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When you are pregnant you want to make sure you take extra special care of your skin. That will continue on when you have your beautiful baby and if you choose to breastfeed. There are also things to watch out for in your skincare routine during this momentous time in your life.
As your body is nourishing that growing little one during the nine months prior to giving birth, you will discover that not only is your body changing, but your skin is as well. It might be behaving in a way that is quite new to you. That can make you feel you need to find a new skin care routine as quickly as possible.
Some Possible Skin Changes
You might have dry patches, extra oiliness, acne, or even melasma (often called “pregnancy mask”), which are those brown hyperpigmentation spots that appear on your face out of nowhere it seems, due to hormonal changes in the body. Your hormones can wreak havoc on your skin.
Taking care of your skin requires additional vigilance, but above all it’s prudent to make sure anything you put on your skin topically is safe for you and your baby. Here are some easy tips to remember when it comes to your skin while pregnant, and through your breastfeeding phase.
What to avoid during pregnancy?
- Ingredients that are not safe:
- acne-fighting ingredients in high concentrations: Benzoyl peroxide (safe is used 5% or less) and salicylic acid (safe is used 2% or less)
- prescriptionretinoids and OTC products with retinol.
- essential oils, especially peppermint, oregano, cinnamon, clove, sage, fennel and wintergreen. Even when mixed with a carrier lotion, these oils are very powerful and may cause harm in the first trimester. Some essential oils are safe to use after your second or third trimester, but there are still a list of ones that can cause contractions.
- Stay away from electrolysis or laser hair removal.
- Postpone the elective cosmetic procedures until after the pregnancy/nursing. These include microdermabrasion and chemical peels, which are not safe for several reasons:
- microdermabrasion is a non-invasive exfoliation method that removes dead skin cells and is likely safe, but other topical agents that are used during the procedure are not recommended.
- the risk of post inflammatory hyperpigmentation after a chemical peel is significant.
- most of the chemicals used in these procedures have not been tested on pregnant women.
- What is recommended to use during pregnancy?
- Always apply a sunscreen rated at least SPF 30, rain or shine, without exception! I recommend using mineral sunscreen based on gentle mineral actives of titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide. This is a necessary step for preventing and minimizing hyperpigmentation.
- To treat acne you can use products with 5% or less Benzoyl peroxide and 2% or less salicylic acid. Very often you can’t achieve clear complexion using the gentle products alone and you need to supplement with regular deep cleansing facials. Depending on your skin type and condition you might benefit from facial with extractions or ultrasound facial.
- To prevent stretch marks use natural exfoliate several times a week and apply oil or rich body cream daily since the beginning of your pregnancy.
A Word About Skin Care While Breastfeeding
You want to continue basic common sense when your baby is born, and you are breastfeeding. Anything you consume by eating or drinking is going to show up in your breast milk, most everyone knows that. With topical skin care ingredients stick to the same regimen you used when you were pregnant just to make sure that nothing harsh comes in contact with your baby’s delicate system.