One unfortunate side effect many women experience during pregnancy is changes in their skin. Increased estrogen production makes skin oily and prone to breakouts, while the expanding breasts and abdomen feel tight and itchy. Pregnancy skin care is especially important to keep it in good condition. Take comfort. Negative symptoms usually subside following delivery, and the skin returns to its normal condition.
Pregnancy increases hormones, which sends oil production in to overdrive. During the next nine months, you will probably notice more acne breakouts on your face, back and chest. Wash with a mild cleanser two times a day to avoid acne. Avoid excessive cleansing or too-hot water, which can dry out skin and make the problem worse.
As your breasts and belly continue to grow and stretch, your skin will probably feel itchy and irritated. Combat these symptoms with a moisturizer that contains cocoa butter. However, choose an unscented moisturizer, as it is less likely to cause irritation. Many women worry about stretch marks during pregnancy. Although you cannot prevent them, regular moisturizing can reduce the severity of their appearance.
Protecting your skin from the sun is always important, but it’s especially so during pregnancy. Increased melanin production at this time makes the face look dark and blotchy, a phenomenon called “mask of pregnancy.” Apply a sunscreen with at least an SPF 15 to minimize dark patches. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and loose-fitting clothes that reduce sun exposure. Avoid going outdoors between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun is at its strongest.
The Institute of Medicine recommends pregnant women drink at least 10 cups of fluids each day. Though drinking water is the most-effective way to meet this fluid requirement, drinks, such as low-fat milk, 100 percent fruit juice and herbal teas, will help you meet that goal. Although they contain water, limit caffeinated tea, coffee and soda. You can also incorporate water-dense fruits and vegetables into your diet, such as melons, cucumbers, celery and tomatoes.
The occasional massage or facial not only feels good, but they can relieve pregnancy aches and pains. When you schedule your appointment, be sure to let them know you are pregnant. Massage parlors and salons can typically tailor the experience to suit your pregnancy needs. Avoid deep-tissue massages and foot reflexology, which can affect pressure points of the abdomen. Refrain from steam spas since significant rises in your body temperature are not good for your baby.
Pregnancy skin care includes avoiding unnecessary exposure to chemicals in the form of hair dyes, depilatories and bleaching creams. Dr. Barbara Reed, a dermatologist with the Denver Skin Care clinic, also advises against using skin products with retinol, as they’ve been linked to birth defects. Instead, she suggests using vitamin C serums.
- beauty pregnant woman image by Anatoly Tiplyashin from Fotolia.com