Sensitivity, spots and stretch marks, pregnancy really puts your skin through its paces. But stick to a thorough regime and invest in a few key products and you’ll be glowing from head to toe quicker than you can say ‘trimester’
“Hormones are the biggest culprit of pregnancy skin complaints,” explains skin and hormone specialist Dr Terry, who is renowned for her innovative approach to skincare health. “A rise in the stress hormone cortisol causes cellular inflammation, skin sensitivity and you are at higher risk of breakouts, pigmentation and wrinkles.” But it’s not all bad news, read our expert guide to save your skin…
PIGMENTATION, AKA ‘THE PREGNANCY MASK’
Most commonly found on the nose, forehead, chin and upper lip, dark patches can appear due to an increased activity of melanocytes. “You may also see an overall boost in colour, freckles and moles,” explains Dr Terry.
Reducing your exposure to the sun is crucial. Stay protected with a mineral sunscreen, they cause less irritation than chemical versions.
“When hormones start to influence your body you may notice your skin becomes drier,” warns Sian Sutherland of Mio Skincare and Mama Mio.
Avoid any harsh skincare that strips the skin, you want to clean it without removing vital oils. “Use a hydrating serum or lotion twice daily and a hydrating mask weekly to nourish the skin,” says Dr Terry, who recommends you eat foods rich in omega 3 fats like oily fish and kale.
Many pregnant women develop skin sensitivity due to the sudden surge of hormones. This includes itchiness, eczema, rashes and an intolerance to certain ingredients.
“Go for gentle skincare, avoid harsh chemicals like Beta Hydroxy Acids and Retinol and stay away from scented products,” advises Dr Terry. Also, keep your products in the fridge to help soothe your skin.
While not on your face this is one of the biggest challenges during pregnancy. They can appear as reddish-purple sometimes brown streaks on your breasts, stomach, thighs and hips.
“Your tummy, boobs and butt are going to grow and stretch so you need to prep your skin for that enormous change,” says Sian. “You need to use a cream or oil that is rich in omega oils and use it religiously, even after giving birth to give your skin elasticity and strength.”
A hormone imbalance can lead to an increased production of sebum which can block pores and lead to breakouts.
“Reduce inflammation inside the body by minimising your intake of sugar, caffeine and gluten,” says Dr Terry. Use non-comedogenic products that don’t clog pores and keep a bottle of tea tree oil handy for emergencies (it is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory). Always speak to your GP before using acne treatments.
Words by Alice Manning