Hair-removal creams, also called depilatories, are applied directly onto the skin. As with any product you consume or apply to your skin during pregnancy, evaluate the product’s safety to determine if you or your unborn baby can be harmed through its use. Hair-removal creams are not recommended during pregnancy due to lack of evidence, and there are some precautions to take if you decide to use them during pregnancy anyway.
During pregnancy, an increase in hormones called androgens can result in increased hair growth. You may also notice hair growth in areas where you did not have hair before, such as your chin or upper lip. This hair might be thick, dark and coarse.
How Depilatories Work
According to Kids Health, hair-removal creams are applied to your skin where they work with your hair’s protein structure to dissolve it. After a set amount of time, the cream and hair can be wiped away. The active ingredients in hair-removal creams are typically barium sulfide powder and calcium thioglycate. The results achieved from using hair-removal creams can last up to two weeks.
The American Pregnancy Association states that there is no evidence to determine if the active ingredients used in hair-removal creams are safe to use during pregnancy. However, there is also no evidence to determine if the ingredients are unsafe. According to Babycenter, your skin may absorb hair-removal cream and pass the ingredients into your bloodstream.
When using hair-removal creams, your skin may become irritated or you may have an allergic reaction. If you are going to use depilatories, test the cream on a small patch of your skin first to ensure your skin can tolerate the product. Do not keep the hair-removal cream on your skin any longer than necessary. The March of Dimes also states that if you must use hair-removal cream during pregnancy, do so in a well-ventilated area because of the cream’s strong odor.
For hair growth during pregnancy, it may be best to tweeze, wax or shave unwanted hair, according to the March of Dimes. More permanent hair-removal methods, such as electrolysis or laser hair removal, may be safe during pregnancy. Ask your doctor which method is best for you. Or wait for your hair to return to its normal growth, which happens about six months after having the baby.