Read the theory below or jump straight to the recommended product regimes based on skin type (click here).
Congratulations on your pregnancy! It’s going to be an exciting adventure from here on and you should enjoy every minute of it. However, for some women this happy time is marred by skin changes they would rather do without. Interestingly, it is often those who usually have problem free skin who suffer the most and this is usually in the first trimester and is made up of dry, often flakey, rough skin and breakouts and/or milia (white tiny lumps under the skin) and blackheads.
I know you know why – the pesky hormones!! So many changes in such a short period of time and you generally feeling too ill to ensure a good intake of water and all you want to eat is sugary carbohydrates – no good for skin at all!!
If you are not one of the women who glow with clear skin from day one here is the why and how to safely help, so once your baby is born, and your hormones settle your skin can be clear again.
Oily Skin or Dehydration?
The developing fetus needs water and nourishment and it is no surprise that it takes all it needs from you! During pregnancy, blood circulation is increased and oil glands become overactive resulting in a brighter and shinier face (which many refer to as “pregnancy glow”). If your skin is not in ideal health dehydration happens more easily and with the resultant uneven tones, texture and more breakouts than usual.
How to manage it: Wash your face with a lactic based cleanser twice a day. Besides keeping your skin and pores clean lactic acid helps to repair cell walls which ensures the water needed in the cell is able to stay there; your skin is more hydrated, feels smoother and is less likely to have the milia, blackheads and breakouts. If you do, then they will disappear more quickly.
Harsh scrubs will not help although they make your skin feel cleaner and smoother. The surface layers are damaged and water loss in increased. The skin then needs to use energy to heal rather than function normally. Enzyme exfoliators just once or twice a week are a better answer.
Nourish, nourish and nourish your skin. Lots of antioxidant serums, lots of care with your choice of products so only healthy, no-nasty’s ingredients are applied. Learn to read your labels and be educated regarding, not just what you eat, but also what your body absorbs via the skin. Your developing baby has access to it all and this includes your makeup. Try for Certified to Food Standards Organic products or good quality medical strength products.
You need to avoid Vitamin A (all of the retinols) and all acne medication. Innocuous seeming products such as deodorant should be aluminium free for your own health, longevity and your baby’s.
Include Vitamin C and B and a heavy water spray to keep hydrated throughout the day. A good one will penetrate your makeup without upsetting it.
If you have low grade constant stress your oil glands will work harder as the tiny receptor on these cells is stimulated to produce more oil – which, in turn causes the pores to open and the pH of the surface of the skin changes – da da!! Pimples!! It is really difficult if you are nauseated, vomiting, really tired, working full or part-time, dealing with the news and maybe other children and family issues to not be stressed but try to find a balance, a quiet period every day to look after yourself.
Sleep: try to have sufficient. Work out ways to be comfortable!! Use lavender oils beside the bed and camomile tea. Avoid coffee and other stimulants.
Your diet should be full of healthy green vegetables with the addition of all the other colours and plenty of protein and fruit. Avoid yeasty and sugary foods and drinks as much water as you can. You’ll actually feel less ill and tired if you do. Take the supplements your Doctor recommends and, if unsure about a product ask him/her for advice.
Guzzle water!! Helps your entire body stay hydrated and remove wastes and toxins.
UV Protection is essential as your skin is more sensitive. It is much easier to burn and therefore age your skin whilst you are pregnant. Make a zinc based sunblock/moisturiser every day (no matter the weather) part of your daily skin care routine.
Specific Skin Concerns:
Itchy Abdomen and those stretch marks!
As the skin on your stomach stretches it can be irritatingly itchy. This is often due to dryness though is simply your belly growing. Stretch marks may appear and some will disappear and some won’t. Massaging an organic oil, cream or lotion at least once a day will help; again just watch those ingredients. A great product is the Miessence Belly and Breast balm.
Cleansing your body with an Organic Body wash will be healthier for you as well as less drying and better for the baby.
Darkening of freckles / skin pigmentation
Why it happens: As you undergo hormonal changes, the body temporarily increases its production of melanin, the pigment responsible for giving color to your hair, eyes, etc. You will notice areas of your body darkening such as your neck, armpits and nipples.
Not a lot can be done whilst pregnant to prevent this happening however being vigilant about UV protection will make a difference; hats and a physical zinc based sunblock are mandatory. If you are prone to pigmentation, melasma or don’t know but have an olive skin then take extra care and remember that makeup with an SPF for you is not enough. Hopefully, once your hormones have settled your brown areas will go away or fade.
Keep in mind that all these skin changes are temporary so there is no reason to fret about it. Of course, you need to:
- Consult your doctor or skincare specialist if you are unsure about a skincare product or regimen.
Treatments whilst pregnant follow the same principles as your home care. Be aware of the ingredients, tell your therapist and ask about the products she will use. She should know what is safe to use, but basically any treatment which is designed to do more than hydrate or gently exfoliate is not suitable.
Most skin concerns occurring during pregnancy are short lived if you are sensible. At the end of the day most of us are prepared to suffer a little in order to have a lovely healthy baby in 9 months.
Recommended Skin Care Clinic products:
Cleanser: Osmosis MD Purify for face,
SPF: Osmosis MD Protect
Night moisturiser: Osmosis MD Quench
Aspect Purastat 5 for the body with breakouts.
Miessence Body wash and cream for dry body areas and itchy bellys.
Miessence Belly and Breast Balm to help with sleep and moisturisation; especially lovely in the 3rd trimester or for very dry skins.
Deodorant – Miessence deodorant.
Makeup: look at either the Miessence range or certified organic products, the Osmosis Colour range or the Colour Science range – they are all great and appropriate.
See us in-clinic for your pregnancy facial today. Enjoy some time out and have your skin looked after.
And enjoy your pregnancy!