The “pregnancy glow.” Pregnant women expect it and everyone else comments on it. But alas, a radiant complexion isn’t the only skin side effect of carrying your future mini-me. Your skin changes as much as your belly does—and that means you might experience other manifestations, too. Here’s the lowdown on what to potentially expect and how you can support your skin as you grow your little bundle of joy!
A CAVEAT: Make your decisions (skin care and otherwise) with your healthcare provider—not us!
Before getting into our suggestions for a glow-giving skincare routine, we first want to underscore the importance of talking to your healthcare specialist or OB/GYN before making any decisions on skincare products during pregnancy (including the ones mentioned here). Only your doctor can ultimately tell you which formulas are safe to use.
In this article, we simply discuss products that do NOT contain ingredients commonly found on Ingredients To Avoid While Pregnant lists, but again: always check with your doctor first!
That being said, let’s talk about some of the common skin conditions you may notice during pregnancy, why they occur and what you can possibly do about them.
During pregnancy, it’s very common to notice darkening in some areas of your face and body. This is known as hyperpigmentation. A rise in hormones like estrogen, progesterone and melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) is thought to play a role.
Hyperpigmentation affects up to 90 percent of pregnant women, and it’s temporary and usually goes away after birth. In the meantime, even if the dark spots from pregnancy hormones can’t be helped, you can help reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation as much as possible from other sources (like UV rays) by incorporating vitamin C into your skincare routine.
This rich, buttery cream contains the superfruit Kakadu plum, the world’s richest fruit derived a source of vitamin C. Vitamin C has been shown to decrease the formation of melanin and reduce pigmentation, leaving your skin looking brighter and more luminous.
Another skin change you may notice during pregnancy is the formation of stretch marks, sometimes affectionately referred to as “tiger stripes.”
Your body rapidly grows to accommodate your little one, causing your skin to stretch quickly in a short amount of time. Stretch marks occur as the dermis (the layer of skin just beneath the outermost layer) tears and forms scars. The color of stretch marks can start off ranging from red to brown but typically lighten over time. They can also sometimes itch.
Although you’ll inevitably gain a certain amount of weight quickly during pregnancy, maintaining a healthy weight throughout pregnancy (whatever your healthcare provider recommends) can help reduce the formation of stretch marks, according to the Mayo Clinic. You can also try a moisturizing oil to support your skin as it stretches.
This body oil doesn’t feel greasy and absorbs quickly for a rich moisturizing experience that will soothe stressed skin. It contains plumeria flower blossom extract that serves as an emollient to lock in moisture. The uplifting floral scent of this body oil is naturally derived from the essential oils of jasmine, lavender, ylang-ylang (a tropical flower) and mandarin.
For some lucky women acne improves during pregnancy, but for others, it becomes worse or even appears for the first time. Also known as “pregnancy acne,” these flare-ups can result from changing hormone levels and increased oil production during pregnancy. This extra oil, or sebum, can make pores clog more easily, causing bacteria to multiply and leading to the formation of pimples. Acne usually develops on the face, chest or back.
Since many common acne-fighting ingredients, like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, are off-limits during pregnancy, be sure to consult your doctor before using any anti-acne skin care products on your skin. In the meantime, you can help your skin stay clean and clarified by using a gentle cleansing cream to ensure pores are decongested and skin stays balanced.
This citrus-scented and creamy foaming cleanser contain alpha hydroxy acids (or AHAs) which can help improve the appearance of blemishes. The AHAs in this cream is derived from the citrus fruit of caviar lime (a.k.a. the Finger Lime). Don’t let the name fool you—the caviar in this cream has nothing to do with fish eggs. It gets the name caviar because when this little fruit is cut open, it’s filled with tiny, lime green or pink balls of juice! The gentle exfoliating action of caviar lime’s AHAs, which dissolve dead skin cells, help clarify and brighten the skin. Just add a little water to this cream and it transforms into a luxurious mousse.
Your skin changing is just another sign you’re growing a small human—and that’s beautiful. But if you want to minimize the appearance of stretch marks, hyperpigmentation, and blemishes, who says you can’t take care of your skin as an act of self-care and self-love? Talk to your doctor to check on the safety of the skin care you choose, then indulge, mama!