It’s no secret that your hormones will go haywire while you’re pregnant. This can cause many changes in your body, mainly manifesting in your skin through darkness, dryness, stretch marks, and acne.
While it can be tempting to reach for your go-to products, remember to be careful! The ingredients you’ve always sworn by may be safe for you, but they may not be the best for your baby. Since pregnancy and skincare are so closely linked, it’s crucial to follow certain dos and don’ts on what products to use, treatments to take, etc.
We know what you’re thinking. As if you didn’t already have enough to deal with (like back pain and bloating, to name a few), now you have to figure out how to do your skin, too. Don’t worry, momma-to-be! We’re here to give you the lowdown on skincare while pregnant, so you can maintain gorgeous, glowing skin while you await your little one.
Do listen to your skin
We get it. With all the horror stories surrounding pregnancy-related skin issues, it’s only natural that you’d want to do whatever it takes to avoid them. While it may be tempting to buy all the products that other moms-to-be swear by, it’s important to note that you probably won’t need all of them.
Pregnancy changes women’s skin in different ways. Some get dry and dark skin, others get acne, and there are a few lucky ones who don’t have any skin issues at all! With that said, the ingredients that you buy should be based on your skin’s specific concerns. For example, if you experience melasma (the darkening of facial skin, also known as “the mask of pregnancy”), you may want to use a topical vitamin C. Or, if your acne flares up, you can mitigate this by using pregnancy-safe ingredients such as clindamycin.
There’s no need to pack on your skincare products while pregnant. Only buy what you need, but feel free to add more to your routine if necessary.
Don’t consider chemical peels
During pregnancy, it’s not uncommon to experience some form of skin discoloration. While this skin issue can usually be treated with chemical peels, it’s not suitable for mothers-to-be. Not only do chemical peels raise the risk of scarring, but the skin will likely get discolored again due to the changes associated with pregnancy. It would be better to wait until after pregnancy, or when your hormone levels are no longer out of whack, to go for a facial peel.
If you really do need to reduce discoloration, opt for gentler peels in products infused with glycolic or lactic acid.
One of the most common pregnancy-related skin concerns is dry skin. Fortunately, the solution is fairly straightforward: simply hydrate, and then hydrate some more! You can do this by drinking 8 to 12 glasses of water a day, and by boosting your skin’s moisture content with hyaluronic acid (HA). This is a substance that pulls water from within your skin to the surface. The best part? Because it can be found naturally in your body, you won’t have to worry about it causing harm to your baby.
Here’s a helpful tip: apply your HA-infused product the moment you step out of the shower or wash your face. That way, it can lock all the moisture in, and your skin will be more hydrated than ever before.
Don’t use retinoids
Derivatives of vitamin A, retinoids (e.g. tretinoin) are some of the most well-loved ingredients in the skincare world, and for good reason. Not only do they slow down skin aging (now, who doesn’t want that?), but they can also combat common skin concerns like cystic acne.
While retinoids may seem like miracle ingredients, do not use them when you’re pregnant. Whether in oral or topical form, retinoids can cause disabilities and birth defects in babies. Although some studies have shown that the amount of retinoids absorbed by the body won’t cause congenital disabilities, to be safe, avoid it altogether.
Be careful when buying over-the-counter products, as many of them contain retinol, the less potent version of retinoids.
Do apply sunscreen daily
Sunscreen is an essential part of everyone’s skincare routine, but it becomes even more crucial for expectant mothers. This is because, when you’re pregnant, your body produces more melanin—the pigment that gives your skin color. If you expose your unprotected skin to the sun, that “tells” it to produce even more melanin, which can lead to dark skin or melasma.
While melasma will likely fade post-partum, there’s still a chance that the dark spots will stay. To reduce this risk, be sure to slather on sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 daily. And it goes without saying, but try to avoid the sun between 10 AM and 2 PM, and follow other sun safety practices such as wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
Don’t sweat it
If your skin is being stubborn, don’t worry about it. Not only are skin issues part of the whole pregnancy experience, but they’re most likely temporary, anyway. The changes that you’re seeing in your skin—whether discoloration, acne, etc. —will likely go away with time. Instead, focus on what matters more—the fact that you’re about to meet your tiny tot!
You’ve got this, momma-to-be!
Dealing with pregnancy-related skin concerns can be stressful, as not all products will be safe for your baby and suitable for your right now. Fortunately, there are still many ways to care for your skin despite the changes that your hormones may cause. Save this list of skincare dos and dont’s so you can practice safe skincare while pregnant, and maintain the glow you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
For more practical tips on pregnancy, beauty, and everything in between, head on over to our blog.