Most women start to rethink what they’re putting into their body once they find out they’re expecting, but have you thought about what you put on your body? Your body goes through a lot of changes during pregnancy and it’s important you take just as good care of your skin as you do your health. From itchiness to breakouts, learn about some of the most common concerns related to skincare during pregnancy and our top tips on how to help!
How skin changes during pregnancy
During pregnancy, your skin is affected by sudden growth spurts and ever-fluctuating hormones. As your baby bump grows, so does your skin, which can cause stretch marks and itchiness. Pigmentation and discolouration is also common, plus many women experience acne breakouts and super-sensitivity.
What to use to treat hormonal acne
Combine stress, increased oil secretion and raging hormones, many women experience acne breakouts as a result, particularly around the jawline and chin. It’s important to avoid products that contain alcohol or fragrance as these can cause further inflammation - instead, try balancing treatments with alpha hydroxyl acids and gentle, fragrance free cleansers.
Stay away from frequent use of acne remedies and facial peels that contain salicylic acid, as this has been found unsafe when taken orally. Small amounts in a toner once a day is fine, but if you would like to have a peel treatment, it’s best to get it done professionally.
Dealing with heightened sensitivity
You might find that a product you’ve used for years suddenly makes skin red or inflamed. Again, this is because your hormones cause extra-sensitivity to everything from the sun to your usual detergent. Try switching to non-bio washing powder and choose different skincare products; there are plenty of brands now that cater specifically for pregnant skin, like Mama Mio or Bloom and Blossom that are free from any harsh chemicals or unnecessary additives.
How to prevent stretch marks and soothe itchiness
As your skin rapidly stretches, the dermis layer of skin tears, creating marks on the skin that are a different colour and texture. They can appear anywhere on your body, but generally are found where you gain weight around your tummy, thighs and boobs.
Over 90% of women will get stretch marks during pregnancy, but you can help lessen the chances by keeping skin moisturised and elasticated with nourishing butters and oils. These products often soothe itchiness too, helping alleviate dryness for skin that feels more comfortable and soft.
Always wear sunscreen
It’s more important than ever to wear SPF everyday and always whenever you’re out in the sun, as you might find you burn more easily during pregnancy. Choose one with at least factor 15 and ideally, wear a hat and avoid staying out for long periods of time. If your skin reacts to your usual sunscreen, choose one with a physical filter that will block the sun’s rays, rather than chemical filters that simply absorb them.
Hewitt doesn’t endorse any one particular brand or product over another, as everyone’s skin is different and it’s important you make an informed choice on what’s best for you individually. When it comes to skincare, it’s always best to check with your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about a particular product or ingredient.
Don’t worry too much about long term effects - most skincare issues will sort themselves out once your baby has been born, with your hormones returning to normal.