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The lowdown on pregnancy safe skincare

Published: Thu April 12, 2018
Categories: The Myth Minx

By now you know that producing a new life is no small feat; along with this comes many body changes that will progress throughout your pregnancy. As your hormones fluctuate, nutrient requirements increase and body processes alter; this can spell out a number of unexpected skin changes which may leave you wondering what you need to stop doing or what you may need to increase.

First let MM summarise some of the hormonal changes throughout pregnancy:

  • Oestrogen & Progesterone (primary pregnancy hormones) will steadily increase throughout the gestational period
  • The hormone Relaxin is produced (to help relax the ligaments in the pelvis to prepare you for childbirth)
  • The adrenal glands produce up to 3 times more cortisol by the time you reach your 3rd trimester
  • Your thyroid enlarges to offset potential iodine deficiency due to increased kidney clearance

Of course there are a multitude of other changes taking place however the above listed hormonal increases can have a profound effect on your skin. Here’s why.

Skin changes that are common throughout pregnancy

Let’s start with the positive first; luminous skin. It’s not a fallacy that many expectant mothers enjoy ‘the pregnancy glow’. You can attribute your newfound radiance to increased circulation. Throughout pregnancy your body produces up to 50% more blood, this of course improves the nutrient delivery and waste removal for your skin but best of all gives your complexion a more rosy appearance. Moisture retention in your skin is also higher at this time, so you may be able to say goodbye to those fine lines created due to surface skin dehydration. Dryer skin types may notice a dewy appearance to their skin rather than a matte or dull look; here we can thank the surge in hormones (androgens) for increasing sebaceous secretions, improving dry skin conditions.

If the ‘pregnancy glow’ seems like a mythical fairy-tale to you, let MM remind you that not every women will be blessed with this newfound luminosity. For some these changes in hormone levels can send their skin the other way, with new skin challenges arising for the first time ever. These can include:

  • Melasma ‘mask of pregnancy’ – block formations of hyperpigmentation triggered via increased hormonal activity and aggravated by sun exposure
  • Stretch marks – induced due to increases in hormones such as cortisol and relaxin plus physical trauma (stretching of the skin). Important to know these can be worsened due to excessive UV exposure
  • Darkening of existing pigmentation – due to increased hormonal activity triggering 
  • Melanin Stimulating hormone (MSH)
  • Linea nigra – darkening of the line that travels down your abdomen (usually dissipates after childbirth)
  • Acne – due to increases in hormones thereby triggering sebaceous glands into overdrive
  • Rashes
  • Increased hair growth
  • Dilated or broken capillaries
  • Sensitive or itchy skin

The best advice MM can share if you notice any of these unexpected changes – try to stay calm, know that in most cases these skin fluctuations will alleviate after you have given birth. Fretting about your skin will only heighten the stress response (adrenal fatigue) and potentially worsen the condition. 

How to tackle these skin changes

Start with your homecare regime: Let’s talk about the products you should discontinue while pregnant. High intensity vitamin A should be avoided throughout both pregnancy and breastfeeding; this includes Skinstitut Retinol Serum or any other forms of vitamin A such as retinoic acid. There is insufficient evidence to prove that it is safe to use at this time, so to be cautious you are better off switching to a more gentle low intensity form of vitamin A, such as botanically derived vitamin A, as found in Skinstitut Rejuvenate 15 (utilises a blue algae extract, rich in essential lipids, proteins, vitamins and trace minerals. It possesses retinoid like properties without the unwanted side effects, reducing the visible signs of premature aging and promoting skin rejuvenation).

Alpha Hydroxy acids should not be used excessively. While you are pregnant your skin will be much more responsive than before, with an increased tendency for sensitivity or irritation. Over-use of AHAs (such lactic acid or glycolic acid) could cause redness, irritation or dryness. If have been using L-Lactic Cleanser, Glycolic Cleanser 12% or Glycolic Scrub 14% prior to becoming pregnant you are safe to continue using these products, simply keep an eye on your skin, if you are noticing increased sensitivity simply slow down your usage of these medium and high intensity products and opt for Skinstitut’s Gentle Cleanser as an alternative.

If your skin has undergone significant changes since becoming pregnant it’s always ideal to have a consultation with a skin therapist. Remember, it’s not advisable to start on an all new highly active regime when you are pregnant as your skin will likely be more responsive at the time. Make small and gradual changes instead and opt for nutrient rich, calming and nourishing skin care products and ingredients. MM’s favourite nourishing products for pregnancy are:

Skinstitut Multi-Active Oil - a complete face and body solution; adopt this powerful oil into your daily regime when pregnant or breastfeeding. On the body, daily application will nourish the tissue that is experiencing physical trauma and lessen the likelihood or severity of stretch marks. Possessing a wide range of nutrient rich lipids (from macadamia, rosehip and avocado) plus antioxidants and naturally occurring vitamins, when used on the face can help to promote luminosity, even out a blotchy appearance and reduce sensitivity or irritation. Simply apply a few drops to your face daily, can be used under your moisturiser or mixed directly into your moisturiser. A tiny drop can also be warmed in the palms and smoothed through your hair if you are finding that your hair is looking dry or dull.

Skinstitut Rejuvenate 15 - a light-weight correcting serum deemed to be like a multi-vitamin for the skin. Possessing 15 much needed nutrients for the skin (vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) this deeply hydrating serum assists in skin regeneration and 
renewal when it is needed most. Best of all Rejuvenate 15 delivers anti-ageing benefits, reduces irritation or sensitivity in the skin and is used to transform a dull or lack lustre complexion. Apply a pea sized amount AM and PM under your moisturiser.

A few of MMs other favs for pregnant and breastfeeding women include Skinstitut Gentle Cleanser, Enzymatic Micro Peel and Age Defence SPF 50+.

MM wants to reassure you that Skinstitut is safe to use throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding (with the exception of Retinol Serum which should be avoided as a precautionary measure). Being a cosmedical skincare range Skinstitut ensures that every ingredient is used within a therapeutic threshold (meaning there is scientific literature to show that the amount of the ingredient used is safe and also is enough to deliver a benefit). None of the products are tested on animals or use animal derived ingredients (making them suitable for vegans).

Lifestyle tips while pregnant 

  • Where possible, try to avoid excessive UV light as this can worsen hyperpigmentation and other pregnancy related skin conditions
  • Always wear a broad spectrum SPF 50+, hat and sunglasses when outdoors
  • Increase intake of wholesome, nutrient rich foods, to ensure you get a good supply of skin loving nutrients

Enjoy this special time and let your body focus on the highly important task at hand; producing a new life.

 

 

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