Can I Use Hyaluronic Acid While Pregnant or Breastfeeding?
Hyaluronic acid is the ingredient of the hour, which all the influencers are currently talking about and which has many benefits. If you are pregnant, nursing or planning to become pregnant, there are many ingredients you need to be aware of, for example retinol, certain essential oils, formaldehyde releasers, high concentrations of salicylic acid... It is normal to wonder if you should avoid hyaluronic acid pregnant. We therefore interviewed doctor of pharmacy Justine Riou and Rachelle Séguin, a graduate in chemistry and a master in pharmaceutical sciences, to answer this question.
First of all, what is hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid, listed on your ingredient list in the form of sodium hyaluronate, is an ingredient that is found naturally in your body and 50% of which is found in your skin(1)! Hyaluronic acid is a molecule that loves water! In fact, it can capture 1000x its weight in water, which allows us to preserve our body's hydration over long periods of time. It turns to gel in the presence of water. This is what makes it one of the most popular ingredients in the cosmetics industry. “Hyaluronic acid is particularly present in our joints. It allows our body to preserve its flexibility and hydration, both inside and outside. says Rachelle Séguin, M.sc. “It is one of the important molecules that gives volume to the skin as well as a plump appearance”.
From the age of 25, the natural production of hyaluronic acid slows down, which makes the skin drier and less supple. Using products containing hyaluronic acid can help restore the skin's moisture level. For example, these personalized products contain a base of hyaluronic acid. In addition, hyaluronic acid is known for its healing properties. Indeed, it regulates several aspects of tissue repair, including the activation of inflammatory cells to improve the immune response.
The exogenous hyaluronic acid found in the products is an ally in hydrating and healing the skin, but its degradation is rapid. It is all the more important to find hyaluronic acid production boosters in a product, such as the polysaccharide Hy, which maintains the production of hyaluronic acid by fibroblasts.
Is it safe to apply hyaluronic acid while pregnant?
Pharmacy Dr. Justine Riou confirms that it is safe to apply hyaluronic acid during pregnancy: “It is an excellent ingredient for the skin during pregnancy, but also for people in general. Applied topically, hyaluronic acid temporarily improves skin hydration without risk to the fetus, regardless of the dose. Another benefit of hyaluronic acid, as it occurs naturally in the skin, it is safe to use on all skin types, even the most sensitive.
Also, the level of natural hyaluronic acid in your body gradually increases during pregnancy. And there are even studies that show it may play a role in “ripening” your cervix for childbirth (2)!
Its benefits during pregnancy
Now that we've confirmed the safety of hyaluronic acid during pregnancy, let's take a look at its multiple skin benefits."Hyaluronic acid is soothing to the skin and helps to strengthen the skin barrier. It is ideal during pregnancy, as the skin can sometimes be drier or it can be itchy." explains Rachelle Séguin, M.Sc. It also allows, by its moisturizing action, to plump up fine lines and wrinkles.
However, the ideal is to opt for products that have different sizes of hyaluronic acid (link to the serum). Indeed, high molecular weight hyaluronic acid is known to better preserve hydration and prevent angiogenesis, while low molecular weight promotes better activation of immune cells and deeper action (1).
To optimize the effectiveness of hyaluronic acid, it is best to apply the products to damp skin, for example using thermal water (link to aquifer water). Applying a spray of the product will facilitate its activation on the skin.“I also recommend putting on an emollient-rich moisturizer after applying a hyaluronic acid serum, to prevent evaporation and increase its effectiveness" suggests Rachelle Séguin.
Effectiveness on stretch marks
Hyaluronic acid plays an important role in wound healing. It does this by helping to control inflammation, promoting cell proliferation and adjusting the pH of wounds. Body creams containing hyaluronic acid are therefore recommended to be applied daily to prevent and correct stretch marks. The answer to the question can we use hyaluronic acid while pregnant is not only yes, but it has many virtues.
Conclusion on hyaluronic acid
As mentioned, the exogenous hyaluronic acid found in the products has a temporary effect on the skin. It is recommended to apply treatments that will boost the natural production of hyaluronic acid to have even more results in the long term. The natural polysaccharide Hy is in particular a high performance ingredient to allow the skin to enhance its production of hyaluronic acid and thus maintain a smoother appearance.
(1) Papakonstantinou E, Roth M, Karakiulakis G. Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012;4(3):253-258. doi:10.4161/derm.2192(2)Kavanagh J, Kelly AJ, Thomas J. Hyaluronidase for cervical priming and induction of labour. Cochrane Database System Rev. 2001;
(2):CD003097. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD003097. Update in: Cochrane Database System Rev. 2006;(2):CD003097. PMID: 11406074.