When you’re breastfeeding, you may not need to use certain products anymore. For example, if you normally apply the best essential oil for PMS on a regular basis, you probably won’t need to when you’re breastfeeding. This is because most women’s menstrual cycles stop when they fully breastfeed (including at night). However, there are other products you may want to continue using to help your skin while you breastfeed, such as the best acne oil treatment and topical retinol. But, is retinol safe to use while breastfeeding? Here’s what you should know.

What Is Retinol? 

Retinol (also known as vitamin A), is a vitamin that naturally occurs in certain foods. Animal products such as beef and lamb liver, salmon, cod liver oil and bluefin tuna are rich in retinol. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it absorbs more readily into the bloodstream when it is consumed with dietary fat. Fortunately, most animal sources of vitamin A already contain fat.

The human body can also create vitamin A from carotenoids in certain vegetables and fruits. However, many people (just under half of the population) have a genetic mutation that prevents their bodies from converting carotenoids into vitamin A. Genetic tests can reveal whether or not your body is able to convert carotenoids (also known as provitamin A) to a form of vitamin A that your body can use.

Retinol does many good things for the body. It helps reduce fine lines by stimulating collagen production. It also helps improve blood flow and skin color. Beyond skin improvement benefits, vitamin A is good for vision and boosts the immune system. The human body cannot manufacture vitamin A on its own, which means you need to get it from other sources. In addition to dietary sources, topical sources of retinol can be applied directly to the skin to nourish it.

Can Retinol Be Harmful to Breastfeeding Babies?

There are mixed opinions about whether or not it’s harmful to use topical retinol products while breastfeeding. However, most doctors recommend that you avoid it. Retinol has been linked to certain birth defects and may also be unhealthy for your baby to consume through your milk. Contrary to popular belief, the things you put onto your skin can get absorbed into your body and could end up in your breastmilk. Although retinol is a powerful ingredient for clearing and nourishing your skin, there are other skin-clearing options that may be safer for breastfeeding mothers. They include:

  • Choosing gentle, non-comedogenic cleansing products
  • Only cleansing the face as needed (not more than twice per day)
  • Cutting back on sugar intake
  • Consuming more vegetables and fruits
  • Minimizing stress levels

Learning how to prevent acne in a safe way is essential for breastfeeding mothers. Most things you take internally and topically can potentially make their way into the milk your baby drinks. Take the time to research everything you consume and all products you use to make sure they are don’t contain ingredients that could potentially harm your little one. When it comes to the health of your baby, it is always better to err on the side of caution.