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Image of 2 pacifiers representing alternatives to botox whilst pregnant or breastfeeding.

Alternatives to Botox whilst pregnant or breastfeeding

Along with the excitement of expecting, pregnancy brings with it a unique and dramatic hormonal shift that impacts a woman’s skin, hair, nails, sleep pattern, mood, and more – and these changes can continue if breastfeeding.

Pigmentation changes, acne, and broken capillaries can all be by-products of pregnancy, and due to unknown risks to the foetus or newborn, a lot of the regular treatments for these concerns are off the cards.

And Botox, unfortunately, is one of those on the red list.

So, what are the alternatives to having Botox while pregnant or breastfeeding? And which method could be right for you?

Why can’t I have Botox when I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

Many treatments are off limits at this time because they have not been studied for safety during pregnancy.

Botox, or botulinum toxin, is a neurotoxin and has not been tested on pregnant women and will never be tested due to ethical reasons. And while there’s no concrete evidence to suggest it is unsafe during pregnancy, it would not be considered good practice to inject a toxin, in case something did happen to the foetus.

And although there is only a small amount of purified botulinum toxin in each injection, doctors cannot be sure how much of it transfers through your breast milk to your baby if breastfeeding so it remains off the cards.

Is there ever an exception?

It’s recommended that Botox should be administered in pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the foetus.

For some people, there are medical reasons for undergoing Botox, such as to treat migraines, but the consensus is to wait until after pregnancy and breastfeeding to have Botox.

Image of a woman representing alternatives to botox whilst pregnant or breastfeeding

Alternative treatments to Botox during pregnancy or breastfeeding

Facials

Helps with: Increasing blood circulation and plumping your skin.

Works by: Massaging and cleansing the skin.

Results include: Small improvements in your complexion and reducing oil production.

Specialised anti-ageing facials that include chemicals such as glycolic and hyaluronic acid, as well as collagen-infused serums, can help to plump and firm up the skin on your face. Oxygen facials can help increase blood circulation and plump out fine lines, and deep cleansing facials are also safe and do wonders for reducing oil levels.

Average facial cost: SR100 per session.

Chemical Peels

Helps with: Removing damaged and dead skin cells.

Works by: Applying a chemical solution to the face.

Results include: Improving your skin’s texture and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.

Chemical peels are a form of cosmetic treatment used to exfoliate your skin. Different types of acids are placed on your face to remove any dead skin cells, allowing new, healthier cells to take their place.

The procedure can cause a mild stinging sensation, and it can take up to two weeks for your skin to fully heal. Afterwards, your skin can feel smoother and more evenly toned, and you may notice a reduction in your wrinkles and fine lines.

If you’re planning on getting a chemical peel while pregnant or breastfeeding, opt for a light or medium peel. These aren’t absorbed into the body. This means there’s no risk of the chemicals making their way into your bloodstream and your breast milk.

Average chemical peel cost: SR300 – SR1,000 per session

Facial acupuncture

Helps with: Stimulating blood flow and boosting collagen production.

Works by: Inserting fine needles into your face’s target areas.

Results include: A brighter and healthier-looking complexion.

Acupuncture has been used for centuries to create balance in our bodies. More recently, the beauty industry has taken the benefits of acupuncture to develop a cosmetic treatment for our faces.

Facial acupuncture involves applying between 20 and 70 tiny needles to your face. As these needles painlessly penetrate the skin, it sends signals around the body to repair. This creates more collagen, oxygen, and nutrients in your skin cells, which can help you achieve a brighter complexion. This collagen can also improve elasticity, helping to reduce wrinkles and fine lines.

Acupuncture is a popular alternative to drug-based treatments such as Botox, with some suggesting that it can even help with breastfeeding by improving your blood flow.

Average acupuncture cost: Dependent on location.

Topical creams

Helps with: Adding moisture and plumping your skin.

Works by: Applying a cream to your skin.

Results include: Small improvements in your complexion and appearance of wrinkles.

Topical creams are a safe option when pregnant or breastfeeding as very little is absorbed into the skin. However, the results tend to be minimal – this solution is more of a booster shot than an effective treatment that lasts.

You can easily pick up these creams and serums over the counter. If you’re looking for products to help with wrinkles and fine lines, look out for ingredients such as:

  • Vitamin C.
  • Hydroxy acids (glycolic, citric, and lactic).
  • Bakuchiol
  • Peptides

Tip: Doctors suggest avoiding retinol/retinoid skincare products while breastfeeding as these can be harmful to your baby.

Image of a woman touching her face representing alternatives to botox whilst pregnant or breastfeeding

Other treatments to avoid during pregnancy

Laser hair removal or electrolysis

There are no studies that evaluate the safety of electrolysis – or laser hair removal – during pregnancy.

In fact, galvanic electrolysis sends a minute electrical current through your body and back to the device, which is not recommended at all because the baby is surrounded by amniotic fluid, which could act as a conductor of electricity.

Botox for Hair

Many topical Botox hair treatments use keratin products to create a smoothing effect. Many contain formaldehyde, which can irritate your lungs, eyes, throat and which you can possibly be more sensitive to during pregnancy.

Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion facials aren’t recommended when pregnant as they may lead to irritation, breakouts, or scarring of your skin, which is more sensitive during these nine-plus months.

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