Nursing and Topical Retinol Products

Updated on May 21, 2012
R.F. asks from Knoxville, TN
5 answers

Hello ladies,

Does anyone have any information about the use of topical retinol products (OTC) while nursing? I am getting conflicting info online and am not able to see a dermatologist any time soon.

Thanks in advance.

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answers from San Francisco on

Hi - from what I understand the jury is still out... it seems that there is really not enough evidence either way. As you can imagine, it is not the type of thing that it is easy to run a clinical trial on as one would not want to cause harm to any child.
My memory on the potential affects of retinoids (oral) tells me that there was a concern about the proper bone development.

Overall, I would say that if you can do without, that is best. If you have prescription redinoid you can likely just call your dermatologist & ask... or, maybe you can just call anyway - it is not like they need to see you to answer if the drug could harm your child through your nursing.


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answers from Fresno on

I too used retinol and was told by my dermotologist not to use it while pregnant or nursing. You can call a pharmacist. Once while nursing, my doctor perscribed a medication and the pharmacist said it was not okay to take while nursing and he would call the doctor. The doctor changed the perscription. When in doubt go without.

Over the counter products usually have warnings on the labels also. I loved nursing but remember how careful I
had to be. Good luck to you and enjoy your babies! They grow up so fast.

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answers from Sacramento on

While I was pregnant and breatfeeding, I used the BHA and AHA products from in place of my prescription topicals. I use a lot of her prducts--they're great and affordable.

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answers from San Francisco on

Retinol is systemic and should not be used while nursing. I worked 12 years for a plastic surgeon and we NEVER allowed any of our patients to us retinol if they were pregnant or nursing. As one of the other mothers said, “The jury is still out “however, almost all MD’s will tell you not to use them. I also agree with the Mother who advised the use of over the counter BHA and AHA products.
Best of luck,

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answers from San Francisco on

you were asking about over the counter right? not
doctor prescribed topical retinol correct?
if so then most sites state that the NON medically prescribed topical retinol is considered weak enough that it is metabolized way before it gets to breast milk.
I cited one doctor in this link below.
it is usually oral or prescribed medical high dose topical retinol that is dangerous to pregnant or nursing mothers.
Im not a doctor though, and of course consult yours to be sure, but as a nursing mother myself we are always told to be overly overly cautious with everything we come into contact with (food/drink/acne med/etc)

Next question: Skin Care Products That Are Safe to Use While Pregnant