It’s no secret that a woman’s body goes through a lot of changes during pregnancy. Pregnancy is a beautiful journey that comes with many changes, both emotionally and physically.
One of the most noticeable physical changes during pregnancy is the way your skin reacts to hormonal shifts and increased blood flow. In this article, we'll explore what to expect from your skin during pregnancy and how you can take care of it.
The hormonal changes a woman goes through during the various stages of pregnancy may disrupt the skin’s delicate balance, resulting in anything from dehydration to breakouts and hyperpigmentation.
Your pre-pregnancy skincare routine will likely not suffice for the new challenges brought on by pregnancy, plus, if you use products containing active ingredients, you may need to reconsider your regime as the ingredients may not be safe for the baby.
For most women, pregnancy brings on a radiant glow, especially during the first trimester.
This is due to an increase in blood flow, fluctuating hormone levels, and increased oil production. However, this glow sadly doesn’t always last, and as a woman’s pregnancy journey evolves, she may begin to experience less desirable skincare changes.
Increased oil production - resulting in acne
During pregnancy, your body produces more oil than usual due to an increase in hormone levels, this can lead to an increase in pimples, blackheads, and other blemishes on your skin. Skin breakouts are incredibly common and typically go away after delivery.
Melasma - commonly known as hyperpigmentation
Also known as the "mask of pregnancy," melasma is a condition that causes discoloration on the skin. This condition is caused by an increase in hormones and increased sensitivity to UV light. Typically, melasma can be seen on the cheeks, nose, forehead, and upper lip.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, up to 70% of pregnant women develop melasma during their pregnancy.
While many women experience increased oil production during pregnancy, others may experience dry skin. This can be caused by hormonal changes and increased water loss from the skin. It's important to keep your skin moisturised during pregnancy to prevent cracking and irritation.
Pregnancy frequently results in unusually sensitive skin, partly because of elevated hormone levels. Additionally, some women may go through flare-ups of conditions including eczema or dermatitis. It's crucial to stay away from harsh or drying skincare chemicals and to choose calming products free of scents and colourings.
Skincare during pregnancy
Ingredients to avoid:
According to Dr Judey Pretorius, a highly accomplished biomedical scientist and product development specialist, some ingredients used in certain skincare products may be harmful to your baby, so it’s important to reconsider your skincare regime as soon as you find out you’re pregnant (or if you’re trying to conceive).
Avoid products with high caffeine content, retinol (vitamin A), and salicylic acid, especially during the first trimester.
According to her, it’s important to avoid any prescription skincare products during pregnancy as these may be harmful to your baby. Professional treatments like Botulinum Toxin injections, filler, laser, and certain chemical peels are also not recommended during pregnancy, however, there are plenty of pregnancy-safe facials available.
It's also important to note that some skincare ingredients should be avoided during pregnancy due to their potentially harmful effects, and these include: retinoids, salicylic acid, hydroquinone, and benzoyl peroxide.
“Whether you’re loving your pregnancy skin or facing skincare challenges, it’s important to stick to all the skincare basics you knew before you were expecting: maintain a suitable skincare regime twice a day, never go to bed with make-up on, change your pillowcase regularly, disinfect your cell phone regularly, drink lots of water, eat fresh and unprocessed foods, try not to touch your face and remember to apply SPF every day,” advised Dr Pretorius.
She adds, “If in doubt about your skincare, or if you’re struggling to combat any of the concerns you’re faced with, make an appointment with your healthcare practitioner.”
Stay hydrated, practise good sleep hygiene, eat healthily, and take care of your mental wellness to ensure you enjoy a happy and healthy pregnancy journey.