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Getting That Pregnance Glow

Pregnancy, while it’s an amazing, exciting time, can wreak havoc on our skin. Along with the obvious signs of pregnancy such as an expanding belly, the hormonal fluctuations involved can lead to anything from a gorgeous pregnancy ‘glow’ and lustrous locks to breakouts, skin sensitivity, discoloration and excess hair in places we didn’t have it before!

While the ups and downs of oestrogen and progestogen are to be expected in pregnancy and there’s very little that we can do about it, there are steps we can take to minimise the effects that pregnancy has on our skin. It’s nothing to be concerned about – 90% of women experience a new skin condition or changes to an existing skin condition while pregnant.

Oil-producing for two?

You’re not alone if you feel like your skin is oiler now than before pregnancy. It’s very common for the oil producing glands to produce more sebum in pregnancy, and this can lead to oily skin, blackheads and breakouts. My tip for avoiding oil-based redness and inflammation in pregnancy is to switch to a gentle, fragrance free cleanser and use it twice-daily without fail. This will keep your skin fresh and clean, without stripping it of the oils needed to keep it supple. Using a gentle rather than harsh cleanser also stops the glands going into oil-production overdrive if they are over-cleaned.

Some women develop acne or see a resurgence of acne from their earlier years. This is down to a hormone surge and tends to hit at around six weeks. The same advice applies as for generalised oily skin – don’t overdo the cleansing but use a gentle oil-free cleanser regularly.

Drying out

If, on the other hand, your skin starts to feel more dehydrated, use a gentle, hydrating moisturiser such as AlumierMD Hydradew along with Ultimate Boost serum. Your skin will feel more comfortable and it should give you the gorgeous dewy-skinned look associated with pregnancy.

Skin pigmentation in pregnancy

Around 70% of pregnant women develop some form of skin pigmentation – a melasma or chloasma that usually appears on the face. It’s very common- in fact it’s one of the most common early signs of pregnancy - and often fades away once baby is born If it lingers there are plenty of options we can try in my skin clinic in Needham Market that will help them fade away faster. Stay out of the sun, too, if you develop melasma; the sun triggers production of the melanocytes which can make it even worse. If you go out, in fact all-year round, I advise a broad-spectrum UVA/B sunscreen to deflect the damage the sun can cause.

Skincare ingredients to avoid in pregnancy

There are some skincare ingredients that can potentially be absorbed into the bloodstream when they are applied to the skin, which means they pass through the placenta and to the baby.

According to scientific studies, there are only two ingredients that are known to cause harm in pregnancy, and these are hydroquinone and vitamin A products such as retinol. Hydroquinone is an ingredient in some skin lightening products for pigmentation, and you might find retinol in anti-ageing products along with prescription acne treatments like Roaccutane. Always ask your doctor’s advice about prescription-based treatments. I’d also advise that if you’re trying out new products, try them on a wrist or behind your ears first to be sure you haven’t developed any sensitivities.

My advice is to avoid:

· Salicylic acid: Avoid products, including peels, containing salicylic acid and glycolic acids as they haven’t been proven safe in pregnancy.

· Chemical peels: Although these are safe for normal use, there haven’t been any clinical trials to assess the safety of peels during pregnancy.

· Medical microneedling and laser skincare treatments: These won’t harm the aby but along with deep chemical peels can cause inflammation in the skin and make it worse rather than better in sensitive, pregnancy skin.

· Retinoids: Even though it’s thought that the absorption rate through the skin are low, general advice is that retinoids are best avoided in pregnancy.

Last but not at all least, it’s always an idea to eat well and drink lots of water. Especially so when you have a developing baby to hydrate, too. The bonus is that the more you drink and the better you eat, the better your skin will be too.

For any advice on looking after your skin in pregnancy or otherwise, give me a call or send me a message and I’ll be delighted to chat with you!

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