Pregnancy can wreak havoc on your skin. The change in hormonal activity in a pregnant woman's body may result in skin issues like hyperpigmentation, hormonal acne, and dryness—just imagine how stressful it can get when all these happen at the same time. While the baby’s health is the optimal priority of every mother-to-be, you can still aspire for a beautiful glow while you're at it. Here are five things to keep in mind:
1. Consult your physician.
This is the principal rule for every pregnant woman before trying any new products. While most brands in the market may claim that their products are "pregnancy safe," it is still best to consult your physician about the products you plan to use. Note that each pregnancy is different, so what may have worked for others might not work for you or what may have worked during your first pregnancy might not work the next time around.
2. Always use sunscreen.
Dermatologist Dr. Harshna Bijlani shares to Vogue that due to heightened sensitivity, pregnant women's skin does not bode well with sun exposure. While most pregnant women experience an increase in melanin production, which is good in combatting UV rays, this also makes them prone to hyperpigmentation or chloasma or what they call "pregnancy mask." Wearing a minimum of SPF 30 daily (mineral sunscreens with zinc or titanium oxide are best) and wearing protective clothing will be helpful in keeping skin protected from the harsh UV rays and dark spots.
3. Take note of the ingredients you should avoid.
Any form of Vitamin A, such as retinoid and retinol, must be avoided during pregnancy because studies have shown that these have detrimental effects to both the mother and baby. Steer clear of the following ingredients as well: salicylic acid, isotretinoin, benzoyl peroxide, clindamycin, doxycycline, minocycline, tetracycline, and tazorotone. Though these may give you a clearer complexion, these can cause changes in your pregnancy cycle and worse, cause birth defects. If you still wish to exfoliate, you may opt to use milder prescribed topical creams such as erythromycin, azelaic acid or lower concentrations of glycolic acid. All of which must still be under the guidance of your OB-GYN.
4. Use a Vitamin C serum.
Vitamin C is a great antioxidant that is safe to use during pregnancy. It brightens skin, protects you from sun damage, and reduces the appearance of pores. While it's still a form of acid, it's safe to use while pregnant. However, refrain from using one that contains parabens, which are cosmetic preservatives that when exposed to your skin for long periods of time, could penetrate deep enough into the skin and possibly reach your baby.
5. Skip facial peels and lasers.
While there is no conclusive research about the negative effects of peels and laser to pregnancy, it is still better to be safe than sorry. Facial peels have high concentrations of hydroxy acids, while lasers emit radiation—both are not suitable for those expecting. Instead, you can opt for a physical scrub or an AHA like gycolic acid to exfoliate.