With pregnancy comes a whole host of wonderful first time experiences. It also comes with some strange and unique changes to your skin, hair and body. According to Dr. Giacomo Maggiolino, board-certified Dermatologist “Stretch marks are one of the most mentioned skin changes during pregnancy. Studies have shown that up to 90% of pregnant women will experience stretch marks.” And the list doesn’t just end there.
The good news is that there are some easy changes you can make to your daily routine, that will have a positive impact on how you look during and after your pregnancy.
Stretch marks, Scarring & Sagging
Hard to believe that cute little bundle that leaves an imprint on your heart, can also leave an imprint on your hips, thighs, breasts and stomach. These “beauty marks'' also known as stretch marks usually occur around 13-21 weeks from weight gain and making room for your baby to grow. And, you can’t count on them disappearing immediately right after birth.
Be Proactive! Treating your skin with the right products during and post pregnancy, may help minimize the appearance of stretch marks and sagging, while also helping you reclaim your girlish figure faster.
Exfoliation is one of the best steps you can take for healthy cell renewal and to help rejuvenate the look of distressed skin. Look for gentle exfoliating scrubs made from fine-milled sugar that can gently polish the areas of stippled or stretched skin, as well as leave skin perfectly prepped for enhanced penetration of your moisturizer, oil or lotion.
Body Butters or Body Oils are an ideal choice as compared to a body lotion when it comes to re-hydrating, protecting and remodeling your skin. Body Lotions are water based whereas butters and oils are not so they are able to add a dimension of superior, long-lasting hydration.
Clogged Pores, Blemishes & Breakouts
Nothing can make you feel like a teen again faster than blemishes and breakouts. There’s no doubt during pregnancy those hormones are raging causing the glands in your skin to produce more of a waxy, oily substance called sebum. Sounds charming, right?! Excess sebum can cause congestion in your pores eventually leading to a buildup of bacteria, resulting in blemishes and breakouts.
Don’t squeeze, pick or over-scrub!
Although it’s not easy, you need to avoid the temptation of “helping” your skin resolve these issues with manual intervention. That can only lead to inflammation, post-acne scarring and trauma to your skin. Cleansing your skin both morning and night with a gentle cleanser can help remove the build up of makeup, oil and debris from pores to help keep breakouts at bay. Avoid aggressive scrubs and harsh cleansers laden with sulfates that tend to strip too much oil from your skin, leaving your face feeling parched and dry. Instead opt for face washes made with gentle cleansing ingredients derived from coconut that will still offer luxurious lather but keep your skin in balance.
Ingredients that attract and harness moisture, known as humectants, have also become a “secret weapon” when it comes to fighting clogged pores and breakouts. Without adequate hydration skin cells are unable to move through the cycle of shedding, resulting in the build up of bacteria and breakouts. Hyaluronic Acid (HA) has earned gold star status when it comes to humectant ingredients due to the high moisture binding properties, without pore clogging oils.(Link to HA Mask). Add a treatment product with HA, Witch Hazel or Glycerin (Link to Illuminating Essence) to your daily routine for enhanced plumpness, balance and to keep that pregnancy glow going!
Pigmentation Changes & Discoloration
One of the common changes you may likely see is areas of your skin that were already darker in color, can darken more. These areas include under your armpits, nipples, face and other areas of the body. Your hormones are producing an increased amount of melanin which accounts for darkening of your skin known as “Melasma or Chloasma”. A dark patch referred to as “pregnancy mask” can form or you may form spots that you never noticed before. These darker spots of pigment were likely already present but buried deeper in the layers of your skin and thanks to Mother Nature, they are becoming more visible.
Look on the bright side! One of the widely used ingredients known to help improve uneven skin tone is Glycolic Acid. Look for formulas that contain 10% Glycolic combined with other natural fruit acids and oils. This versatile ingredient moisturizes the skin, helps slough dull or lackluster surface dead skin, and even helps with fighting acne breakouts. Bonus!
Dry, Thinning, Thicker and Unruly hair
Sound confusing? It is! Changes in the texture, body, hydration and even the color can change during pregnancy. As your body produces more hormones it affects your hair and scalp. Many women rave about the newly found lustrous shine and thickness of their hair, while others experience lifeless and thinning hair, as the hair follicle goes into a premature resting phase.
Show your locks some love!
Unlike traditional conditioners, a hair mask stays on the scalp and hair for an extended period of time. This allows the nourishing ingredients to penetrate into the scalp and hair shaft with a much greater impact than a rinse and go treatment. Look for ingredients that promote a healthy scalp as well as nourishing butters and oils that can turn around dry, damaged or distressed strands.
For an added oomph, Add a few drops of Essential Oil like Peppermint Oil or Lavender Oil to increase circulation and support healthy hair growth. These oils can also give you the added benefit of relaxing your mind and body with their aromatic properties.
Weight Gain & Late Night Cravings
One of the greatest challenges when you’re “eating for two” is trying to resist giving in to your cravings. Just swapping out your white sugar for honey or coconut - or adding a few stalks of romaine naturally rich in Vitamin A and C, can make a big difference in the clarity, glow and health of your skin. Keep your diet focused on clean protein, fiber, healthy fats, fruits and veggies along with healthy whole grains.
Needing to splurge? How about indulging in some dark chocolate (the darker the better). Believe it or not it is rich in fiber and full of nutrients. What better excuse than that do you need?
Pregnancy brings about many first time amazing experiences. A few small changes in your daily routine (along with an occasional spa splurge) can all help you feel your best and embrace these pregnancy changes.
With the use of AHA (glycolic) you may increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun and the possibility of sunburn. Use a sunscreen and limit sun exposure while using this product. Prior to starting any new regimen, if you have concerns you are best to consult your doctor