Personal care

Cosmetics and sunscreen

Most cosmetics (creams, makeup) can be used during pregnancy. Face cream and hand and body creams that do not contain any medicinal ingredients can be used safely. If you use a medicated cream, your doctor or pharmacist can check to see if you can continue using it while pregnant.

Hair products and treatments

Hair products and treatments including dyes, colouring shampoos, highlights, and perms are not dangerous to pregnant women or their fetus. However, if you use hair products as part of your work, discuss the matter with your health professional (see Health and safety at work).

Sunscreen

You are advised to use sunscreen when you go out in the sun. This is especially important during pregnancy because the sun can increase hyperpigmentation and pregnancy mask (see Hyperpigmentation). Use a cream or lotion with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Be especially careful to protect your face.

Insect repellent

If you are unable to avoid situations where you will be exposed to insects and you are obliged to use insect repellent, it is best to use one that contains DEET, icaridin, or soybean oil.

DEET- and icaridin-based products protect against both mosquitos and ticks, but soybean oil–based products do not protect against ticks.

If you are pregnant, do not use products containing more than 30% DEET, 20% icaridin, or 2% soybean oil. Be sure to read the label to know how long the protection will last. Reapply only as needed.

A few precautions

There is no scientific proof that the use of these insect repellents by pregnant women presents a risk to the health of the baby they are carrying. But it is important to apply the product to exposed skin only and to wash off any excess.

To limit your exposure to these products, you can apply them to your clothes rather than directly onto your skin. Wearing long pants and light colours is another way to help protect against insect bites.

The use of citronella oil or lavender oil–based products during pregnancy is not recommended. Their effect is short-term so you have to reapply often, thereby exposing yourself to the product in large amounts.

Laser hair removal and electrolysis

There have been no scientific studies done on the risk of electrolysis and laser hair removal for pregnant women and their unborn babies. As a precaution, it is recommended that you avoid these hair removal methods until after you give birth.

Tanning salons

Even though ultraviolet rays cannot reach the fetus, tanning salons are not recommended for pregnant women. The extreme heat you are exposed to during tanning sessions can significantly increase body temperature and harm your baby. Many tanning salons require pregnant customers to provide written authorization from a health professional.


Fetus: Developmental stage of a human being in its mother’s womb, from 10 weeks of pregnancy until birth.