Pregnancy Skin Care

During pregnancy, our bodies experience a roller coaster ride of hormonal ups and downs, which unfortunately cause a number of less-than-glamorous pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, food cravings and fatigue.

And just in case that wasn't enough, these same hormones can also take a toll on the overall appearance of our skin, which doesn't help the usually fragile state of most pregnant women's body image. That's why proper pregnancy skin care is so important. So before you bury your head in the sand, find out what you can do to keep your skin looking as fabulous as you are.

Acne and Oily Skin

For women with naturally oily or acne-prone skin, be aware that you will become more prone to breakouts during pregnancy. These skin conditions worsen because of all those hormone changes that occur during pregnancy, and more specifically, because of rising androgen levels (these are the same hormones that cause breakouts before a menstrual period). And since androgen is at its peak during the first trimester, early pregnancy will likely be the time when you notice the greatest changes in your skin.

To control these breakouts, however, you will not be able to use the same acne treatment skin care products you may have turned to before getting pregnant. In fact, any prescription acne medications as well as over-the-counter skin care products containing vitamin A, retinol or antibiotics should be avoided during pregnancy.

Cleansing Care Avoid any cleansers (as well as any moisturizers or cosmetics) containing chemical exfoliants such as salicylic, glycolic, and alpha or beta hydroxyl acids, especially during the first trimester. Instead, use mechanical exfoliant products (or exfoliants that actually contain tiny scrubbers you must physically move around your face) to remove any dead skin. If after the first trimester your breakouts are still frequent, consult your obstetrician about what products may be safe to introduce.

Moisturizers and Sun Protection Steer clear of moisturizing soaps or any moisturizing skin care products that do not specifically label themselves as "noncomedogenic" or "nonacnegenic". Likewise, look for skin care products that are "oil-free."
Tip: If you experience excess oil build-up during the day, keep blotting papers on hand for a quick fix.

Dry Skin

Dry skin during pregnancy is usually brought on by a loss of bodily fluids. That's because your body is quite literally sucking you dry so that it can provide all the necessary hydration for your baby's development. In fact, because your need for bodily fluids are increasing so much, it is nearly impossible to keep up, leading to dehydration on your skin and extremities. So in addition to your skin care routine, make sure you're drinking plenty of water - 8 glasses a day to be precise!

Cleansing Care To avoid excessive dryness, rinse your face twice daily with a gentle cleanser specially formulated for dry skin. For extremely dry skin, try using a mechanical exfoliant once a week to get rid of any flaking skin.

Moisturizers and Sun Protection When moisturizing choose an emollient moisturizer - and don't skimp on the sun block, either; not only will sun exposure worsen dry skin, it will also put you at risk for skin cancer. For those experiencing itchy skin as a result of dryness, avoid using anti-itch ointments, as they usually contain cortisone or hydrocortisone. While these medical ingredients have not been proven to be harmful, multiple studies haven't proven their safety either.

Cosmetics for Quick Fixes

It can be tempting to pile on foundation and concealer at the site of a breakout, but don't let yourself get carried away. Instead, stick to high-quality make-up products, as these generally last longer and do not need to be caked on for optimal results. Try using a foundation stick that doubles as a concealer - this will give you the combined effect of a more even skin tone and less visible under-eye circles and blemishes. Keep extra oil under control with a matt powder, while those with dry skin can try using a cream blush for added luster.

Finish off with a dollop of moisturizing lip balm and a swipe of mascara, and you're good to go!

Who said pregnant women shouldn't feel beautiful?

Talk to other moms-to-be in our pregnancy forum


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