The skincare guide for the mum-to-be
From hormonal acne to losing your glow, pregnancy-related beauty woes are real. Here's all you need to know to keep you radiant
Pregnancy can bring about all sorts of changes to our bodies: one of the most dramatic transformations can be to our skin.
While some mums-to-be may get that perfect radiant glow that comes with carrying a baby, others aren't quite so lucky. And it's those troublesome pregnancy-related hormones that are to blame. They can have a massive impact on our once clear and healthy skin. Even for women who have previously had the most flawless of complexions, pregnancy hormones can bring all sorts of issues, from dryness and losing your glow to hormonal acne and the dreaded 'pregnancy mask' of pigmentation.
I'm often asked for advice on issues that can occur with skin throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding and my answer is always the same.
First and foremost, stick to safe, natural products and always check the ingredients for any potential allergies you may have. Also, you will need to completely avoid the use of certain ingredients such as retinoids, or vitamin A derivatives, and products containing salicylic acid. Additives such as PEGS, phthalates and sulphates are a definite no-go! This is, by no means, an exhaustive list and I always encourage pregnant women to research and gain knowledge on the subject.
But, while you do need to be extra mindful of what you use during pregnancy, there are many products that will be perfectly safe for you and your baby. You should look for clean and mild products with paired down ingredients. It's a cliché, but less really is more! If trying out something new, always check the ingredients list prior to use to ensure you're not allergic to any of the ingredients. Hormonal changes can make your skin more sensitive than it usually would be, so test products on a small area of skin first, either behind the ear or on the jawline.
For melasma (pregnancy-related pigmentation) and acne issues, choose products with ingredients such as natural vitamin C (preferably the L ascorbic acid type) and Niacinamide, also called nicotinamide, which is a form of vitamin B3. These will help to control breakouts and also break down the pigments that cause discolouration. They have the added bonus of providing anti-ageing benefits by smoothing wrinkles and generally improving the complexion.
As well as possibly experiencing a surge in pigment-producing hormones, skin can also be more sensitive to the sun during pregnancy, so it's super important to be sun-safe and wear a good broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF50. Look for a mineral version to avoid exposing skin to unnecessary chemicals.
Some mums-to-be complain of losing their 'glow' when pregnant and describe a general dullness and dryness. Hormonal changes can lead to drying out of the epidermis, causing skin to lose elasticity and moisture, and skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea to worsen. To combat this, look for products containing the mild and natural ingredient hyaluronic acid, which can hydrate and plump the skin and restore that glow without causing irritation. Also, high quality dry oils can add moisture without clogging pores.
There are many things you can do to mitigate the effects of hormonal fluctuations in pregnancy, but common sense plays a large part. Eating foods that are vitamin rich with high water content - such as vegetables, fruits and nuts - can nourish the skin and help to keep it healthy. Eat well, do your research, and use good products!