Trying to get pregnant? Why your cosmetics could be affecting conception

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When it comes to choosing makeup products, we rely on brand names more than the ingredient list. In fact, most of us aren’t aware that cosmetics such as nail polish, anti-ageing creams and antibacterial soaps are full of chemicals.

Previous studies have shown that they can cause skin irritation, neurological problems, and even infections. But a new study shows that chemicals in cosmetics can also have an adverse effect on female fertility.

As a result, experts are recommending that women trying to conceive check the ingredients in their makeup.

There are certain chemicals present in makeup products and they are added during the production process. These ingredients could aid in adding colour and also maintain the composition of the makeup.

However, the problem with these chemicals is that many are toxic and they can further suppress your ability to conceive by interfering with the endocrine system.

When the endocrine-disrupting chemicals are introduced into the body, they can interfere with the hormones contributing to normal body functions.

Cancers, autoimmune diseases and even infertility are linked to endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

Therefore, discontinuing the use of beauty products that contain such ingredients or products can improve the chances of fertility.

Looking at the side effects, there are some cosmetic companies that are choosing not to use toxins that lead to infertility and other health problems.

However, there are some that are refusing to change, citing that the use of the chemicals is well within “safe limits” as per the US Food and Drug Administration.

However, there are no such “safe levels” of endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Once they are in your system, it may be possible to reduce the levels, but getting rid of them from the body is next to impossible.

Here are the main endocrine disrupters found in make-up:


They are added to keep the makeup free from bacteria and mould. The most common are propylparaben, methylparaben, butylparaben and ethylparaben.

ALSO READ: Pregnancy-safe makeup: Why pregnant women should avoid makeup with parabens


This chemical is added to stop the product from dissolving in the heat. Common derivatives include sulisobenzone, oxybenzone, sulisobenzone sodium and anything labelled with “BP” and a number after it.


Also known as BPA, they have been banned in the formulation of makeup. However, bisphenols are still found in makeup packaging.


Phthalates are added to makeup to keep the colour vibrant. The ingredients to look out for on your makeup labels include DEP, DBP, fragrance and DEHP.

Take note that just because the ingredient is natural, it does not mean it is safe; and conversely, just because an ingredient is synthetic or derived from chemicals, it is not unsafe.

If you are planning to buy clean makeup, start slowly. Select items that are used most often and find alternatives for those.

ALSO READ: Best pregnancy-safe face moisturisers in Singapore

It is important that you choose a brand whose values are aligned with yours. For instance, are they vegan, cruelty-free, or made with natural ingredients and so on. This way, you can have a go-to source to use as a starting point when you are looking for a new product.

If you’re opting for a new product, you can make sure it is safe by looking up and researching the ingredients on the label. However, if you are concerned that the price point for clean make-up is higher, it is because natural products are often not processed or mass-produced.

This article was first published in theAsianparent.

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