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Personal grooming while breastfeeding: What are the effects of hair coloring and perms, tanning beds and nipple piercing?

According to the BREASTFEEDING ANSWER BOOK, published by La Leche League International, no evidence exists that the nursing mother's use of hair-care products, such as hair dyes and permanents, has any effect on her breastfeeding baby. When a mother uses hair-care products, some of the chemicals will be absorbed through her skin. If her scalp is healthy and intact, less will be absorbed than if the skin on her scalp is scratched or abraded.

The BREASTFEEDING ANSWER BOOK, 3rd revised edition, states on page 449, "No evidence exists that the nursing mother's use of tanning beds has any effect on her breastfed baby."

It is important to limit exposure so that burning is avoided. Some mothers have reported getting burnt nipples and breasts when using tanning beds. This is extremely painful so be sure to cover your nipples and breasts and use caution. If any vitamins or medications are suggested to enhance the tanning, be sure to check with your health care provider before taking them

There is no evidence that nipple piercing has any effect on breastfeeding. For more information, consult the following article:

Nipple Piercing: Is It Compatible with Breastfeeding? LEAVEN, June-July 1999, pp. 64-65.

More information on personal choices and breastfeeding can be found on our resource page about lifestyle choices.

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