One of the most controversial topics in the cosmetic world has to do with mums and cosmetic injectables.
Neuromodulators (also known as neurotoxins) are prized for their ability to prevent wrinkles before they form. What is questionable is whether or not these injections are safe for pregnant women and especially women who are breastfeeding. Costhetics looked long and hard at the subject of breastfeeding and anti-wrinkle injections to get the facts for you.
Botox: Risky Business for Babies
Injectable neurotoxins have been successfully erasing fine lines and wrinkles for 20 years. The neurotoxin used in aesthetics practices is considered an effective way to cause muscle weakness and stop the formation of wrinkles before they begin. Originally targeting forehead wrinkles, the injections have since proven useful for cosmetic challenges including frown lines and crow’s feet.
Neuromodulators have been scrutinised intensively for two decades but are generally considered safe. The addition of pregnancy into the equation, however, changes the outlook significantly. It is currently unknown whether neurotoxins used for treating wrinkles can pass through the placenta to impact the foetus.
Concerns about the toxicity of neuromodulators continue after a baby is born. It is also unknown whether neurotoxins pass from the mother’s system into her breast milk. Substantive research into this critical topic is lacking, although preliminary studies have found neurotoxins used for cosmetic purposes may cause:
- Spontaneous abortion
- Malformation of the foetus
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Problems with bone density and development
Perspectives on Anti-Wrinkle Injections during Breastfeeding
Some doctors feel anti-wrinkle injections do not present a risk if a patient waits until the breastfeeding baby is at least six months old. On the other hand, The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding, “ … up to two years of age or beyond,” says Wikipedia. It should also be noted that the American Academy of Family Physicians states, “Health outcomes for mothers and babies are best when breastfeeding continues for at least two years.” Other doctors greenlight anti-wrinkle injections when a patient agrees to pump and save a day’s worth of breast milk prior to a treatment. There is no solid science to support this point of view.
These two questions remain unanswered:
- Do anti-wrinkle neuromodulators transfer to breast milk?
- If they do, how long does it take for them to metabolise out of breast milk?
Unlike alcohol or other drugs, we know it takes months for tissues to completely rid themselves of the effects of neurotoxins. It’s the reason anti-wrinkle injections are so popular. They last for up to 16 weeks. You would need to pump 3 months’ worth of breast milk (or more) for this to be an effective solution. For this reason, most physicians discourage patients from having anti-wrinkle injections before they have finished breastfeeding.
When Breastfeeding Makes Botox a No, These Solutions Are a Go
If you’re worried that fine lines and wrinkles will take over your face without your cosmetic injectable treatments, you can relax. Topical skin care may not replace injectable treatments, but they are extremely valuable nonetheless. Here are some ingredients that are mum-effective and baby-safe, too:
- Argireline and Matrixyl – When combined, these peptides work together to “ … block the communication between a nerve and a muscle, reducing how much that muscle moves, and therefore, how much you crease or wrinkle,” reports Women’s Health magazine. Look for these powerful ingredients in serums, lotions, and creams.
- Glycolic Acid – Also referred to as alpha-hydroxy acid or AHA, glycolic acid is a gentle exfoliant. It removes the top layer of dead skin cells to promote collagen production, and to plump and smooth skin. Only a minute amount of this acid is included in skincare formulations. As such, it is unlikely it will be absorbed into the bloodstream and/or breast milk. Look for AHA in moisturisers and chemical peels.
- Hyaluronic Acid – HA is a water-loving sponge-like molecule that draws moisture to your skin’s surface. It pulls it from both the atmosphere and deeper layers of the skin itself to improve hydration. Like AHA, HA is safe and gentle enough for sensitive skin. It has been studied in detail and found safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding. HA is a common ingredient in serums, masks, cleansers, and moisturisers.
Help for Pregnant Women with Wrinkles
After significant research, Costhetics could only come to one firm conclusion: there is limited conclusive data on this under-studied topic. As a result, we recommend talking to your doctor to get a clear picture of how neurotoxins may affect you and your pregnancy. If you don’t know who to call, please call Costhetics! We can help you find a qualified injector in your area.
If ever there was a time to be better safe than sorry, this is it.