Congratulations mom-to-be! It has been a few weeks since you confirmed you are expecting your new bundle of joy and now you’re noticing some changes to your skin. The pregnancy hormones are responsible for a lot of changes that occur between now and when your baby arrives, and each trimester seems to arrive with something new.
We have all heard of the ‘pregnancy glow’ which makes you look full of health and vitality, but sadly this isn’t the norm for everyone, just the lucky few. Pregnancy can also bring skin sensitivity, rashes, blotchy redness, acne, skin tags and even changes to your skin tone.
As you know, you need to be aware of what you’re putting onto your skin (otherwise known as topical applications) as the skin deeply absorbs the chemicals and they often go into your bloodstream, which in turn could be passed to your developing foetus. You will find that many of your pre-pregnancy products, such as anti-aging creams, are full of ingredients that are to be completely avoided whilst you’re pregnant. You may find that what you were using before just isn’t working now. You’re not alone, research by Bio-oil has found that 87% of women find it difficult to maintain their pre-pregnancy skin care routine.
Be Kinder to Your Skin
If your skin type changes whilst you’re pregnant you may be unsure of the best way forward in looking after your skin. If your skin type becomes oily (or oilier) look for oil free products, that have glycerine or hyaluronic acid and avoid salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide and retinoids (found in anti-aging creams); these all have links to birth defects. Instead, try to find natural products with minerals or that are glycerine-based. You could also try blotting papers to soak up the excess oils during the day.
Elevated hormone levels have been known to trigger pigment cells to multiply quicker, which can cause facial blotchiness. Using a sunscreen daily of at least a SPF of 15 is the best way to resist this discoloration. This can be either as part of your moisturizer or separately, and remember to use a higher SPF of at least 30 if you’re going to be out in the afternoon sun or for the whole day.
Dry skin has its own problems; try drinking more water as it could just be a sign of dehydration, remember you’re growing a new human so your body is using everything available for that job, sadly your needs come second. But if the increase water doesn’t seem to do the trick, then exfoliate and use a mild cleanser, toner and a rich moisturizer containing coconut oils or shea butter.
Whether you shook off acne when you graduated high school, or you are a first-time sufferer, it’s a sad reality that many pregnant moms get acne. The increase in the hormone progesterone often causes the skin to create more sebum and this is known to trigger acne and blackheads. Unfortunately, most acne treatments contain big no-no’s such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, or vitamin A derivatives, such as Retin-A or Renova. Using a mild cleanser and a UV protection moisturizer, such as Eltra MD UV Clear, it has hyaluronic acid to moisturize and lactic acid to keep your skin smooth and hydrated. You can treat with skin peels, but you need to speak with your therapist and ensure that the cleansers are 2% or less in salicylic acid. If you’re at all unsure, check with your Obn/Gyn.
Don’t forget your body!
It’s not just your face that will show the changes, there are changes to your body too. The most obvious is of course stretch marks. A lot of moms-to-be will start a campaign against the ravages of stretch marks from the outset. Low levels of vitamin A is just fine, but still check the labels for retinoids and salicylic acids. Coconut oil and olive oil are good too.
As the months wear on and your baby grows you may find you start to get some niggly aches and pains. Its again thanks to those pregnancy hormones which loosen the joints and relax ligaments. Such pains, especially in the lower lumbar area can also be caused by the weight of the bump that you’re now carrying. Heat pads such as Sunbeam XpressHeat is an effective natural way to ease tension, muscle knots and cramps and just improve your day.
This is an exciting period, you’re embarking on the best adventure of your life so remember to look after yourself just as much as you would look your baby. If you have any concerns or need more detailed advice visit with your Obstetrician and to err on the side of caution in all things, nothing is more important than your baby’s development.