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Fertility doctor, infertility warrior and mom of 2, Dr. Roohi Jeelani, M.D. of Vios Fertility chats with us about the importance of safe skincare and self-care.
On ingredient safety in skincare and the link to infertility.
One of the first things I looked at when I was trying to get pregnant was what I was putting on and into my body. As many of you know, I suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome, which causes acne and scarring. I'm into makeup and fashion so to have acne and scars was horrible but one of the first things I wanted to look at is what I was using to prevent it, is it making it worse, and is that bad for my fertility?
A lot of these ingredients can change and fluctuate your hormones and can act as toxins, which can damage your eggs and sperm which can decrease fertility.
It's hard to quantify how much is too much in terms of ingredients - I always get a lot of questions from my patients of how much to use. You don't know because the absorption, metabolism and storage is different for everyone so as a fertility doctor and board-certified OB-GYN, I tell my patients to try not to use it at all. It's like alcohol - at what level does it cause fetal alcohol syndrome? We don't know, so we say not to drink at all. We don't know what level these toxins can interrupting your hormonal pathways, prevent ovulation, damage eggs and sperm. If they've got GMOs, parabens, and are toxic, not natural or organic, or have ingredients you can't pronounce, don't do it because it can seep into your skin and can act as an endocrine disruptor, which can cause changes in your egg reserve, egg quantity, egg quality, sperm quality (sometimes we forget that males use these products too). It's really important what's safe for your fertility and pregnancy, and to be careful what you use.
On top No-No ingredients.
You want to look out for and avoid:
Parabens: Used as a preservative in personal care products to prevent overgrowth of bacteria, but they are also endocrine disruptors. So a large amount builts out can cause anovulation.
Phthalates: Studies correlate this chemical to an increased risk of miscarriage, or chromosomal defects in the baby that lead to complications like pre-term delivery.
Acetone: Some people recommend that while you're pregnant to avoid using this, as it can absorb into skin and cause complications.
On her journey to motherhood.
My journey to motherhood was not as traditional or as easy as I would have liked it to be. I thought the minute I wanted a baby that it would happen. Things have not worked out like that. It's been full of ups and downs, some miscarriages, has involved changing my lifestyle, and improving where I could. I finally did achieve my pregnancies and I have 2 beautiful children (a boy and a girl) but that was after a lot of modifications. One of the first things that was easy to modify was what I was putting into my body, including food, skincare, and makeup. Just making sure I was looking for things that are pregnancy and fertility safe.
Self-care looks different for everyone, which means that my self-care routine might not look like your self-care routine, which may not look like your friend's. Self-care is an opportunity or event for you to take care of your needs as a person.