please check!

You can go without, but this combo helps me with staining and chipping. In the future I hope I can trial and post on the newer technologies in nail polish.

Should you wear Bronzer?

Even I’ve often wondered; I am brown skinned (for reference, I’m a MAC NC44), do I still need to wear bronzer? The answer is… It depends! (my favourite answer :D). First I must clarify, my question carries a misguided assumption – that bronzer is to make your skin darker. Well, it is in a way, but the purpose of bronzers is to give the skin a healthy sun-kissed look (This is not synonymous with having a darker skin shade). bronzers

The choice to wear bronzer depends on several things: Most important one being the personal preference. There are no hard-and-fast rules in makeup. As someone rightly said, ‘in makeup, you do you!’.

The second thing is the occasion or the makeup look that you are going for. If it is for something outdoorsy like a beach party or a formal event, bronzing adds a nice touch; But a trip to the grocery store … maybe not (again keep in mind, personal preference dictates).

Lastly, the time of the year should be of concern. As counterintuitive as it may sound, bronzing is appropriate in summer or warmer months. It helps to maintain a natural look during the season. But that should not stop you from wearing a little colour in winter if you want to.

If you decide to wear a bronzer, there are three things to consider.

  • Shade and undertone of the product (of course!): A rule of thumb is to choose one that is two to three shades darker. As a general guide, lighter skin shades look better in peachy bronzers; olive/ tan skin tones look good in golden undertones; the darker skin shades look flattering in orange/apricot undertones.

But I am a yellow undertoned medium to deep skin shade. Going by the rule, I should look good in orange-toned bronzers. But I look like an Oompah Loompa when I use that. So in my case, I use bronzers that are in between golden and orange tones (yeah! that easy).

  • Skin type: for oily skins, use powder bronzers as well as ones without shimmers and sparkles to avoid the slick look. Cream and liquid bronzers look appealing on dry skin. If you Normal or combination skins, both types can be used.
  • Application: for powder bronzers, using a big fluffy brush is appropriate. It helps the product to distributed evenly and more naturally. For creams and liquids, start with your fingertips and then blend with a makeup sponge or a brush. Model on blue background.

Imagine the ‘3’ shape when applying bronzer as shown in the picture. On both sides of the face, make the ‘3’ shape, starting at the forehead along the hairline, follow along the hollow of the cheek and just under the jawline. Keep it sheer and build as needed.

Hope this answered the question! 🙂

Don’t forget to follow me for updates on new posts. See you soon!

Cheers,

Sithru

Further recommended readings here and here. Enjoy!