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Retinoid beauty creams and breastfeeding

With the launch of a new beauty cream containing retinol advertised as reducing wrinkles, the questions about beauty products similar to it have increased. Or maybe we all just need something to cheer us up during Lockdown.

There is no research on the use of topical retinols and the best information I have sourced is “Because it is poorly absorbed after topical application, it is considered a low risk to the nursing infant” (Lactmed accessed June 2020 studies referenced below.)

Hale (Medications and Mother’s Milk accessed June 2020 states “Tretinoin is a retinoid derivative similar to Vitamin A. It is primarily used topically for acne and wrinkling and sometimes psoriasis. Used topically, tretinoin stimulates epithelial turnover and reduces cell cohesiveness.[1] Blood concentrations measured 2-48 hours following application are essentially zero.

I have been unable to access the full papers and so would recommend caution

They

  • Leachman SA, Reed BR. The use of dermatologic drugs in pregnancy and lactation. Dermatol Clin. 2006;24:167-97. [PubMed]
  • Zip C. Common sense dermatological drug suggestions for women who are breast-feeding. Skin Therapy Lett. 2002;7:5-7. [PubMed]
  • Butler DC, Heller MM, Murase JE. Safety of dermatologic medications in pregnancy and lactation: Part II Lactation. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014;70:417.e1-417.e10. [PubMed].
  • Zbinden G. Investigation on the toxicity of tretinoin administered systemically to animals. Acta Derm Verereol Suppl(Stockh) 1975; 74:36-40.
  • Lucek RW, Colburn WA. Clinical pharmacokinetics of the retinoids. Clin Pharmacokinet 1985; 10(1):38-62