Bleaching your body hair during pregnancy

Even if you’ve never bleached your body hair before, you might be tempted to during your pregnancy. Because your hormones are increased and doing things they don’t normally do, you’ll notice a lot of bodily changes – some of which are a lot more unsightly than others. Most women notice an increase in the darkness and amount of their body hair when they become pregnant. You might see more on your arms, face, and even chest as your body shifts in an effort to accommodate your growing baby. Once you become self-conscious about your mustache or dark arm hair, bleaching will seem like the only way you can go out in public without being embarrassed. Luckily, studies show that bleach is probably perfectly safe.

I say probably because few studies actually exist examining the effects of bleach on pregnancy, but many studies do show that skin absorption is relatively minimal. In other words, when you use bleach on your skin to lighten your hair, it won’t be transported immediately into your baby’s system and cause harm. Instead, only a minimal amount will be absorbed, and that amount probably won’t even be enough to make it to the baby’s body in utero. However, there are certain precautions you can take to make sure your baby is extra safe.

Precautions to keep in mind

First, only use a minimal amount of bleach. Bleaching your upper lip is better than bleaching both of your arms, so choose wisely which areas of your body might need it. Next, wear gloves during the process to minimize exposure as much as possible. There’s no reason you should add the risk of soaking it through your skin. Finally, take a cold shower before bleaching, or at least never bleach after a hot one. When your skin is cold, your pores are more restricted and fewer chemicals will be absorbed through them. When you take a hot shower, your pores are wide open and there’s a better chance the bleach will enter your bloodstream.

This is all definitely great news for women who feel self-conscious about their new, dark body hair. However, always check with your doctor before handling any type of dangerous chemicals so that he can first approve the brand and type of bleach that you choose. Though the bleach probably won’t be soaked into the skin at all, certain compounds are more dangerous than others and should be avoided.

Source: Paul Bozzo et al: Safety of Skin Care Products During Pregnancy. Canadian Family Physician Volume 57 Issue 6 pp. 665-667 June 2011

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