LipSense seems to be all the rage lately — another product you've likely seen as you browse your Facebook feed. LipSense touts itself as a lip color system (color, gloss, and remover) that stays put. In fact, it's said to last until you take it off with the special remover, with no transfer on your mugs, clothes, or partner's face. Though a lip color that lasts all day and doesn't smear sounds tempting, is it safe? And if you're currently nursing, is LipSense safe to use while breastfeeding?
According to Leigh Anne O'Connor, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), for the most part, the ingredients of LipSense and their compatibility for breastfeeding is unknown — there just isn't enough research done on such products to really be sure of their effect. "I am not a fan of putting limits on breastfeeding parents," O'Connor tells Romper, "and even after digging deep, there aren't many resources available on limiting cosmetics for breastfeeding."
LipSense products do contain some ingredients suggested as not safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women though, including several polyethylene glycol-related chemicals, and parabens. These ingredients are not unique to LipSense, and would probably be found in many or most of your drugstore or department store cosmetics. Many doctors suggest avoiding them when pregnant or breastfeeding, but these recommendations typically come with very relative definitions on safety.
This is because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require regulation over personal care or cosmetic products. The agency’s website explicitly states: “Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, do not need FDA approval before they go on the market.” Companies are also not required by law to disclose the full ingredients of perfumes, cosmetics, and lotions, so it’s impossible to know if the product label shows the complete list.
On top of that, there's little research being done to study the effects of certain cosmetic ingredients on pregnant or breastfeeding women. This leads experts to rely on other information to judge whether a product is safe or not. From there, they make the best recommendation they can, and sometimes, that means avoiding something simply for the fact that science doesn't know enough.
As a result, most cosmetic ingredients said to be potentially harmful for pregnant or breastfeeding women are considered unsafe for the general public as well. But, when you're pregnant or breastfeeding, there is a higher chance of transmission of chemicals to your baby, and a higher chance for your own sensitive skin to be irritated or prone to allergic reaction. This added risk is typically the one that drives healthcare providers to err on the conservative side when doling out recommendations.
According to Fit Pregnancy, beta hydroxy acids, chemical sunscreens, diethanolamine (DEA), formaldehyde, hydroquinone, parabens, phthalates, benzoyl peroxide, and retinols/retinoids are all among common cosmetic ingredients that should be avoided when pregnant or breastfeeding.
With the recommended restrictions of what you should or shouldn't put on your body when pregnant or breastfeeding, in addition to the immense body and lifestyle changes that take place with each, it can be hard to feel like yourself during this time. Moms often feel sloppy and run-down, and their self-care gets neglected for the sake of their babies. But, while a lot of popular cosmetics and skin care items do contain undesirable ingredients, there are many options that are clean and safe for use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
When you are scanning labels, look for products that are fragrance-free, BPA-free, and have no parabens, phthalates, or DEA. Lines like Ilia, Juice Beauty, First Aid Beauty, and Origins, among many others, are all popular with pregnant beauty writers and bloggers.
Your makeup game doesn't have to suffer just because you are pregnant or breastfeeding and being proactive and cautious. The self-confidence that often comes with doing something for yourself — something that makes you feel good — doesn't have to suffer, either. Self-care is important, especially as a mother, and there are many great and safe cosmetic and skin care companies out there to help you do just that.
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