Botox® and Pregnancy: A Guide to Pre- and Postnatal Skin Rejuvenation

Pregnancy can give your skin a natural glow, but if you’ve become used to softening facial lines and wrinkles with Botox® injections, you may wonder if it’s safe to have refresher treatments while you’re pregnant or after your baby is born while you’re breastfeeding. Here’s a quick summary of current medical thinking on this topic.

Are Botox® Treatments Safe During Pregnancy?

While no clinical studies have been done to provide a definite answer, most doctors advise women not to have cosmetic Botox® treatments during pregnancy.

Here’s what’s known about Botox®, and the reasons for this cautious approach:

  • Botox® is a powerful toxin. In cosmetic applications, it works by blocking signals from the nerves to particular facial muscles, muting their ability to contract.
  • While the risk is small, the toxin from Botox® injections can spread beyond the treatment area and affect other parts of the body, inhibiting muscle movement. The FDA requires that Botox® be packaged with a warning explaining this risk.
  • While animal studies have found no evidence of risk to a developing fetus from Botox® injections, similar studies have not been done with humans.

In short, if there is any risk to your developing baby from Botox® injections, it’s probably miniscule. But there’s little sense in adding any risk at such an important stage in a new life.

Is Botox® Safe While Breastfeeding?

For the same reasons most doctors advise against having cosmetic Botox® treatments during pregnancy, they suggest you wait until after you’ve finished breastfeeding to resume (or start) the treatments. Those reasons, again, are the potency of the botulinum toxin and the small risk that it can spread beyond the treatment area. Were the toxin to spread beyond the muscles on your face, there’s a chance that some of it could end up in your breastmilk. The risk is small, but scientists can’t say with certainty that it’s zero.

If you have questions about these risks, you should discuss them with your doctor or your child’s doctor. The good news — beyond the really good news of your new baby — is that there are many other ways to keep your skin looking beautiful as an expectant and new mother.

Safe Ways to Keep Your Skin Looking Young

Botox® isn’t the only cosmetic treatment to avoid while pregnant. It’s best to wait on some of the stronger cosmetic treatments — both for the sake of your new baby and because your skin is likely to be especially sensitive at this time. Once your baby is born, more options are considered safe, even while you’re breastfeeding.

  • Mild chemical peels and other gentle forms of professional skin care are generally considered safe during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. These include facial peels using glycolic or lactic acid, but not deep peels using salicylic acid. Medical-grade skin care products can also help keep your skin looking fresh and safely control pregnancy-related acne.
  • Broadband light (BBL) skin rejuvenation can tighten skin and reduce skin discoloration for a younger, fresher look. This treatment isn’t recommended during pregnancy but is considered safe while breastfeeding.

Healthy lifestyle habits can also keep your skin looking young while supporting your health and the health of your baby:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat a healthy mix of foods. Vegetables, fruit, nuts, and lean proteins are all good for your skin, your health, and your developing baby.
  • Be physically active.
  • Protect your skin from the sun.
  • Get plenty of sleep. This can be more difficult after your baby is born, but is possible with a combination of naps, help, and shared responsibilities for night-time feedings.

Learn More About Professional Skin Care in Columbus

Dr. Christopher Zochowski is a board-certified plastic surgeon with special expertise in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. He is also a leading expert on non-surgical cosmetic treatments in Columbus. He and his team at Zochowski Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery provide a full range of options to keep you looking your best at every stage of life. Call us at (614) 490-7500 or contact us today to schedule a consultation.