Every part of the body goes through changes during pregnancy, & the skin is no exception. Skin changes occur in about 90% of pregnant women, in one form or another, due to the surge of hormones. Pregnancy glow is not a myth. Blood volume increases during pregnancy by almost 50%, so vascular changes such as flushing and inflammation are not surprising. In addition to redness, sebaceous glands may produce increased secretions, giving the skin an oily sheen or shine with the result of acne & hypigmentation.
Here are some of the most common skin changes during pregnancy, as well as a short list of ingredients considered safe and others to be avoided.
The Mask of Pregnancy - Melasma – or the mask of pregnancy – is the most common change associated with pregnancy. It is characterized by irregularly shaped light or dark brown patches of hyperpigmentation. This discoloration & darkening usually found on the chin, upper lip, cheeks & forehead. Melasma cannot be prevented, but intensity can be minimized using brightening serums, such as C12 Pure Bright Serum, proper exfoliation and limiting exposure to ultraviolet light. For safe exfoliation, use Lactic Acid to resurface and brighten the skin such as Daily Microfoliant, Daily Superfoliant. Daily use of an SPF 30+ is a must. Physical sunscreens like Titanium Dioxide & Zinc Oxide tend to be preferred choices, as they reflect heat away from the skin – perfect for the pregnancy-flushed face.
Avoid using Hydroquinone during pregnancy. Studies have shown its topical use on humans is systemically absorbed.
Psoriasis, Eczema or Rosacea - If you are predisposed to psoriasis, eczema or rosacea. Symptoms can worsen for some, while conditions can improve for others during pregnancy. Reasons for this are unclear and it depends on the individual. Be aware of rashes, dry skin and general itchiness potentially coming & going during pregnancy; however, if it becomes severe, you should seek advice from your doctor.
We suggest a gentle skin care routine during your pregnancy such as cleansing gel or cream cleansers such as Essential Cleansing Solution, Special Cleansing Gel and Ultracalming cleanser which contain calming & soothing ingredients like Panthenol, Bisabolol and Red Hogweed. Barrier-building ingredients such as Oat Kernel (Avena Sativa), Sunflower Seed Extract and Borage Seed Oil reduce irritation. Opt for Redness Relief Primer with conditioning silicones and a green tint to neutralize skin sensitivity. Avoid abrasive exfoliation or harsh scrubs. Avoid the hot showers & products containing artificial fragrances, which can further aggravate sensitized skin.
Acne - The influx of the hormones progesterone, estrogen & other androgens during pregnancy can stimulate the sebaceous glands & the sweat glands, resulting in more perspiration & breakouts. With an increase in sebum, the skin becomes oilier, follicles are blocked & acne may appear on the face, & occasionally the chest & back. It is important to keep the skin clear & shine-free by opting for oil-absorbing clays such as Bentonite & Kaolin as in Skin Refining Masque. Banish breakout-causing bacteria with Lactobacillus Ferment, Zinc Gluconate and Spirea Ulmaria Extract. If pustules and papules are the challenge, some doctors approve low concentrations of Benzoyl Peroxide as a spot treatment such as Breakout Control. High levels of Salicylic Acid are definitely a no-no. Even though studies have not been conducted on its effects topically with pregnant women, doctors anecdotally recommend that pregnant women should avoid using high concentrations of Salicylic Acid. However, small amounts of Salicylic Acid in a spot treatment or a wash-off product used once or twice a day is typically considered safe. Steer clear of products covering more areas or that sit for longer periods of time on the skin.
Lastly, retinoids are one of the skin care ingredients expectant moms should also avoid. These powerful substances help reduce wrinkles & improve skin tone, but some studies have shown high doses of Vitamin A during pregnancy can be harmful to an unborn child. Avoid prescription retinoids & oral retinoids, which are known to cause birth defects & should not be taken.