How You Can Care for Your Skin During Pregnancy
Pregnant women often anticipate morning sickness and swelling, but skin changes can come unexpectedly for first-time moms. About 20% of pregnant women have itchy skin during their pregnancy. On top of that, they may also develop darker skin around their cheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip because of melasma or chloasma. Such bodily changes can be uncomfortable or even alarming. However, you can easily resolve these skin concerns by following these skincare tips for pregnant women:
Follow a skincare routine that targets your concerns
Itchy skin can be really irritating for pregnant mothers, especially when you’re trying to get your well-deserved rest! However, this itchiness is actually just a side effect of your skin’s dryness. Expectant mothers may develop dry skin due to increased vomiting, diarrhea, higher blood volume, or even dehydration.
So if you want to protect your skin, you need to follow a skincare routine for dry skin. Start by using a gentle cleanser that can remove makeup, dirt, oil, and sweat without stripping away your skin’s natural moisture. Then, apply a moisturizing treatment all over your skin so that you can provide it with enough hydration and nourishment. Using hydrating cleansers and moisturizers will help your skin fight against the dryness and itchiness that may occur during your pregnancy.
Protect your skin from potential sun damage
Besides having itchy and dry skin, you may also develop melasma during your pregnancy. The changes in your skin’s pigmentation can be caused by the fluctuations of hormones within your body. These changes signal the melanocyte-stimulating hormones to develop excess pigment and create dark spots on your skin. On top of that, sun exposure can also worsen your melasma and stimulate the hormones that create melanocytes, thus causing dark spots to develop.
While you cannot stop the hormonal changes in your body, you can still opt to protect your skin from excess sun exposure. You can achieve this by using sunscreen with safe ingredients. A broad-spectrum and water-resistant sunscreen with SPF 30 or more is recommended to protect your skin from the sun. However, it’s best to stick to physical sunscreens as opposed to chemical sunscreens, since the former uses FDA-approved ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Of course, another option to protect your skin is a wide-brimmed hat and clothes with good coverage. For more information for treatments for melasma.
Avoid ingredients that are harmful to pregnant women
Besides choosing sunscreens with safe ingredients, it’s also important for you to prevent any adverse effects by avoiding potentially harmful skincare ingredients. These substances can be absorbed into the bloodstream and enter your baby through the placenta. Even if they’re essential in maintaining a product’s quality, it’s best to avoid these skincare ingredients while you’re pregnant or even while you’re breastfeeding.
For instance, parabens are commonly used as a preservative in beauty products like lotions and creams. However, it was discovered that this skincare ingredient can be absorbed into your skin and effect your baby’s weight. Researchers have found a positive correlation between parabens in a mother’s body and a higher body mass index in their children. Besides avoiding parabens, expectant mothers should also avoid retinol, retinyl palmitate, and other retinoids. These vitamin A derivatives can be very potent since they can cause liver toxicity and birth defects. So, try to maintain the health of your baby by caring for your skin with safe products.
Lastly, choose clothes that are loose and are made of natural materials (like cotton) to avoid itching from unnecessary rubbing and contact with synthetic elements.
Eat For Healthy Skin
- For melasma, Dr. Wu stresses getting enough folate and zinc. Wondering how to get them? Try beans and nuts.
- To avoid stretch marks, Dr Wu. says that foods high protein are key. Foods like grass-fed beef and high-protein veggies can help strengthen the elastic fibers in your skin that make your skin stretchier and harder for stretch marks to develop. Protein is also important for your baby’s brain development.
- If you’re looking to tackle acne and rashes, you need some omega-3s. Dr. Wu’s favorite place to find them: walnuts, chia seeds, fish and grass-fed beef (which is also high in zinc). As a bonus, omega-3s are great for baby.
- Want eczema and dry skin to be gone? Probiotics can do the trick, according to Dr. Wu. So grab some Greek yogurt or pickles to help clear up those dry patches and satisfy your cravings. And if you need more of an excuse, probiotics can also help your baby and your breast milk
- Ditch surgery and processed foods! (Wu, J. 2018, Feed Your Face, Source)
Your skin changes during your pregnancy because of the hormones and other developments within your body. To protect your skin, follow a proper skincare routine, use FDA-approved sunscreens, and avoid harmful skincare ingredients. If itching continues, there could be liver issues and you should consult your physician. If you want more tips for pregnancy, read our articles on motherhood here at Lucy Jo Home. Our resources will help you care for your body and child during this important stage in your life.