Welcome to our Skincare Q&A page. Since Belli was founded in 2002, we have received several questions from customers and thought you might have some of the same questions. If the answer to your question is not here, please contact us with your question.
OUR FAVORITE QUESTIONS
Can I use Belli if I’m not pregnant?
Yes! Customers at all life stages and ages love Belli’s effective and luxurious skincare solutions and enjoy knowing the formulations are allergy tested, free of paraben preservatives, gluten, artificial dyes/fragrances and are not tested on animals.
Can I continue using all of the Belli products after I deliver and am nursing?
Yes! Belli’s founders developed the products to be used by nursing moms and reviewed extensive medical literature, including the LACTMED database, to try and avoid ingredients with known harmful effects during breastfeeding.
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What Makes Belli Different?
Belli’s ingredient safety standards. Belli delivers trusted skin care solutions that pamper and protect. In 2002, Belli was formulated with a unique safety screening process to try and avoid known harmful effects so you can expect beautiful skin and enjoy peace of mind during any stage of your life: pregnancy, motherhood and beyond. The ingredients in Belli products were selected based upon an extensive review of published medical studies. Every Belli product is allergy tested, free of artificial dyes or fragrances and paraben preservatives. For pregnancy and motherhood, Belli was formulated with a unique safety screening process to try and avoid ingredients with known links to birth defects or harmful effects while breastfeeding. This process included searching over 16 million medical research articles in over 5000 international journals. After analysis of all of the studies and results, this information contained within the published studies was used to try and exclude ingredients with known links to birth defects or harmful effects while nursing. Learn more.
Why is ingredient safety important during pregnancy and nursing?
Safe skin care ingredients during pregnancy are important because topical absorption happens. Your skin is a barrier to many substances, but some topical ingredients are absorbed into the bloodstream in small amounts. We're reminded of this every time a new medication comes out in patch form. Once an ingredient enters the mother's bloodstream it can easily cross the placenta into baby's circulation because the "placental barrier" is actually more of a widely-spaced filter. It blocks things the size of bacteria, but allows most chemicals to pass easily through*.
While many topical products are thought to have safe ingredients during pregnancy, dozens are actually linked to birth defects or miscarriage in published medical research. Some examples include salicylic acid, glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide, certain sunscreens, and even aloe vera*.
Once an ingredient is in a mother’s bloodstream, an ingredient can also filter into a mother’s breastmilk. The good news is that an ingredient has to pass through more of the body’s filters to end up on breastmilk than it does to cross the placenta into baby’s circulation. As a result, ingredients that can be used during pregnancy can also be used during breastfeeding.
What does ingredient safety screening mean?
Simply stated, a thoughtful review of published medical research to help guard against questionable ingredients during pregnancy and nursing. For decades, medical science has known that small amounts of skin care ingredients are absorbed into the bloodstream. This natural process explains why so many medications are now prescribed as topical creams or patches. The total absorption of a topical ingredient depends on various factors such as surface area covered, duration of exposure, frequency of reapplication, skin thickness, temperature/humidity levels, etc. During pregnancy, most absorbed chemicals will pass directly into fetal circulation whey they can potentially affect the baby’s development*.
The average woman puts over 200 ingredients on her skin each day as part of her cleansing and beauty routine, and it is difficult to know which may be harmful to the fetus or at what dose. At Belli, we believe that pregnancy deserves a higher safety standard, which is why our formulations were developed upon reviewing extensive medical literature and erring on the side of caution.
Does Belli use organic ingredients?
Belli uses many natural ingredients, but the organic label alone does not mean that an ingredient is safe during pregnancy. Even some organic skin care ingredients have links to birth defects in published medical studies, including aloe vera, rosemary, salicylic acid, caffeine, and glycolic acid. Belli’s formulations were developed upon an extensive review of published research studies to try and avoid ingredients, natural or synthetic, with known links to birth defects or harmful effects or miscarriage. Additionally, every Belli product is allergy tested and free of paraben preservatives, gluten, artificial dyes or fragrances. We also do not test on animals.
Is Belli gluten-free?
Yes, all Belli’s ingredients are completely gluten-free.
I’ve read that vitamin A (retinoids) should not be used during pregnancy. However, Belli Stretchmark Minimizing Cream contains retinyl palmitate, which is a vitamin A derivative. Should that product be used only after pregnancy?
Erring on the side of caution, Belli does not use any Vitamin A derivatives (such as retinyl palmitate) in our products intended for use during pregnancy. After you’ve delivered, we think retinyl palmitate is an excellent anti-oxidant and skin cell regulator, and it is featured in our Stretchmark Minimizing Cream that is to be used post-pregnancy.
What is your opinion of the ingredient sodium laureth sulfate during pregnancy?
The FDA, TGA, American Cancer Society, and the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association all agree that sodium laureth sulfate is safe to use cosmetic formulations. The ingredient also passes teratology screening cleanly, which means that is has never been linked to known birth defects or other problems with pregnancy in published medical research studies. Several years ago there was a study done showing that many cosmetic products on the market which used petroleum derived ingredients (sodium laureth sulfate, PEG compounds, etc.) were found to contain trace amounts of 1,4-dioxane, a byproduct of the ethoxylation process. . Belli has certain purity guidelines for all our suppliers of raw materials. Ethoxylated ingredients are vacuum stripped and then tested afterwards to ensure they are free of contaminants.
If someone who is lactose intolerant would have a reaction to your facial wash with lactic acid? (I'm allergic to dairy)?
Great question. Lactose is a milk sugar and is very different than lactic acid, which your body makes naturally each time you exercise. Belli's lactic acid comes from non-dairy sources such as cornstarch and potatoes. You should be able to use this ingredient without any problems.
I've been looking into the safety of herbs during my pregnancy, and I found some aromatherapy sites that warn against Gotu Kola. Should I be concerned?
Gotu Kola is a botanical ingredient from the plant Centella Asiatica and has been widely used for centuries. Review of the published medical literature shows no evidence of harm related to this ingredient during pregnancy. Some books do caution against it-- a warning we've traced back to a single mention in a collection of unproven Ayurvedic folklore (Indian Materia Medica, 1950, A.K. Nakdarni). After pointing out the error, most authors have decided to remove this reference from future editions.
I have been using a rosemary mint shampoo & conditioner for years now. I just found out that rosemary oil can be harmful. These hair care products have rosemary extract in them. Is that also something I should avoid?
As a result of the unique safety screening process, it was found through research that rosemary oil does have a link to birth defects in a published medical research study*. It was an animal study with a different dose and route of absorption, so it's hard to say what that means to the topical risk for humans. Still, that was enough for the product to be red-flagged and excluded from the formulations. When making your decision, you should also keep in mind that leave-in conditioners pose a higher risk of exposure than shampoos and rinse-out conditioners, since they remain in contact with the scalp for a longer period of time.
Acne and Blemishes
What does Belli offer for blemishes, breakouts, and acne?
You may have heard that you want to avoid certain common acne-fighting ingredients during pregnancy including salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and benzoyl peroxide. Belli offers blemish busting and acne-fighting products with bump-friendly alternative ingredients, to help you manage breakouts and put your best face forward.
For those who battle blemishes daily or monthly, Belli offers Anti-Blemish Facial Wash with lactic acid to effectively cleanse and gently exfoliate acne prone skin. This pure, gentle facial wash leaves skin clear and refined without over-drying. This ingredient is already naturally present in your bloodstream. It works by cleaning the area of dead skin cells and oil (sebum), which tend to clog the facial pores.
Up to 50% of women experience acne during pregnancy.* It can tempting to reach for many zit zapping products used pre-pregnancy, but many of those products contain ingredients that should be avoided with baby on board. Belli offers sound selections to help keep your blemishes under control, with peace of mind. After cleansing, you can follow with Belli Acne Control Spot Treatment, a leave-on acne medication. It reduces the severity of acne blemishes. Its combination of colloidal sulfur, tea tree oil and chamomile penetrates the pores to control acne blemishes and helps keep skin clear of new breakouts.
Can I use Anti-Blemish Facial Wash on my back and upper arms?
Yes. Anti-Blemish Facial Wash can be used on affected areas such as the face and/or body.
How can I avoid stretch marks?
Developing stretch marks during pregnancy is a common concern of expecting moms. During the second and third trimesters your uterus will grow rapidly, stretching the skin over the abdomen and tearing the connective tissues in the dermis. The torn tissue heals with irregular scars known as stretch marks (striae gravidarum). Growth of fat deposits in the breasts, hips, thighs, and buttocks can cause stretch marks in these areas as well.
Stretch marks during pregnancy affect up to 90% of all women.* They typically occur more often in first pregnancies, the fair-skinned, and the overweight. There is definitely a genetic component so you may not be able to avoid them, but there are things you can do to help minimize your risk.
Research shows that avoiding excessive weight gain and staying well-hydrated will decrease your risk of stretch marks and pregnancy striae gravidarum. Generations of mothers have used cocoa butter to try and prevent stretch marks. While it is a good moisturizer, there is no research showing a benefit from this ingredient. There is published research on stretch mark prevention that showed a combination of several ingredients (including Gotu Kola and Vitamin E) decreased the risk of getting stretchmarks by about 39%, and decreased the severity of any stretchmarks that did form.**
Gotu Kola and Vitamin E are in Belli Elasticity Belly Oil, along with the relaxing aromatherapy of lavender.
(Note: Elasticity Belly Oil is a cosmetic product designed to help maintain the appearance of healthy-looking skin. It is not intended to prevent or treat any disease or medical condition, or alter the structure or function of the skin.)
**Mallol J, Costa D, Belda M, Sola M. Prophylaxis of striae gravidarum with a topical formulation-- a double blind study. International Journal of Cosmetic Science. 1991, 13(51-57).
I am currently pregnant and have already begun to get stretch marks. Can I use Stretchmark Minimizing Cream now to address my new stretch marks?
Elasticity Belly Oil is intended to be used during pregnancy to help maintain the appearance of smooth, healthy-looking skin. Stretchmark Minimizing Cream is intended to reduce the appearance of stretch marks post-pregnancy.
What Stretch Marks Cream Is Safest And Most Effective?
Stretchmarks may fade slightly over time, but it doesn't happen quickly enough for many women and thus many look for a stretch marks cream to apply to their affected areas. The search for a "miracle stretch marks cream" has led to some irresponsible marketing claims by several companies.
The truth is that no cream has ever been shown in research to make stretch marks disappear completely. There are, however, several topical ingredients that may be helpful in reducing the appearance of stretch marks, according to clinical studies.
When used twice daily for one month, the botanical ingredient complex Darutoside was scientifically reported to visibly decrease the appearance of a stretchmark's length and irregular surface area by up to 52%*. The ingredient complex Regestril was scientifically reported to visibly decrease the appearance of a stretchmark's depth by 72%*.
Belli Stretchmark Minimizing Cream features scientifically researched ingredients Darutoside and Regestril, along with avocado oil, ginseng, and shea butter for softer, smoother-looking skin.
Learn more about the scientifically researched ingredients.
* Research studies conducted by Phybiotex Labs, Sederma Group, France, 1997. Data on file.
Is the Belli facial sunscreen SPF 25 for using after you already have developed the dark spots on your face? Or is this more a preventative cream?
Belli Pure Radiance Facial Sunscreen SPF 25 does not address existing dark spots. It is a sunscreen and can protect skin against sun exposure. Some spots may fade away naturally in most women after delivery. If it persists more than a few months, you may want to see your dermatologist.
Does your sunscreen come in a higher SPF?
Currently, Belli only offers one sunscreen. It is important to follow the directions and remember that SPF with a high-number does not necessarily allow additional time outdoors without proper reapplication.*
With the question of the long term safety and effects of nanoparticles, I would like to know if the titanium dioxide and the zinc oxide in the Pure Radiance sunscreen has micronized TiO2 and ZiO2?
Nanoparticles are an interesting new technology in skin care, but their long term safety has not been studied very well yet. Because we always try to err on the side of caution, Belli has decided to avoid the "invisible" nonparticle sunscreen ingredients. Instead, our Pure Radiance Facial Sunscreen uses traditional Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide in an advanced lightweight oil-free formula, which is tinted lightly to blend in with most skin tones.
How do I get rid of dark puffy circles under eyes?
Dark circles can happen anytime during your life but are very common after childbirth, when you are waking every few hours to feed or care for your new baby. Allergies and illnesses can cause dark circles too. The thin skin underneath your eyes has many small veins and capillaries. When you are tired or dehydrated, these blood vessels can dilate and become engorged with blood, resulting in dark circles and a swollen, puffy appearance under the eyes. Some extra melanin pigment may also be released.
The best way to try and prevent dark circles is to drink plenty of water and get plenty of sleep (easier said than done, especially for new moms). Topical Vitamin K (phytonadione) has been shown in several published research articles to help improve the appearance of dark under-eye circles*. Numerous clinical studies also support the ability of Vitamin B3 (also known as Vitamin PP), to reduce the appearance of dark circles.**
Belli Eye Brightening Cream features both Vitamin K and Vitamin B3, also known as Vitamin PP, (derived from the Saccharomyces Cereviseae yeast) to keep eyes looking fresh and well-rested. It also contains rice protein, soy protein, and ginseng root extract to reduce the appearance of fine lines.
*Elson ML, Nacht S. Treatment of periorbital hyperpigmentation with topical vitamin K/vitamin A. Cosm Dermatol. 1999;12:32-4,
Why is my skin so dry and itchy?
Your skin is stretching and it may be hard to keep your skin as hydrated as it needs to be to maintain comfort and to help avoid stretch marks. Drinking lots of water, avoiding harsh products that can strip the skin of its natural oils, and applying a good moisturizer can help with the dryness.
Belli offers a complete body care collection to address dry skin and provide a spa-like experience.
Belli Pure & Pampered Body Wash with essential oil of lavender gently cleans without stripping your skin of its natural oils.
Belli Fresh Start Pre-Treatment Scrub with essential oil of peppermint removes dry, dead skin cells and reveals healthy skin.
Belli Elasticity Belly Oil with essential oil of lavender helps provide stretch mark protection and intense moisture for dry skin.
Belli All Day Moisture Body Lotion with essential oil of lemon hydrates, soothes, and comforts dry skin.