Rejuvenate Your Skin – “Feeling the Glow”
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One thing I love about being pregnant is being told I’m “glowing”. It’s great, because it either means:
a) I look awful, people feel sorry for me and are trying to make me feel better by giving me a compliment. My husband brings me tacos on particularly rough days. (Does this shirt make anyone else feel seen?)
b) I really am rocking it! Because I have a 2 year-old to chase around, this is rarely ever what people mean, but when it’s on, I know I look good! I hope you flaunt it when you’re feeling it too!
Seriously though, it’s hard to rock an awesome attitude while growing that baby bump, especially in the first trimester. After the second trimester hits and your energy is back, it’s a bit easier to be in a cheerful mood, but then those pesky skin problems start popping up.
If you’re a first time mom, we’re talking about:
Stretch Marks: It's time to embrace your inner tiger (or zebra if that’s more your thing). These lovely skin “effects“ are the ones most people think of when you think about pregnancy skin. Think about it, your skin is physically stretching as your body grows to accommodate baby, and your hormones change your skin’s elasticity.
Up to 90 percent of women develop stretch marks by the third trimester of pregnancy, most often on our breasts and abdomen areas. Most of our stretch marks will never fully disappear, but the pinkish-purple marks will fade to the color of the surrounding skin and shrink when you’re postpartum.
Itching and stretch marks go hand in hand, so it’s important to apply creams to soften and reduce the urge to scratch. Itches love scratches, but you’ll want to minimize the damage done to your skin. Resist the urge to itch with all your might!
The Pregnancy “Mask” and Hyperpigmentation: I never had this with my first, but who knows if I’ll get it with #2. My mother had the “mask” with both my brother and sister so we will see. Many pregnant women experience some type of hyperpigmentation during pregnancy.
More than just your face, hyperpigmentation darkens the skin tone on body parts such as the areolas, genitals, scars, and creates that lovely linea alba (a dark line) down the middle of the abdomen. Most common in women with darker complexions, hyperpigmentation can occur in women of any skin tone.
Frequently, pregnant women experience a darkening of skin on the face. While this darkening of the skin can happen at any time, when a woman is pregnant, it’s called chloasma, or the “mask” of pregnancy.
Sun exposure makes it worse, so a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen should be used daily during pregnancy, even in winter! Please, for the love of God, talk with your healthcare provider if you have concerns and stay away from Google. In most cases, chloasma resolves after pregnancy.
Acne, Bacne and.... Chest-ne? Yep! Flash back to high school! Not just on your face, an acne breakout can happen on your chest or back. Some of us will be lucky and our skin complexion will improve.
In an interview with WebMD, Bruce E. Katz, MD, medical director of the Juva Skin and Laser Center and an associate clinical professor of dermatology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, both in New York says “Acne is a hormonally-driven condition, which is why some women take oral contraceptives to clear up their complexion, so it makes sense that hormone fluctuations during pregnancy would affect acne.”
Good news again, though. Like the previous skin ailments, your complexion is likely to clear up after you deliver your baby.
- Spider Angiomas: Ugh. What a horrible name, and they’re as unsightly as they sound. Spider angiomas are collections of tiny dilated blood vessels that usually radiate from a central point and resemble the legs of a spider." Once again, we can thank our changing hormone levels for these new features. Don’t be surprised if they develop on your face, chest, arms, even abdomen. If you do get one, keep your fingers crossed that it clears up after pregnancy, because if not, laser treatment may be the only way to remove them.
Well… now what? Yeah, all of that sounds pretty depressing. So what do we do to combat these common pregnancy skin problems so that we can “Feel the Glow”? It starts with just a little self-love and pampering is all!
Mama said, mama said, “Take off your makeup!” Our mothers were right, taking off your makeup is the foundation to basic facial skincare. By using a makeup remover or oil-based cream to take off your makeup, you’ll wash the day off before you use a cleanser. After you dry off, pick a cleanser that suits your skin type. We recommend something like EltaMD’s cleanser to keep your breakouts to a minimum. It’s oil-free and pH-balanced, safe for all skin types, the protease enzymes help reduce inflammation, and gentle enough for daily use, morning and night. Apply the cleanser according to the instructions on the label. More often than not, it’ll say to rub gently in a circular motion and rinse with water.
Exfoliate! This isn’t something you want to do every day, but is recommend a few times per week. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells and helps avoid bacterial infections (a.k.a more acne!). We suggest trying something like Caribbrew’s Mango Mandarin Haitian Lip and Face Scrub. Full of anti-inflamitory properties that improve blood flow, this scrub is made with organic green coffee and is loaded with antioxidants that prevent wrinkles and puffiness. Plus, its smells AMAZING. It’s fine texture isn’t abrasive on your face and you can use it bi-weekly. Of course, you can use it on other parts of your body as well, like that growing baby bump!
Tone. It may seem like this isn’t an important step, but you’ll want to make sure to tone your skin. I love, love, love, and highly recommend SKIN&CO Roma TrufFle Therapy Face Toner. It’s formulated with natural extracts of truffle, calendula, rose and rosemary, in a blend to deeply purify the skin while contributing the antiseptic powers of witch hazel and sage to remove dead skin and bacteria to prevent future breakouts (hallelujah!) while boosting the skin with extra antioxidants. By applying a toner, you’re balancing your skin’s pH level and preparing it for the final step – moisturizing!
Moisturize. It may seem counterintuitive, but skin moisturizing prevents cracks, dry and dull skin. As your skin dries, it causes itching. A good moisturizer is light in nature and keeps your sking protected for many hours after application. We suggest pairing EltaMD’s cleanser with this moisturizer. It’s oil-free, fragrance-free, noncomedogenic and safe for sensitive skin.
Four simple steps is all it takes to start boosting your confidence in yourself and your complexion. Take care of yourself mama, you’re worth it!