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Is Retinol (in beauty products) harmful for pregnant women?

By August 12, 2008 - 12:59pm
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I overheard a conversation today that a woman who is pregnant should not use beauty products that contain retinol. Is that true? Why not? I'm wondering if pregnant women should not use it, then what about women who are in their child-bearing years...why is this product dangerous and should it be on the market for ANY woman?

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EmpowHER Guest

Really ladies girls got to do what they got to do

January 26, 2015 - 3:05pm
EmpowHER Guest

I was worried about this as well because I was using Derma e's Vitamin E wrinkle gel on my belly and thighs for a previous pregnancy's stretch marks when I discovered I was pregnant (4 weeks.) I also use Olay's Regenerist line and use a daily multivitamin with 50% DV of A so I was pretty terrified. :)

But, I checked the FDA and they've done some research on the absorption rates of A through the skin and they line up with what Alison was saying: using the creams on your entire body every day is completely safe by one standard, and just over the limit on another:

" This value for total body application is greater
than the daily intake limit (5000 IU = 1.5 mg) recommended by the
FDA for women of child-bearing age, but less than the daily intake
limit (8000 IU= 2.4 mg) recommended by the Teratology Society"

(again, this is for using it on your entire body each day at 1% creme, higher than most body creams.)

And using it only on your face and hands puts you at merely 10% of the upper limit for pregnant women, and this doesn't account for sweating, washing, and clothing rubbing it off, meaning we're probably just fine. :)


(there are a lot of stats and methods discussions in the beginning; I found the most useful information in the "discussion" towards the end.)

March 24, 2011 - 1:10pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Hi any issues with baby since U used retinol a?

January 31, 2015 - 6:49pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

ARgh! Sorry that was Derma-e's vitamin A gel! ;)

March 24, 2011 - 1:12pm

I found a credible source (Medscape)of information regarding retinol use in pregnancy, and here are the important pieces of information:
- "At most, topical retinoids, including tretinoin, adapalene, and tazarotene, deliver minuscule amounts of active ingredient into the circulation."
- "If trying to become pregnant or if pregnancy occurs, patients should discontinue topical retinoids."

Another source (sites credible medical journals for this information):
"When used topically, the teratogenic risk of tretinoin [a type of synthetic retinol] had been thought to be close to 0. According to one source, no cases of toxicity had been reported after nearly 20 years of use. In support of this, it has been estimated that even if maximal absorption (approximately 33%) occurred from a 1-g daily application of a 0.1% preparation, this would only result in about one-seventh of the vitamin A activity received from a typical prenatal vitamin supplement."

This information is just provided to give you piece of mind, as it is best to avoid the topical-use of retinol-containing products during pregnancy. It is the oral-administration of retinol that has been proven to cause severe birth defects.

Please let us know what the company and your doctor says!

February 13, 2011 - 2:54pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am so worrying right now:(:(:(
I am 14 week pregnant and was using ''Roc retinol anti stretch-marks cream' from almost first week of my pregnancy up to 12 week I was using this cream everyday for legs and bump:( so stupid i am :(
After huge research i know that oral wit A is worst but using creams like this its not good either:(
Cant find % of retinol in this cream on the box, had write to roc and waiting for answer.
Anyone from You had similar experience ?

February 13, 2011 - 1:02pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Anything happen?

March 5, 2016 - 5:12pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Talk with your doctor, but the information I am reading says it is best to avoid retinol-containing products during pregnancy, but topical forms have not been shown to cause harm. (I wanted to give you this information so you can feel OK until you talk with your doctor; I can not guarantee the credibility of these online doctors, but they are from well-known sources):

"If you've been using a skin cream [during pregnancy] that contains a retinoid, don't panic. Retinoids have not been shown to cause problems in their topical form in pregnant women.

"There is no data to show these retinoids ingredients are harmful when used on the skin — doctors are just being extra cautious."

February 13, 2011 - 2:49pm
EmpowHER Guest

Just my two cent worth: all of you worried about retin A, don't be, unless you eat a whole tube(yes eat), you have nothing to fear. Retin a contains very little vitamin a in the form of tretinoin, What I would steer clear of and which NOBODY ever talks about are things like LIVER (full of retinol) and foie gras (duck liver pate, so yummy). that being said, I still have a "taste", a really teeny weeny one, but will skip my prenatal vitamin on that day (most prenatals contain a lot of vitamin A, in the form of retinol, instead of the better form, which is beta carotene).

August 24, 2010 - 1:23pm
EmpowHER Guest

retinol is vitamin A ,and it is highly fat soluble so it can reach the fetus quickly through the placenta causing dangerous tertogenic effects like: heart defectsoral cleft, small or absent eyes & limbs reduction
so it must be avoided during pregnancy espially with ( valproic a , warfarin, isotretnoin) but it hasproven to be safe for unpregnant women unless you suffer from allergie

dr. leena abd el wahab

November 4, 2009 - 8:00am
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