Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful journeys in life – but the process of bringing life into the world can have some unexpected effects on the health and appearance of your skin. Much to the dismay of many expectant mothers, skin changes related to pregnancy can be challenging to deal with, especially as there are many restrictions placed on the types of treatments and products pregnant women can use. Our experts at ProMD Health in Baltimore, MD understand the importance of good skincare during pregnancy and will help you to support your aesthetic goals.
What Is Skincare During Pregnancy Like?
To put it simply, skincare during pregnancy is very restricted. There is a whole list of aesthetic treatments and skincare products that pregnant women and breastfeeding women are advised to avoid, including injectable treatments, laser treatments, and many topical serums containing retinoids. In a very real sense, not only will your life change while you’re expecting but your regular skincare routine will, as well.
That said, pregnant women should absolutely keep up with their skincare. Pregnancy causes a host of hormonal changes that directly impact the normal processes of your skin, including oil production, cellular turnover, photosensitivity, and much more. While the most obvious skin change may be the possibility of stretch marks on the stomach or breasts, other visible skin changes will be evident during pregnancy, particularly on the face.
But What About Pregnancy Glow?
It’s one of the most common colloquialisms across any culture: pregnant women have a radiant “glow” that makes their skin look wonderful and healthy. But the fact of the matter is that many women don’t glow during pregnancy, or if they do, they only glow for a short amount of time, usually within the second trimester. The “glow” is generally a temporary phenomenon that tends to come and go based on several factors beyond your control.
So, what is the glow? It isn’t just the happiness associated with budding new life. Research indicates that the tell-tale pregnancy “glow” is caused by a variety of factors, including greater blood volume that flushes the skin and more active oil glands that increase sebum production so the skin appears shinier. The downside of increased oil production, however, may be acne or other skin changes. Even if you’re glowing now, it’s still wise to find good skincare during pregnancy.
Why Do Pregnant Women Have Restrictions?
To put it simply, pregnant women have restrictions for the type of skincare treatments and products they can use because of the risk of harming the unborn baby. Even if a treatment isn’t being used on the abdomen area, the way the body absorbs products may impact what the baby is exposed to. For example, women are restricted from using retinoids because higher levels of Vitamin A may be harmful to an unborn baby. The same can be said for injectable treatments and even laser treatments, which can potentially stress the body.
Going from being able to use any treatments or products you want to be so restricted can be daunting. But these restrictions are put in place by skin experts and physicians for a good reason – and once you learn how to work within the confines of these restrictions, you will realize that many skincare doors are still open to you. In fact, you may even find products and treatments that you will want to use well after pregnancy and breastfeeding.
What Are Common Pregnancy-Related Skin Concerns?
While stretch marks are the top skin-related concern many pregnant women anticipate, there are several other skin concerns related to pregnancy that may cause challenges. For example, it’s not uncommon to develop spider veins on the legs or face during pregnancy, which is largely caused by the increased blood volume in the skin and hormonal changes. Some other common skin concerns during pregnancy include:
Many pregnant women will find that they have new skin sensitivity, such as being more reactive to certain soaps, pollutants, make-up, and even sun exposure. Skin rashes and redness are very common throughout all three trimesters. New sensitivity to certain products means it’s important to use active skin ingredients that are formulated for sensitive skin to avoid unnecessary irritation.
Melasma, or patches of brown skin on the face, can be one of the more challenging aspects of pregnancy-related skin changes. Melasma is generally caused by hormonal changes and increased sun sensitivity and can be very difficult to get rid of by yourself. In fact, the most common methods of reducing melasma include laser treatments, which pregnant women cannot use. However, the right combination of skincare products and aesthetic treatments can fade the appearance of melasma – and even prevent future dark spots.
Dryness is another common skin condition pregnant women endure. Typically, skin dryness is caused by hormonal changes that make it more difficult for your skin to retain moisture, especially on the face, breasts, and stomach. While special lotions exist to fortify the ceramides in your skin, you may not be able to use those lotions on the face. To combat facial dryness, you may need to use specially formulated moisturizers that are gentle enough to hydrate without causing breakouts.
Acne may be one of the more frustrating skin concerns that happen during pregnancy. While sometimes caused by excess oil production from the coveted pregnancy glow, acne can appear on the chest and back, as well. Treating acne during pregnancy is more challenging than usual since many acne-fighting ingredients shouldn’t be used by pregnant women. However, your skin expert will be able to find products and treatments that will help you control or prevent acne breakouts.
What Skincare During Pregnancy Treatments Can You Use?
It might not seem like it, but you actually have several aesthetic treatments at your disposal during pregnancy. The common denominators for pregnancy-safe aesthetic treatments include being non-invasive and chemical-free. As long as you stick to these two suggestions, you will be able to easily incorporate several treatments to care for your skin. Some of these treatment options include:
The HydraFacial is one of the most popular facials in the world and can be safely used by anyone, including pregnant women. This facial exfoliates, extracts, and hydrates to completely rejuvenate the skin and restore balance to the overall health of the skin. Using this facial can be helpful for pregnant women since it can regulate oil production and reduce the factors that contribute to acne breakouts. This facial can also combat dryness.
Microneedling can also be used by pregnant women, particularly for those who are experiencing melasma, dark spots, dryness, and excess oil production. Microneedling involves using a handheld device that pierces the top layers of the skin to stimulate the body’s natural regenerative cycle, which improves the appearance of the skin by stimulating collagen production and cellular turnover.
Dermaplaning is an exfoliating treatment that sloughs dead skin cells to improve the appearance of dark spots and dryness, as well as removes peach fuzz from the skin surface. Because some pregnancy hormones may cause additional hair growth on the face, dermaplaning can be an essential treatment to keep your skin looking and feeling fresh throughout pregnancy.
What Products for Skincare During Pregnancy Can You Use?
While you may not be able to use some of your regular skincare products, you will be able to use new products that are approved for pregnant women. One of the best brands for expectant mothers is IS Clinical, a collection of clinical-strength skincare products made with ingredients that are friendly to pregnant women.
IS Clinical has a wide range of products that can address every skin issue, including oily skin, blemishes, dry skin, flushing, hyperpigmentation, and uneven tone and texture. From specialty sets curated to address targeted concerns to building your own regimen from the comprehensive IS Clinical line of products, you will be able to find skincare products that will work with you and your unique skincare needs during pregnancy.
What Will Your Treatment Be Like?
For your skincare during pregnancy, you will first need to attend a consultation with one of our skin experts so we can have a better idea of your skin concerns and challenges. Your consultation will allow us to determine your skin type and explore the treatment and product options available to you. Whether you are in your first trimester or you’re still breastfeeding, our skin experts will be able to make a treatment plan that will meet all of your aesthetic expectations.
How Frequently Should You Have Treatment?
In general, the frequency of your aesthetic treatments will be determined by the treatments that you are using. For example, both HydraFacials and dermaplaning can be safely done about once a month, while microneedling treatments are sometimes spaced six weeks apart. Overall, the frequency of your treatments may depend on the challenges of your skin, including your skin sensitivity.
Your skincare products, on the other hand, must be done consistently. You should use certain products, like cleansers, moisturizers, and sun protection, every day. Other products, like exfoliating scrubs or serums, should only be used once or twice a week.
Should You Continue Treatments Post-Pregnancy?
Yes, the treatments and products you use during pregnancy should also be used after pregnancy. While you may have slightly fewer restrictions while you are breastfeeding, it’s still generally a good idea to limit any chemicals that can be absorbed by your body and passed through your milk.
Additionally, some skin concerns related to hormonal changes, such as acne, may take up to six months or longer to go away since it will take several weeks after childbirth for your hormone production to return to normal. And truth be told, many women continue to use skincare products long after breastfeeding simply because they like the results they see.
Who Are Good Candidates?
If you are currently pregnant or breastfeeding, then you are a good candidate for advice from a skin expert for the skincare products and treatments you can safely use during pregnancy. Depending on your skin type and skin challenges, you may need help finding a regimen that will promote the health and appearance of your skin. Advice from a skin expert will take guessing out of the equation and help you manage your skin more effectively – and safely.
Let Your Skin Glow During Pregnancy
While a natural pregnancy glow may have downsides like acne, you can still get the radiant glow you’re looking for when you use the right combination of treatments and products. If you want to learn more about skincare during pregnancy, please contact ProMD Health in Baltimore, MD to schedule your initial consultation today.