05 Jan Pregnancy, breastfeeding & cosmetic skin treatments
Often in pregnancy you are unable to use/have your regular skin care & skin treatments. Then, when you’ve made it through those months of pregnancy, you’re often feeling like you’re glow is missing! You will have put on hold a lot of active treatments during your pregnancy and are wanting to get back to your skin care management plan. You’re feeling you look tired and your skin is dull perhaps? It’s a common story. But we all want to do what’s safe for ourselves, our developing baby and our new precious bundle. Here we are addressing what procedures are ok for pregnancy and breast feeding and what are not.
Very few scientific studies have been conducted looking at this area. Of course, what we are interested in with breast feeding is the risk of chemicals or medications being absorbed into the mother’s system and then into breast milk. Secondly, if they do follow this path, can they be harmful to a baby’s development?
There has been some published information around this topic. Dermatological Surgery Magazine
(2013, “ Safety of cosmetic dermatological procedures during pregnancy’), and International Journal of Women’s Dermatology ( 2107 – “ A review of safety of cosmetic procedures during pregnancy and lactation.”), are examples. They concluded that most cosmetic procedures are safe to use during breast feeding as there is very little evidence for significant systemic absorption of the products used. Below we’ve discussed different treatments more specifically.
It is often recommended to wait until you are out of your 1st trimester before having skin treatments that are allowed during pregnancy. Please always let your therapist know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Pregnancy – YES they are suitable BUT adjustments of actives need to be made – there are some topical ingredients that are not recommended to use in pregnancy. Other kinds of chemical peels like Jessner and TCA peels with high concentrations of salicylic acid are not recommended in pregnancy.
Breastfeeding – In breast feeding, only very deep chemical peels might be an issue with absorption of the chemicals/ ingredients. Enzyme Facials with superficial exfoliation are not in this category. They are a perfect way to kick start that post pregnancy glowing skin.
Pregnancy – NO – We would not recommend these treatments in pregnancy.
Breastfeeding – In Australia we are not allowed to mention these products specifically by name as they are Schedule 4 prescription medications. In cosmetic use, the doses of anti-wrinkle medications used is very small compared to doses in medical situations. This makes the risk of systemic absorption by nursing mothers very low.
Also, the size of the molecules in both anti-wrinkle meds and dermal fillers would make it very hard for them to cross into the breast milk. BUT – it remains the case that no large scale studies have been (or will be) undertaken. This means that they are not technically licensed for use in this situation.
To deal with this concern re anti-wrinkle meds, breast feeding mums can do a “pump and dump” technique. This means using a breast pump to clear breast milk in the 24 hours post treatment, and dump this milk. ( ie do not use it for feeding bub).
Pregnancy – No – We would not recommend these treatments in pregnancy.
Breastfeeding – As mentioned above, the molecule size makes it very difficult for them to cross into breast milk even if they were somehow circulating in the blood. But there have been no large studies and there will not be. We can only extrapolate on the evidence, and they remain off label for this use.
For the safe use of these products, it is always important for the patient themselves, that they have no significant systemic infection at the time of dermal filler treatment as this could increase the risk of infections attaching to the injected fillers. So in breast feeding it is important that there is no evidence of mastitis.
When injecting dermal fillers there are some uncommon and rare emergency side effects that may need management. This is why you would do these treatments in a professional clinic with access to the appropriate emergency medical support.
Body Sculpting – TruSculpt iD
Pregnancy – No we wouldn’t recommend as your weight will fluctuate during pregnancy
Breastfeeding – YES – Non- invasive fat removal methods like TruSculpt iD on areas of the body not involving the breast are fine to do while breast feeding. Although it would make sense to wait until your weight had stabilised after pregnancy. As we know there is often a period of weight loss naturally with breast feeding after pregnancy. After this period, then TruSculpt iD can be a great method of trimming off new stubborn fat areas.
Laser and Light
Pregnancy & Breastfeeding – YES – as long as no anaesthetic is used!
The wavelength of light used for skin treatments is not deep enough to affect milk ducts, and in any case, would only affect the tissue directly under the area being treated. LED light can even be used to treat mastitis and sore nipples. It is true that Cold Laser (Low Intensity Laser Therapy) is different in this way and can penetrate deeply when used on settings for treating deeper muscular, bone or ligament concerns. However, as long as not used over the breast in these cases, would not reach the ducts.
A recent systematic review of all the available scientific literature concluded that the use of lasers and light therapy, -including BBL, tattoo removal, vascular, pigmentation and ablative lasers – are safe to use on the skin even during pregnancy. (Dermatological Surgery Magazine 2017 “ Utilization of Laser Therapy During Pregnancy: A Systematic Review of the Maternal and Foetal Effects Reported from 1960-2017.”)
Of course, just like the case with the treatment of fat, some skin conditions will settle or change in the months after pregnancy, so its’ worth waiting till hormones are back to normal and periods resume. ( eg. Melasma and facial hair growth).
The added issue with some laser treatments is the need for anaesthetic – creams topically or injected. We do know that these can be absorbed systemically and possibly cross into the breast milk. Also there is a small risk of reactions to anaesthetics, which may require medical management. As a result we would not use these products in pregnancy and breast feeding where possible.
Pregnancy & Breastfeeding – YES – Although The issue of anaesthetic as discussed in the laser and light section relates to microneedling also. So we would recommend only needling procedures that are anaesthetic free.