Hormone Disruptors in Skincare and Beauty: Here’s How to Spot Them

Hormone Disruptors in Skincare and Beauty: Here’s How to Spot Them

Pregnancy is one of the hardest experiences in life. Second in line (because let’s face it… nothing is harder than pregnancy), may be reading the ingredient list on skincare and beauty labels and knowing what every 18 letter word means. And with all the recommendations and research suggesting pregnant people, and everyone for that matter, should steer clear of hormone disruptors as best as possible, it can cause of lot of anxiety, stress, and consumer fatigue.

Well, you’ve come to the right place. Sorette has compiled a list of words and phrases to either avoid or gravitate toward in an effort to empower your pregnancy and motherhood journey. 

But First… Why Do We Deserve Safer Products Without Hormone Disruptors?

While many skincare products can be used during pregnancy, some ingredients are better than others for supporting your and your baby’s health and development. Understanding how to read skincare and beauty product labels and identifying which ingredients to avoid is incredibly helpful and empowering for an effective skincare routine that you still love. In this guide, we'll walk you through the process of deciphering ingredient labels and highlight key ingredients to steer clear of during pregnancy.

Hormone disruptors, or endocrine disruptors, are chemicals that can interfere with the body's endocrine system, potentially affecting hormone production, regulation, and function and some may pose risks during pregnancy. 

How to Read Skincare & Beauty Product Labels Like a Boss: Know the Hormone Disruptor Lingo

It’s important to address that this is not a list to instill fear into you or to make you feel guilty when using them. This list is for you to utilize when crafting the pregnancy and motherhood lifestyle that works for you and your family. Give yourself grace when juggling all the things that motherhood brings – new responsibilities, new priorities, new worries, new love, new everything – and remember, you’re doing the best you can.

When it comes to hormone disruptors in skincare and beauty products, among some other ingredients that aren’t the safest options, we tend to think of parabens, phthalates, and certain synthetic fragrances. These chemicals have been linked to reproductive issues and developmental abnormalities.

Here is a quick-hit list of some of the biggest offenders…


Parabens are preservatives commonly used in skincare and cosmetic products to prevent bacterial growth. Look for ingredients such as "methylparaben," "propylparaben," "butylparaben," and "ethylparaben" on the label and opt for paraben-free alternatives.


Phthalates are often used as plasticizers in skincare products and may be listed as "phthalate," "DEP," "DBP," "DEHP," or "fragrance" on ingredient labels. Choose phthalate-free products, especially those labeled as "fragrance-free" to reduce exposure.

Synthetic Fragrance

Synthetic fragrances may contain a cocktail of undisclosed chemicals, including phthalates and other hormone disruptors. Look for products labeled as "fragrance-free" or scented with natural essential oils.

Other Skincare & Beauty Ingredients to Avoid During Pregnancy

While we’re talking about hormone disruptors, it’s important to take in the full picture of every label. Here are a few more key terms to be on the lookout for when building your routine:

Retinoids (Retinol, Retin-A, Retinyl Palmitate)

High doses of vitamin A products, such as retinoids, may increase the risk of birth defects. Opt for products labeled as "retinoid-free" or switch to pregnancy-safe alternatives like vitamin C or glycolic acid for exfoliation.


Hydroquinone is a skin-lightening agent that should be avoided during pregnancy due to potential risks to fetal development. Instead, opt for natural skin brighteners like vitamin C or licorice extract.

Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives

These preservatives are commonly found in skincare and beauty products and may be carcinogenic. Not only are these not recommended during pregnancy, but be mindful of their inclusion in some home and baby products as well.

Chemical Sunscreens

Certain chemical sunscreen ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate may potentially “produce long-lasting alterations to mammary gland morphology and function,” according to a 2018 study. Time to break out the mineral sunscreen for a safer experience.

Consider Using Sorette As Your Trusted Shopping Sister

Here at Sorette, we’ve lived the endless googling, researching, and reading of labels and recommendations. That’s why we do what we do – try to make this shopping for your life easier, especially when you’re pregnant and in motherhood, so that you can be more present, happy, and healthy. By avoiding skincare and beauty products containing hormone disruptors and other hazardous ingredients, you can reduce potential risks to both you and your baby during pregnancy. 

Our final pointer here is to consider cleaner options and shop brands with Sorette’s Seal of Approval.  And you can be sure, if it’s on Sorette, it's a safer product option for pregnancy. We comb through the hundreds of products, putting their labels through our No Go List™. We hope this gives you peace of mind and a more enjoyable shopping experience.

Don't hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider or a skincare professional for personalized recommendations and guidance on choosing skincare products during pregnancy. Your well-being and the health of your baby are always the top priority.


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Disclaimer: As pregnancy affects everyone differently, you should check in with your doctor on your individual needs before beginning the use of any products if pregnant, nursing, or planning to become pregnant.