When it comes to fertility, we know that age matters. But that doesn’t mean that some of us won’t try our best to reverse the signs of aging with hair dye and Botox. Whether you’re trying to conceive at home or in the thick of fertility treatments, you may be wondering what’s safe – and what’s not – when it comes to beauty treatments, and it’s a valid concern. 

So, what does the research say about Botox, hair dye, and other self-care indulgences when you’re trying to get pregnant? Let’s find out. 

Is Botox safe when trying to conceive?

Botox is a popular cosmetic treatment and is a brand name for botulinum toxin type A, a neurotoxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. When injected into the skin, it blocks the nerve signals that control muscle movement. This causes the muscles to relax, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Botox is most commonly used to treat wrinkles on the forehead, around the eyes, and between the eyebrows.

Some women also use Botox on other parts of the body to treat conditions such as chronic migraines, excessive sweating, and urinary incontinence. 

What’s the deal with Botox and fertility?

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) states that while Botox is not contraindicated during pregnancy, there is no scientific evidence to support its safety. The ASPS recommends that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid Botox injections due to the limited data currently available.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies Botox as a pregnancy Category C medication. This means, once again, that there is not enough data to determine whether it is safe for use during pregnancy. However, because it is a local injection and not a systemic medication (active throughout the body), the FDA believes the risk to the unborn baby is likely to be low.

Because the effects of Botox on the reproductive system are unknown, unfortunately, Botox is not recommended for women who are trying to conceive, as the potential risks outweigh the benefits. So, it’s best to avoid Botox until you are on a break from fertility treatments or after you have given birth. 

What about hair dye while trying to get pregnant?

If you’re panicking about giving up Botox for a while, you’re probably worried about what other cosmetic treatments you should avoid during the preconception period. Hair dye, specifically, uses chemicals to penetrate the hair shaft and change the hair color, making it a natural concern that these chemicals may get through our skin and into our bloodstream

Thankfully, the safety of hair dye during pregnancy has been studied extensively, and the overwhelming majority of studies have found that hair dye is harmless to the baby. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states that the small amount of chemicals absorbed through the scalp from hair dye are not likely to harm a developing fetus. The FDA also states that hair dyes are safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding,

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If you want to be extra careful and take absolutely no risks, then your best bet is to take some time off from hair treatments during your first trimester of pregnancy, when the majority of the baby’s critical organs and systems are developed. 

While there are no hair dyes that are specifically labeled or marketed as "safe for pregnant women,” the majority of hair dyes on the market contain similar ingredients, and you can always choose to go with ones that contain fewer chemicals and artificial ingredients to err on the side of caution.

So, the moral of the story is, not all cosmetic procedures are created equally. With Botox, there is unfortunately not a lot of evidence to support its safety when trying to conceive or pregnant. If you’re using it for medical reasons (such as to treat migraines), it’s best to discuss your unique situation with your healthcare provider. If it’s for cosmetic reasons, it really is your own personal decision, but the evidence is limited as to how safe it is during the preconception period. The good news, however, is that hair dye is safe to use while trying to conceive, and there are plenty of other ways to practice “self-care’ during this time – from yoga to meditation to journaling. And when you feel good, you radiate from the inside out!

​​Michelle Meyer is a freelance medical writer. She is busy completing an MSc in Physiology and Pharmacology and has been in the health and wellness industry for nearly two decades. Her interests include women’s health, mood disorders, and oncology.