Congratulations! Pregnancy is an amazing time in life and should be fully enjoyed. However, for many women, this exciting time is over-shadowed by problematic skin.
Many women experience some form of congestion; blackheads, dry, flaky and rough skin, with breakouts and/or milia (little white lumps under the skin). Unsurprisingly, those pesky thousands of hormones pumping through your body are at the root of it. However, it is also due to your skin becoming dehydrated. With so many changes happening to your body in such a short amount of time, you’re often left feeling too unwell to drink enough water and the only thing you want to eat is carbs laden with refined sugar. All of this, plus lack of knowledge about what to use, can lead to the above symptoms and more. Pregnant and Breastfeeding Skin needs some extra consideration.
So, your ask – how do I keep my skin healthy and clear, and also keep my baby safe?
Below is our guide to safely go about improving and maintaining Pregnant and Breastfeeding Skin.
Firstly, there are a few ingredients you need to avoid using when expecting. It is a given to avoid any nasties (pregnant or not), but below are a few other things to steer clear from throughout pregnancy and lactation. You know you need to watch what you eat for your unborn baby’s health; well, what you put on your skin is just as important.
Things To Avoid
Vitamin A or Retinol is an ingredient that speeds up cell division, changes cell function and repairs cell damage. It is the ingredient of choice, when not pregnant, if you wish to change your skin.
Many doctors maintain that topical Vitamin A in pregnancy is okay to use, but because of the lack of research, usually advise against using it anyway. There are oral acne medications which are known to cause birth defects and so, it’s a given that you don’t use these and this explains the hesitancy in the use of topical Vitamin A.
During breastfeeding, it is also advised not to use your Vitamin A serums for the same reason. You can now enjoy your soft cheese and shellfish, but not your Vitamin A serum!
Hydroxy Acids. The most common forms of hydroxy acids found in cosmetic products are beta hydroxy acid (BHA), salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), glycolic acid and lactic acid. Since oral salicylic acid (aspirin) is not safe during pregnancy or lactation, doctors recommend avoiding the use of BHAs excessively.
On the other hand, AHAs have not been studied in relation to pregnancy, but since they too will only be absorbed in small amounts by the skin, it is considered low risk to use in small amounts.
The Sun. Pregnant skin is more sensitive to UV radiation. It will burn easier and you will sustain deep cellular damage, which is ageing, much more quickly than before you became pregnant. You want to finish your pregnancy and feeding phase with skin as young (almost) as before you even thought about babies.
Therefore, applying a zinc-based (physical) minimum SPF 30 sunscreen daily (no matter the weather) is essential! No excuses!! It is best to avoid sunscreens that are sprays, as well as the chemical oxybenzone, as it is connected to developmental problems in unborn children.
Facial Treatments. Lastly, receiving peels or facial treatments, you should follow the same rules as with your home care. Talk to your doctor, explain your situation to your therapist, ask about the products they will use and be mindful of ingredients. However, your therapist should know what is safe for you to use. To put it simply, any skin treatment designed to do more than provide hydration or a gentle exfoliation is generally not suitable for pregnant women.
Now that we have covered some of the “don’t’s” of pregnancy and breastfeeding skin, below are some of the essential tools for creating and maintaining great skin.
Things To Do For Pregnant and Breastfeeding Skin
HYDRATION IS KEY! If your skin is dehydrated, it can result in uneven, textured and break-out prone skin. Remember, your baby receives everything you put into (and on to) your body, so stay hydrated by guzzling as much water as possible! I know that for some, drinking water can be difficult, so try opting for watery foods to assist you in keeping your hydration levels up.
DO wash your face with a gentle cleanser based on enzymes or lactic acid and avoid any harsh grainy scrubs. The scrubs, while making you feel clean, will damage your skin’s surface layers, increase water loss and make you more sun-sensitive. Instead, use an enzyme exfoliator once or twice a week; one that nourishes as well as exfoliates is best.
DO incorporate Vitamin B products into your skincare regime, such as the Aspect Dr Multi B Plus serum. Vitamin B is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women and is great at re-hydrating the skin, reducing redness and breakouts.
DO incorporate some Vitamin C into your skincare regime, such as Aspect Dr Active C serum. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that stabilises free-radicals (unstable molecules that inflame the skin), improving dryness, collagen damage, fine lines and wrinkles.
DO use an emollient moisturiser to further assist in preventing dry, irritated skin.
Staying healthy and having great skin isn’t limited to just what you put on your body, but what you put inside it.
Keep your diet as healthy as possible; full of greens, various fruit and veggies and high protein foods. If you are having problems with your gut or keep getting little colds and being ill, the Miessence Certified Organic Super foods are a wonderful help and safe to use whilst pregnant and breast feeding.
Safe body care products for pregnancy – shampoos, toothpaste, body lotions and creams and more can be found on the Miessence website. It’s well worth a look. Meagan and Phillipa’s favourite is the Breast and Body Balm – i wonder who does the massaging?
In conclusion, it’s important to remember that a lot of skin concerns that appear throughout pregnancy and whilst feeding your bundle of joy are only temporary. At the end of the day, most of us are prepared – if not happy – to suffer a bit to have a healthy and happy baby.
* Remember to always consult with your doctor when choosing products and treatments. *
Still not sure?
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