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Pregnancies offer a host of worries for expectant mothers. For nine months, the developing fetus is subject to everything that absorbs into its mother’s body. Her diet, environment and lifestyle all affect every stage of natal development; common knowledge dictates that what she eats, drinks and is exposed to all contribute to the health of her child. The same can be said of what she puts onto her skin.
The skin is the body’s largest organ and first line of defense against disease and the environment. Alhough it has developed defenses against external insults—such as melanin in response to UV radiation—the skin is permeable and as such, it absorbs chemicals, vitamins and minerals, among other materials. In fact, pharmaceutical companies have leveraged this exposure route, devising patches to deliver nicotine and birth control into the consumer’s bloodstream.
Formulators must be careful to consider this route of exposure as they design personal care products, especially those for expectant mothers. This task becomes challenging as ingredients are called into question either from real safety concerns, or being blacklisted by interest groups. In either case, they are undesireable in products and on product labels.
A Conservative Approach
Taking a conservative approach to formulating for expectant mothers, Jason Rubin, MD, founding physician and medical director, and Annette Rubin, founder and president, both of Belli specialty skin care solutions, began formulating for expectant mothers with a unique strategy—by incorporating a teratology screening process.
“Teratology is the study of ingredients that are toxic to the unborn baby,” explained A. Rubin, who added that while companies tend to incorporate toxicology testing during the product development process, Belli is unique in its use of teratology.