Pregnancy is a beautiful and exciting time for many women, but it often comes with some serious drawbacks for your beauty and skin care routine. Everything from pregnancy acne to stretch marks can ruin the gorgeous pre-baby glow. Other less-known pregnant skin woes include dark circles under the eyes and chapped lips due to dehydration. And you thought weight gain and mood swings were the worst things you could expect, right?
While these skin conditions are normal and pose no health problems for either you or your little one, this doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do to combat their appearance. After all, you deserve to look and feel your best no matter what stage you are experiencing in your pregnancy. Here’s what you need to know about what kinds of products you can use while pregnant, what works and what doesn’t, and what exactly is going on with your skin when you are expecting. Feeling a bit overwhelmed about having to follow a complicated new skin care regimen? Not to worry: these skin care tips are simple to follow and will help you to restore your radiant expecting glow in no time.
Here are the first things you should try during your pregnancy to avoid unexpected skin changes while you are expecting.
1. PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE SUN: Too much sun exposure combined with hormonal changes can cause one of the most dreaded pregnancy side effects: ‘pregnancy mask’ or melasma. This condition causes a darkening of the skin around the cheeks, nose, and under the eyes. Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen when you’re outside is one way you can prevent this from occurring. If you do end up with pregnancy mask, a cleansing wash with aloe vera juice may help.
2. STOCK UP ON LEAFY GREEN VEGETABLES: You may have already been told to eat lots of asparagus, broccoli, kale, and other leafy greens to help make sure your baby’s healthy development. You may not know the folic acid in these foods that supports your little bun in the oven also helps to prevent skin darkening and other temporary pregnant skin changes that can occur, so feel free to double up on these superfoods the next time you’re at the supermarket or salad bar.
3. USE LOTION WITH AHA TO COMBAT STRETCH MARKS: Women can expect to gain between 25 to 35 pounds during their pregnancy, which is a major strain on anyone’s skin. Whether or not you get stretch marks is largely based on genetics, but can stack the odds in your favor by moisturizing daily with a skin lotion containing alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA). For a natural solution in a pinch, consider using a wash with apple cider vinegar, which has naturally-occurring alpha-hydroxy acids and other beneficial enzymes. What about cocoa butter? The jury is still out on how effective this popular skin treatment is, but since it is safe to use during pregnancy, you can give it a try as well.
4. GET PLENTY OF EXERCISE: Speaking of weight gain, your skin will thank you if you try to avoid packing on too many pounds during your pregnancy. The best way to do this is to ensure you get enough exercise and stay active during all stages of your baby’s development. Be sure to consult with your doctor for a list of safe and healthy activities you can enjoy that will also help to prevent excessive weight gain.
5. STAY HYDRATED: This one is a must regardless of your skincare routine. Your body needs at least two litres a day while pregnant to keep both you and your developing baby healthy. Drinking at least this much (or more) will also help to flush toxins out of your body that lead to skin breakouts and discoloration.
6. AVOID UNSAFE ACNE TREATMENTS: Acne during pregnancy is a common side effect of the body’s changing hormones and the added stress you may be experiencing during this time. Yet as distressing as acne may be, moms-to-be must take care to avoid any unsafe acne treatments that have not been approved for use during pregnancy, such as those containing tetracycline, salicylic acid, or isotretinoin, which may cause congenital disabilities. Consult with your doctor before using any acne skin care products and incorporate a few natural sources of support, too, including reducing the amount of sugar and uncultured dairy in your diet. Supplementation with probiotics may also help some women beat acne during pregnancy.
7. SAY NO TO FAKE TAN: Since you’ll likely want to avoid too much sun exposure, you may be tempted to double up on tanning sprays and lotions to compensate. This could be a bad idea, however, since these products may cause an allergic reaction that is particularly unsafe during your pregnancy. Instead, stick with your pregnant skin’s natural glow and promise to resume your usual tanning regimen after the baby has arrived.
These tips and strategies will hopefully inspire you to make skincare a priority during this exciting period in your life. While it’s inevitable that your skin will change somewhat during your pregnancy, following these helpful guidelines are your best bet for building and maintaining a beautiful glow while allowing yourself to feel pampered no matter how far along you are.
If after trying these simple tips you still end up developing pregnancy acne or any other common pregnant skin conditions, there’s usually no need to fear. Very often, these symptoms do resolve themselves over time after baby arrives, so you can take some comfort in knowing that whatever you are experiencing now will not necessarily be a lifelong struggle. Even stretch marks will fade in time, especially if you return to a healthy skin care regimen post-partum. As with anything that occurs during your pregnancy, you should always speak with your doctor should have any concerns regarding your health or that of your little one—including any skin issues you develop along the way. Above all else, be sure to stay positive and keep the end goal in mind of staying healthy and, someday soon, giving birth to a happy, healthy bundle of joy.