Pregnancy is such an exciting time! But with so many changes happening with your body, not to mention the tiredness that comes along with it, you may be left wondering where on earth is that pregnancy glow?
I’m no expert, but this time around I’m definitely more savvy about what my skin needs, plus I have two experts up my sleeve! Read on for all my tips on Pregnancy Skincare, plus expert opinions from Facetime Skin Clinic Owner Melissa Gladding and Danielle Sutherland from Osmosis Skincare.
This is something a lot of Kiwi Women have to worry about, even when we aren’t pregnant, because of the harshness of the sun here in New Zealand. Pregnancy Pigmentation can range from a few extra spots or full-blown Melasma also known as the “Mask Of Pregnancy” which causes a lot of dark spots to appear on your face as a result of increased pigmentation. Why does this happen? When you’re are pregnant your body produces more hormones, which can cause an increase in pigmentation affecting up to 50% of pregnant women.
Unfortunately, there is not a lot whilst your pregnant you can do except for making sure you protect yourself religiously from the sun using a good quality sunblock. After pregnancy, there is a range of different treatments and products on the market to treat pigmentation. It’s a great idea to book in with a Skincare Specialist to get a consultation and assess all the options available to you.
My favourite sunblock products which I swear by all year round, are the Suncare products from the brand Coola Suncare. I love their Dawn Patrol Primer, which doesn’t even feel like sunscreen, no chalky white residue, its more like a smooth, silk-like veil and creates such a lovely base for makeup with an SPF of 30. I also love their Mineral Face BB cream which also has an SPF of 30. I’m yet to try ‘Protect’ from Osmosis Skincare but my facialist swears by this, so it’s definitely next on my list of products to try.
2. Dull, Dry Skin
Still waiting for that ‘”Pregnancy Glow” to kick in? Unfortunately for many expectant Moms that so-called “Glow” never does arrive. Loss of bodily fluids going straight to the baby along with all the hormones present in your body can leave your skin feeling parched and dull. How can you combat this? My first tip would be to keep your body well hydrated, keep up your fluid intake with lots of water or freshly squeezed juices if you can’t stomach the taste of water.
Next, make sure you are using a gentle cleanser that won’t strip away any extra oils from your skin. I love using cleansing balms or even coconut oil to remove my makeup whilst pregnant especially during Winter. Lately, I’ve been loving the Tribeca Skin Tonics Cleansing Balm, its all natural and smells amazing, not to mention leaves my skin feeling super hydrated. I’m also in love with Osmosis Lift-Away Cleansing Balm, a super nourishing balm which absorbs into the skin to dissolve makeup and impurities and detoxify pores with lots of yummy ingredients like elderberry fruit juices and avocado oil.
I also recommend to gently exfoliate your skin once a week. For this step, I could not be without my Osmosis Polish! I have been using this product for over 7 years now and I will never stop purchasing it! It’s truly such a hero product. Polish works differently to grainy exfoliators as its a fruit enzyme peel that gently eats away at all your dead skin. It always gives my skin a beautiful glow the next day and leaves my skin feeling softer and plumper.
Lastly, straight after using Polish I love to pop on a hydrating mask, to really give my skin an extra boost of moisture. There are so many hydrating masks that I love on the market which I alternate, including ones by Kiehl’s and Origins. Just make sure you are using a good quality one from a brand you trust as pregnancy skin is always much more sensitive and prone to reactions from products. Osmosis does a beautiful Tropical Mango Mask which smells incredible and is very soothing, it contains ingredients rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-inflammatory properties leaving skin feeling super hydrated and replenished.
3. Stretch Marks
This is a huge concern for many expecting Moms, but for many, stretch marks are inevitable as genetics play a huge role in whether you will get them or not. But there are still a few simple steps you can follow at home to help keep them at bay. Firstly would be to keep that belly hydrated from day one! A lot of women don’t think to start applying belly oil until they are well and truly showing, but I recommend getting in early and start slathering your belly, hips and breasts with a good quality oil, morning and night.
I’ve used a variety of different oils including one from Nature Baby, as well as good quality coconut and almond oils which all work wonders on the skin. Recently I was gifted some Bio Oil to try which I have really loved using, I’ve actually already been through a whole bottle! I love the consistency of this oil and it’s great for aging, dehydrated skin too.
Another key tip to help with stretch marks is to try not scratch your belly. Whilst scratching doesn’t necessarily cause stretch marks, it can make them a lot worse when they are first starting to form and scratching regularly on the stretched skin can really damage it as it thins out. My last tip would be again, to keep your body hydrated with lots of water as this will help increase the amount of elasticity in your skin which will also help prevent stretch marks from forming.
4. Itchy Skin
Itchy Skin is especially common in pregnancy. Why? Your belly itches because your skin is slowly stretching to make room for baby. The stretching causes an interruption to your skin’s barrier, which in return causes loss of moisture and itchiness.
There are many things you can do for yourself at home to relieve some of the itching these include slathering on a Vitamin E rich belly oil or a super rich moisturising cream containing cocoa butter or jojoba oil. Another tip which can make a real difference is to switch your laundry detergent to a fragrance-free, sensitive skin formula. You can also try applying a cool, damp facecloth to the itchy areas to help relieve some of the itch. It’s a good idea to avoid hot baths and showers too as they can really heat up the skin and make it much more prickly and itchy. Lastly, try and avoid scratchy synthetic fabrics and opt for natural fibers close to the belly such as cotton, linen or silk.
5. Tired, Aging Skin
Pregnancy affects Women’s skin in so many different ways. But one of the biggest concerns, especially for myself is the appearance of tired, aging skin. A lot of expectant Mums, especially with their second and third pregnancies can be left feeling exhausted and their skin really shows this. Not getting enough rest and combatting dry skin can really enhance the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and dark circles can start to form.
Unfortunately, there is not a lot you can do to dramatically change this. Obviously trying to get lots of sleep overnight and lots of rest during the day will be the biggest help, but for most of us Mamas, this is just not plausible. Running around after toddlers, working, household chores and dinner duties can really leave you feeling anything but glowy. I recommend keeping on top of your skincare regime with good quality products is key, also trying to book in for a regular facial or facial massage will also make a big difference to your skins texture and circulation. A good eye cream can really help to hydrate the delicate eye area and counteract the look of dark circles too. Lately, I’ve been loving Bobbi Brown Extra Eye Repair Cream, especially before makeup as it gives a nice glow to my undereye area – It’s instantly brightening!
Pregnancy is such a beautiful miracle. However, it can come with many highs and lows and so many uncertainties, especially for first-time moms. All kinds of changes are happening to your skin and body, but you want to ensure you are keeping you and your baby safe. While there is not necessarily a specific set of “rules” to follow in regards to skincare during pregnancy, there are some wise general guidelines that can help you navigate this magical journey and lead you to the products that will benefit you and your body best, all while keeping sweet baby safe and undisturbed in there.
Go As Natural As Possible
This is best practice for any stage of life, not just during pregnancy. However, when you are pregnant, the choices you make for your body don’t affect just you. Steer clear of products that flaunt heavy fragrances or perfumes, skin-irritants (often hidden in cosmetics as chemical preservatives), and artificial coloring. These components, when absorbed through the skin, can disrupt the natural function of the cells in your body.
Top 10 ingredients to avoid during Pregnancy
· Retinoids (found in Retin-A)
· Tetracycline (found in medications including Doxycycline)
· Hydroquinone (found in skin lightening products)
· Phthalates (chemicals added to plastics to make them more flexible – can be found in perfumes and nail polish too!)
· Formaldehyde (a carcinogen most commonly found in personal care products made for adults)
· Toluene (found in nail polish)
· Ammonia (found in many hair dye formulas)
· Dihydroxyacetone (found in fake tans)
· Thioglycolic acid (found in hair removal creams)
· Botulinium Toxin or Boto
Osmosis During Pregnancy
At Osmosis, we pride ourselves on providing beauty and skincare products with the highest quality ingredients that are safe for you and your baby! Even our Vitamin A’s are safe to use throughout your pregnancy and during breastfeeding because the percentage of Retinaldehyde does not exceed the recommended dosage for safety.
While getting sucked into the vortex of the internet with your endless questions, try to remember to give yourself some slack. You are growing a human, it’s the most magical thing your body can do! And when it comes to skincare, choose clean beauty products to treat conditions as needed, and let your body sort out the rest. Always be sure to consult your physician if you start to experience any sensitivities to any beauty product or supplement.
FaceTime Skincare Clinic owner Melissa Gladding has over 10 years of experience in the beauty and cosmetic industry. She is regarded as one of the leading skin therapists in Auckland and I trust her and her team with all my skincare concerns.
I chat with her to find out about the products and treatments she recommends to keep your skin in tip-top shape during pregnancy.
What have you found to be the biggest misconception about skincare during pregnancy Mel?
The pregnancy glow. We have all heard it before and while some lucky ladies look extra radiant and glowy, not all women experience their pregnancy in the same way, with some suffering from the likes of acne, hormonal pigmentation, and dryness. I recommend a skin consultation to have a personalized plan to help safely keep these conditions in check.
What Skincare ingredients should we be avoiding like the plague?
Retinoids are one of the skin-care ingredients that we recommend that pregnant women stay away from. Some studies have shown that taking high doses of vitamin A during pregnancy can be harmful to an unborn child… Although most topical forms are unable to reach the bloodstream, to be on the safe side it’s best to avoid topical retinoids. Salicylic acid a form of BHA (beta hydroxy acid) should be avoided in high concentrations, lactic acid is a great alternative and is more hydrating. I also recommend keeping away from any kind of aggressive treatments and heavy duty skin care. Your baby (and hormone fluctuations) tend to dictate what your skin is going to do from one day to the next so I always suggest keeping your skincare simple, super hydrating and soothing.
What would you say are the 3 biggest skincare concerns you see from pregnant women coming into the clinic?
As the body and skin are going through such dramatic changes growing a mini human, the skin seems to have all of the nutrients taken from it for growing the baby, we come across all sorts of conditions from dull blah skin with breakouts, to hormonal pigmentation. Some clients even experience extreme dryness, even when their skin was typically oily prior to pregnancy.
What are the 3 key products you think every Mama-to-be needs to be using on her skin?
That’s a real tricky one, as so many women can experience different skin conditions throughout their pregnancy. We normally see a fair bit of pigmentation changes and dehydration, however, we have also had a number of ladies that get slightly oilier or their skin can be amazing!!! However, if I had to pick they would be… Osmosis ‘Protect SPF 30+’ Which is a mineral SPF that protects the skin from UV rays and free radicals which can cause spikes in melanin production, that’s what can cause hormonal pigmentation to filter up to the surface of the skin. Also, a lipid-rich moisturiser to prevent Trans-epidermal water loss through the surface layers of the skin. My favourite is the ‘Thalgo Marine Nutri-Soothing Cold Cream’. This cream helps to keep the oil to water ratio well balanced and ensure the skin is functioning at its best. Think of how you feel if you are thirsty; your brain is a bit foggy and everything is a bit trickier than normal, as soon as you have a glass of water everything seems to be back to normal.
What treatments should we be steering clear of during pregnancy?
I would avoid any treatment that includes any sort of current as well as treatments that are quite aggressive on the skin, the body can respond much differently during pregnancy due to the number of hormones that are racing through the body, for instance you could have been having Glycolic peels for many years and then all of a sudden you can have an irritation occur. There are also a few treatments that haven’t had any trials done on pregnant women, therefore, we always recommend consulting with us first and advise clients that it is their choice if they would like to do that particular treatment.
And lastly what 3 treatments would you recommend through pregnancy to help women look and feel their best?
1. Our famous Healite II Rejuvenating Photofacial, safe throughout pregnancy it not only promotes collagen production and boosts radiance but its a great chemical-free option for helping to keep acne calm and at bay. 2. Osmosis Medi Facial – relaxation and results at its best while being fully pregnancy safe. This facial is a complete bespoke skin treatment where everything is tailored for your skin’s needs on the day. It combines plenty of massage and beautiful hot, plush, steamy towels. Dreamy! 3. Fake Tan Application – always an instant pick-me-up and real confidence booster!
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