During pregnancy, not only does our uterus undergo major changes but so does our skin. We experience a considerable shift in our hormones, affecting each of us differently, this can create significant issues to the condition of our skin and it can require an extra level of TLC. Therefore, we called in our Par Olive panel of experts for their advice and tips to help you navigate and feel supported throughout your journey:
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN WHEN PREGNANT?
Pregnancy is such a special time and the care of our skin should honour this, especially because it can go through so many significant changes as we navigate the hormonal waves from the first trimester to the first year postpartum. Dry skin can become oily, and oily, dry. Congestion can be pretty determined and pigment can surface for the first time.I'm a firm believer in keeping things simple and adaptable. Be mindful of how your skin is feeling each day and modify your regime depending on what you need. Often your cleansers can remain unchanged, but your serums can be swapped out for more considerate formulas with peptides, hyaluronic acid and antioxidants to quench and plump without anything too active. Avoiding essential oils, retinols and BHAs is generally recommended, but AHAs and enzymes are great to refine and energise our skins, especially when we've been feeling a little lacklustre, dealing with morning sickness, fluid retention and sleeplessness. Daily SPF is a must and if you can, try to incorporate a beautiful body oil or EFA rich cream to replenish the skin of your body as it supports your growing baby.
WHAT INGREDIENTS DO YOU RECOMMEND TO USE WHILST PREGNANT?
Every complexion is unique, so really it's about finding ingredients that work for you. Vitamin C and Niacinamide are both safe for use during pregnancy and are great for brightening the skin and keeping hormonal pigment at bay. Peptides and hyaluronic acid will offer deep and lasting hydration - especially great if you've been struggling with nausea - and ceramides and essential fatty acids can comfort and restore parched and devitalised skins. AHAs are great for breathing a new life into skin during pregnancy, especially if you've switched out other actives like Vitamin A. I love oils for the body - argan oil is especially beneficial during this time. I often enrich my body lotion with a small amount of body oil to boost the lipid value.
WHAT IS A SIMPLE PREGNANCY SKINCARE REGIME YOU RECOMMEND TO EXPECTING MOTHERS?
Keeping the skin clean, hydrated and protected from the sun is more than enough to yield great results long term. Find products that work hard on your behalf, so you don't have to do as much. I like to incorporate multi-purpose products such as a moisturising day cream with spf 50, an exfoliating cleanser or a brightening essence with hydrating properties.
WHAT CHANGES CAN HAPPEN TO THE SKIN DURING PREGNANCY?
Unfortunately for some, pregnancy can be a time when old melasma and pigmentation comes to the surface. Even after months or years of treatments that removed and brightened the pigment, your pregnancy hormones can bring it all back! You are also no longer using active ingredients that would have been keeping it under control.
Many women experience acne during pregnancy. It's most common during the first and second trimesters. An increase in hormones called androgens can cause the glands in your skin to grow and produce more sebum.
If you already had sensitive skin or skin problems before pregnancy, it may get worse. Sensitive skin can strike during pregnancy - even in someone who’s never had sensitive skin in the past. You might notice that your skin suddenly looks or feels irritated or uncomfortable when you use products that never caused a problem before you were pregnant. For some, the increased amounts of hormones released during pregnancy can make your skin look flushed, giving you the tell-tale glowing look. Such hormones include estrogen, progesterone, and human chorionic gonadotropin. We recommend to go with the glow - and keep things really simple! A simple cleanser, daily cream with SPF, one serum and a nourishing night cream is a perfect line up to keep it glowing.
WHAT INGREDIENTS DO WE NEED TO AVOID IN SKINCARE?
While topical vitamin A is the ‘gold-standard’ in anti-ageing for your skin with a long history of safe use, oral vitamin A (retinoids) has been shown to interfere with fetal development. Therefore, as a precaution we always recommend avoiding the use of vitamin A during this time, including: Retinol, Retinaldehyde aka Retinal, Adapalene, Tazarotene, Retinyl palmitate.
Beta hydroxy acid (BHA) salicylic acid is a staple of many skincare routines. However, we have to sadly recommend to take a step back from using leave-on BHAs while pregnant. Research has shown that oral salicylic acid is not safe during pregnancy, therefore doctors often recommend avoiding high strength use of even topical products containing BHAs (beta hydroxy acids)
However, it isn’t all bad news for the acid-lovers of you out there - there still are ways to achieve flawless-looking skin even while you are pregnant. Leave-on AHAs* and PHAs, wash-off exfoliating cleansers or manual exfoliation may be the go-to method for the removal of dead skin cells during pregnancy.
Skin is so temperamental and unpredictable during this time. So we would advise against anything you get the fun 'tingly feeling' from. Although completely safe and will not cause any harm, sleep glycolic should be paused until you feel your skin returns to normal and once breastfeeding has finished.
DR SHYAMALAR GUNATHEESAN
WHAT ARE YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE TIPS DURING PREGNANCY?
My biggest tip is to start a good skincare routine at least 2 - 3 months before falling pregnant. A good skincare routine really needs to have Vitamin B3, Niacinamide as it’s an anti-inflammatory ingredient, it regulates your sebum production which can increase during pregnancy and can cause breakouts. Another great antioxidant to incorporate into your routine is Vitamin C, as it also prepares your fibroblasts to produce more collagen and ideally it's compounded well with a Vitamin E. A gentle lactic acid at night as this will improve your skin tone and add to that general luminosity. In my opinion, I wouldn't be afraid to use a cosmeceutical based retinol as the absorption into your body is minimal.
SPF DURING PREGNANCY, WHAT DO WE NEED TO KNOW?
Pigmentation can be a problem in pregnancy especially melasma, so sun protection in the lead-up and throughout the pregnancy is key. I would go for a pure zinc based sunscreen as it is hypoallergenic, safe and anti-inflammatory. I like to avoid the chemical blockers in chemical sunscreen as we don't know the long-term effects of absorption.
WHAT GENERAL SKIN ADVICE DO YOU RECOMMEND DURING PREGNANCY?
Moisturising is key, having shorter showers that are not too hot as during pregnancy our body tends to overheat so you want to add more moisture into your skin to prevent things like eczema, psoriasis and rosacea. Stretch Marks is another big concern for pregnant women and I would certainly moisturise the body, start using a silicon based moisturiser on your pregnancy belly, around your thighs and your gluteus maximus so that stretching is minimised and your skin it's not under great tension. I recommend avoiding inflammatory foods and am also a firm believer in good health, general well-being and recommend meditation for better sleep.
It is always best to consult your doctor with any questions and concerns during pregnancy.
Original Interview by Stevie Ford for PARTOMÉ BEAUTY