When it comes to those stubborn wrinkles, unwanted acne, and maintaining a glow, many people depend on retinol, the skincare ingredient. It has vitamin A, and dermatologists have formulated it to be an effective product that helps in maintaining smooth and clear skin. Even though it is an effective product, it is controversial as well for use during pregnancy, and after pregnancy, during the postpartum period. In this article, we are going to talk about whether it is safe to use retinol while breastfeeding. But if you are looking for a short and crisp answer, it is a big “no.” Retinol cannot be used during breastfeeding or cluster Feeding.

According to Deanne Mraz-Robinson, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Westport, CT, there are a lot of controversial discussions on this topic. Because it is not clear what particular amount of retinol gets absorbed in the skin. However, what we do know is that maternal use of synthetic vitamin A (retinoids) during pregnancy and nursing can result in multiple effects on the child.”

What is retinol?

The retinol that is mostly used in skin-care products is a synthetic compound that has been derived from vitamin A. It promised to reduce ance visibly and has kept its promise. It also reduces signs of aging. Some of the topical retinoid treatments need a prescription, but retinol is mostly available as an over-the-counter skincare product.

For any severe skin condition, retinoids can be taken orally. However, during pregnancy, taking retinol orally can cause birth defects. The effectiveness and strength of retinoids vary in their different forms.

What does retinol do?

Retinols have a number of effects on the skin, which make them an all-rounder in the world of skincare. It reduces wrinkles and fine lines as it increases collagen production and replaces dead skin cells.

This actually means that cellular turnover happens quickly, leaving the skin plump and full. And all of this happens because of the benefits of vitamin A.

Professionals often recommend retinol for treating acne and clogged pores. It is also used for treating free radical damage. Along with that, retinol is also effective for treating uneven skin tone. It makes the skin soft and reduces dark spots, which improves skin overall.

How do topical products enter the body?

Topical products are those products that people apply to their skin. This includes ointments, lotions, and oils. Retinol products are mostly topical. However, oral retinol, which is taken by mouth, is also available.

Most topical products try to fix the upper layer of the skin, which has skin cells, hair follicles, and a lot of nerves. Even though this is the target area, topical products can still get to the bloodstream as it passes through the mucous membranes or the skin.

Is it safe to use topical retinol during pregnancy and breastfeeding?

To keep it simple, the answer is no. Even though the benefits sound great, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should stay safe from all those products that contain vitamin A.

Is it safe to use topical retinol during pregnancy and breastfeeding_

As per the Royal Hospital for Women, over-the-counter cosmetics with low percentages of retinol are generally acceptable to use on the skin during pregnancy as very little of the active ingredient is absorbed into the body.”

On the other hand, as per a US study, products that contain a higher concentration of prescribed formula or retinol are best avoided. Because there is no proper evidence from any studies that proves that these are safe to use during pregnancy. For this reason, when you are breastfeeding, it is better not to use retinol.

As it is already mentioned, there are a few risks associated with the development of the unborn child and retinol. However, there is not enough research on how retinol can affect breast milk. It is better to consult a dermatologist, or any doctor for that matter, before using it.

What are the risks of using retinol while breastfeeding?

Similar to caffeine and alcohol, skincare products can get inside the body and affect the health of the baby. Because of that, using retinol when you are breastfeeding can be potentially dangerous.

More research is needed to figure out the exact amount of retinol that gets passed to the little one. It is a powerful thing which is beneficial as well as dangerous.

Evidence is there that prescribed retinoids can be the reason behind congenital disabilities. Even though retinol is less powerful than retinoids, there is no point in taking risks. So, it is best to avoid the product during breastfeeding. 

When can I resume using retinol?

When you stop breastfeeding your baby, return back to retinol without any hesitation. You can use topical retinol or any other skincare product, as there is no chance to pass it on to the baby.

Breastfeeding safe alternatives

So, what are the things that you can use to keep your skin on point? What are the things that you have to do to avoid clogged pores and acne while you are breastfeeding? 

Ingredients like azelaic acid, hyaluronic acid, benzoyl peroxide, lactic acid, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid have the same effect as retinol. These are also safe for use during breastfeeding and pregnancy. Vitamin C is particularly another good alternative.

However, if you apply these skincare products directly on your breasts, then it is important to clean any residue before you feed your baby. Make sure they do not come in direct contact with the substance.

Using natural alternatives like bakuchiol is surprisingly effective in treating problems like acne. You do not have to remove them before you breastfeed your baby.


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subhasree nag
Subhasree is a content writer who is passionate about traveling, writing, and reading books. In her leisure time, she is seen listening to music and watching web series. Writing along with music and dance are ways in which she expresses herself.

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