Retinol is found in many over-the-counter skin care products. You might not think twice about using the products during your pregnancies. This ingredient may be harmful to your baby.

You can learn more about retinol and safe alternatives for pregnant women.

Retinol is a retinoid subtype derived from vitamin A. Unlike retinoids that require a prescription, retinol is sold over the counter as an ingredient in skin creams, gels, serums, lotions, and more.

Retinol has pro-aging and anti-acne effects. Retinol works by boosting the production of collagen and elastin deep within the inner layer of skin (dermis). Increased collagen may reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and may make mature skin look smoother.

Retinol can help with blemish by removing dead skin cells, debris, andbacteria.

Fetal retinoid syndrome and oral retinoids

Never take prescription oral retinoids — such as isotretinoin (brand names: Absorica, Absorica LD, Claravis, Amnesteem, Myorisan, or Zenatane and formerly called Accutane) — during pregnancy.

These medications, prescribed to treat cystic acne, may lead to a condition called fetal retinoid syndrome that causes serious birth defects.

Retinol use is not recommended during pregnancy.

Do take your prenatal vitamins and eat a well-balanced diet including foods that contain beta carotene (from dark leafy greens or red, orange, and yellow vegetables), which is a safe form of vitamin A. If you are pregnant, always ask a doctor or healthcare professional before you take any supplements.

Fetal growth is supported by the fat-soluble vitamins A and B. Fetal eye health, the immune system, and skeletal growth are supported by it.

The fetus absorbs vitamins such as retinol when you ingest them.

Why is it that retinol use is discouraged during pregnancies?

“If you have too much in your system, it can cause a build up of toxic levels of vitamins A and C. Excess amounts are stored in the body’s fat and bile duct.”

Even though retinol is used topically – on your skin, it can be absorbed into the bloodstream and may contribute to vitamin A toxicity.

It is not known how much vitamins A and B are needed by a developing fetus or how harmful they become.

Most doctors recommend that pregnant women stop using retinol products because of an abundance of caution. They may recommend that you stop using Retinol while you are pregnant and nursing.

I’ve been using retinol creams, and I’m pregnant and worried. What should I do?

If you’ve been using retinol products and you’re pregnant, don’t panic. Chances are good that you haven’t overdone it and don’t need to worry.

Talk with your doctor or healthcare professional about your concerns.

However, out of an abundance of caution, stow your retinol products away for future use or give them to a friend.

Retinol has not been shown to cause birth defects.

However, medications containing retinoids, like isotretinoin (brand names: Absorica, Absorica LD, Claravis, Amnesteem, Myorisan, or Zenatane and formerly called Accutane), have been shown to cause a condition in the fetus called fetal retinoid syndrome (FRS) that may cause serious birth defects.

If you take these medications, your doctor will require that you participate in the iPLEDGE program to avoid pregnancy.

There are a range of physical and mental issues caused by FRS. They can be mild to severe.

Issues caused by the FRS include:

  • growth delays before birth or during infancy
  • skull and facial malformations (craniofacial), including cleft palate and hypertelorism (widely spaced eyes)
  • Hearing loss, missing ears, and small ears.
  • central nervous system issues, such as hydrocephalus
  • Learning disabilities and delays.
  • Microcephaly.
  • There are heart problems.
  • There are issues with the parathyroid and the renal glands.

Doctors recommend that you avoid products with Retinol during your pregnancies because of the risks from oral retinoids. The risk to the fetus from using Retinol is not known.

You can swap out alternative ingredients for retinol during your pregnancies.

These include:

  • glycolic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid that exfoliates the skin and has acne benefits
  • azelaic acid, another acne treatment that contains anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties
  • hyaluronic acid, which can help reduce wrinkles and hydrate skin

All-natural moisturizers with ingredients like green tea, aloe vera, and shea butter can also help keep skin soft and well moisturized during pregnancy.

Before you buy a product, make sure it is safe for pregnant women.

It’s not clearly known whether retinol is safe to use while breastfeeding. For that reason, it’s not recommended.

After your baby is born, you can resume using Retinol.

The use of retinoids on the skin may increase the amount of vitamins A and C in the body. This may cause serious harm to a fetus. retinoids use increases the risk.

Fetal retinoid syndrome is caused by taking retinoids during pregnancy. Fetal sexual stimulation can cause physical and mental issues in a baby.

There is no clear understanding of how much retinol is safe during pregnancy. It is recommended that pregnant people avoid using products that contain retinol.