That’s because your skin is likely to change through your four trimesters (post baby too), often becoming more sensitive or blemish-prone due to hormonal changes and your changing shapes. That means you are likely to require slightly different pregnancy beauty products to the ones you commonly use.
You shouldn’t spend too much time worrying about your skincare and a visit to your doctor can help put your mind at ease if necessary. But, to take any additional stress out of your pregnancy regime, CF’s mums and mums to-be have recommended their favourite products. So you can shop with confidence and a little less stress.
Firstly, what should you consider about skincare during pregnancy?
“Pregnancy has complex and significant skin changes for most women,” explains the aesthetic doctor Dr. Maryam Zamani. These changes are classified into three categories:
1. Pigmentary changes
Changes in pigment are very common during pregnancy, due to an elevated level of hormones, says Zamani. This includes hyperpigmentation, which is an excess of pigment clusters that can lead to brown spots on the skin; and melasma (aka ‘pregnancy mask’), which is seen as irregular sharply demarcated brownish pigmentation on the face.”
“Oestrogen increases the output of melanin by the melanocytes [pigment cells in your skin that provide the brown colour] and the combination of oestrogen & progesterone increase deposition of pigment in the epidermis and dermis.” This can mean that “freckles, nevi, and scars can become darker in pregnancy”. Another common condition is ‘linea nigra’ – “a hyper-pigmented line found on the abdomen, most commonly appearing during the 2nd trimester.”
2. Pre-existing skin conditions (dermatoses)
Existing skin conditions can also be affected by pregnancy in both positive and negative ways. “Some conditions like allergic contact dermatitis may improve, while others such as candida infection or immune mediated diseases may worsen,” explains Dr. Zamani.
3. Pregnancy-related skin conditions (dermatoses)
There are also some specific skin conditions to look out for during pregnancy that can present throughout your trimesters. The most common are explained below:
One of the most common conditions during pregnancy is atopic eruption which exhibits itself as eczema-like dry lesions on the skin. It is associated with poor skin barrier function and dry, sensitive skin, with red patches and itchy bumps common on any part of the body.
The risk of experiencing it during pregnancy does not seem to be dictated by whether you have an eczema-prone skin type before conceiving. To help soothe the itchiness and sore appearance of your skin, looking for nourishing moisturisers and serums for the face and body.
Polymorphic eruption is characterised by a itchy rash that appears on the skin as a series of inflamed bumps, hives or darkened inflamed areas. Most commonly, it will first seen on the abdomen, within stretch marks, and it usually appears during your first pregnancy during the end of the third trimester.
It is thought to be caused by both hormonal changes and stretching of the skin, which is probably why it is also more common if you are having twins or triplets.
Normally the condition is self-resolving, but by caring for your bump with nourishing stretch mark creams you may be able to lessen the symptoms.
This is actually a liver condition but intrahepatic cholestasis presents itself as itching usually on the hands and feet. It is not accompanied by a rash and is more common in late pregnancy, as well as being most uncomfortable at night.
This is a condition that could have potential complications for your baby, so speak to your healthcare provider if you struggle with unexplained itchiness (plus other symptoms such as jaundice), rather than only relying on soothing creams.
Skincare ingredients to phase out
It’s generally agreed that some ingredients should be avoided during pregnancy as well as during the time you breastfeed due to their potential (although arguably low) risks. Specifically, retinoids (vitamin A derivatives), which are increasingly found in products that smooth wrinkles and fight breakouts.
At the same time, it may be prudent to decrease your use of products with high percentages of certain actives. For example, salicylic acid that is often in blemish products and cleansers.
Here’s our suggested list of curated beauty products from our mums to use, to not only make you feel good but feel extra special while taking care of yourself.
Any Questions or Tips to add?