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Caring For Your Skin During Pregnancy
Here at Rosie Cooper Aesthetics, a number of our clients in Oxfordshire and Warwickshire have been asking our advice recently about how to best take care of their skin during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
We thought we would share some of our top tips in a blog post as many women are looking for peace of mind at this time, though they still want to take good care of their skin and may need to address some skin issues as a result of hormonal changes.
Some of this information is also important to be aware of if you are trying to become pregnant as there may be certain ingredients you should avoid while there is a chance of pregnancy.
It’s an important time to give your skin some TLC and these tips should help you achieve that beautiful pregnancy glow!
Topical retinol cream and its more powerful relative tretinoin are real gold standard ingredients both for anti-ageing and also to help tackle adult acne, since they work to speed up skin cell turnover and rejuvenation. Unfortunately, these ingredients are contraindicated while you are pregnant or breastfeeding, so need to be avoided. This is because retinol and tretinoin are derived from Vitamin A, high doses of which must be avoided during pregnancy.
Therefore, we would advise you to stop using retinol or tretinoin while there is a chance you may be pregnant. It is also important to check through your skincare regime with your skincare provider (ideally through a medical clinic) for other active ingredients in your skincare products as there may be others which are contraindicated for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Treat Hormonal Acne Safely
One pregnancy side effect that many women experience is either the worsening of or onset of adult acne, particularly in hormonal areas such as on the chin and jawline. This can have a negative effect on our self-confidence and may prove difficult to treat as some as the usual topical acne treatments are not available during pregnancy and breastfeeding. For example, a great ingredient to tackle adult acne is benzoyl peroxide, which unfortunately is contraindicated during pregnancy. A safe alternative may be an acne treatment facial wash, with ingredients in a reduced strength, which will be washed off the skin after a short time so absorption is lessened; however, you will still need to check specific ingredients with your skincare specialist.
Remember that many facial treatments such as skin peels and laser treatments will also be contraindicated during pregnancy. In the meantime, pay some extra attention to skin hygiene; make sure that your makeup and any brushes/applicators are clean and change pillowcases regularly. However, be careful not to over-clean the skin and dry it out – it’s important to keep skin clean but acne will not be helped by washing skin too much. Hopefully as your hormones settle down the acne will too but if you need advice make sure you contact a reputable skin specialist.
Protect Your Skin With SPF
During pregnancy, hormonal changes mean that the skin produces more melanin (dark pigment) and you are at greater risk of developing chloasma, sometimes called ‘the mask of pregnancy’ due to the way it develops on the face. This is a form of melasma which can affect different parts of the face, you may notice brown patches appearing like large freckles, or as though freckles had joined together. While for some women these will fade after the birth, we believe the safest approach is to prevent this skin damage in the first place so we’re not risking permanent damage. A key part of any skincare routine, during pregnancy or not, should be to protect the skin daily and regularly with high SPF.
As well as helping to prevent melasma pigmentation changes in the skin, SPF is crucial to help protect against the ageing effects of the sun which contribute to lines and wrinkles. If you haven’t already started, why not make pregnancy the time you start to get into the habit of protecting your skin from the sun? We need to use SPF on the face daily, regardless of whether the weather is sunny or not, to help preserve our skin health all year round. Simply add SPF to your morning skincare routine and make sure you have it in your bag to reapply regularly if you’re going to be outdoors. We recommend Obagi SPF products as they block both UVA and UVB rays, are dermatology tested, and non-comedogenic meaning they won’t block your pores or leave your skin greasy.
Boost Your Skin’s Vitamin C
Vitamin C can be a wonderful skincare ingredient (so long as its strength and quality are effective) and the good news is that this is safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. In our clinics we chose Obagi Medical as our skincare range due to the quality and evidence-based nature of their products – they actually work! Obagi’s vitamin C formulations use L-ascorbic acid which is the most bio-available form of vitamin C, so it penetrates the skin and can get to work where it’s needed.
There are now five powerful vitamin C products to choose from in the Obagi range so there is likely to be something to suit your skin; this includes a fabulous face mask which is just the thing for a bit of pre or post-natal pampering! What are the benefits of Vitamin C? Vitamin C helps improve the appearance of uneven skin tone, fine lines, and wrinkles, it protects the skin from damage, and is highly anti-inflammatory, it protects skin from water loss and really helps to boost the brightness and radiance of the skin. We would always recommend adding vitamin C product into your daily skincare routine.
Get Glowing with Skin Hydration
We all know that drinking plenty of water is good for us and our skin health so if you find you’re constantly rushing around and forget to take a minute to have a drink, try to get into this good habit now, especially while you have a good reason to take things a bit easier! During pregnancy some women find their skin is drier and more sensitive so you may find you need to use more moisturiser and you’ll want to avoid anything too stimulating or scented products which will make skin more sensitive.
If your skin is dry, flaky, or feeling tight after you cleanse, this is a sign you need to add more moisture. We recommend Obagi Hydrate and Hydrate Luxe since they provide both instant and long-lasting hydration to the skin. Within the Obagi range there are also hydrating and anti-ageing products you can safely use to target the eye area during pregnancy – especially helpful to minimise fine lines while aesthetic procedures and other facial treatments are contraindicated for you. Keeping your skin well-hydrated means will help it look more radiant and also helps preserve your skin’s collagen, so this will help minimise fine lines which can be caused by dehydration.
We’re Here to Help
Please note that this article does not constitute medical advice. If you need further skincare advice during pregnancy or at any stage, or you would like to find out more about the Obagi Medical product range, please contact us to arrange an online Obagi Skincare Consultation with our Clinic Manager and Obagi Specialist, Catherine.