One of the perks of pregnancy (besides priority seating on the train) is the much hyped “glow” that we are told to expect. And it’s not a myth. All those pregnancy hormones, combined with an increase in blood flow, can make your skin look brighter, younger and generally healthier.
But while there might be roses in your cheeks, some other parts of your skin may be looking less than rosy.
Here’s what might happen to your bod while pregnant, and a bunch of tips on how to manage them:
- Stretch marks: The big one! Experts say there isn’t much you can do to prevent these if they are in your genes, but you can take steps to reduce the appearance of them over time. Oils that are known to repair skin and reduce scarring, such as Rosehip oil and Bio-Oil ($26.99), will help stretch marks fade. Just remember they can appear anywhere that grows rapidly, so as well as your belly don’t miss your breasts, hips and upper thighs, which can all fall prey to stretch marks too.
- Mask of pregnancy: Some women produce more skin pigment when they are pregnant, especially around their jaw line, cheeks and eyes – this is known as the mask of pregnancy. What a cruel trick of nature to give you panda eyes just as you’re discovering how difficult it is to sleep with a wiggly baby in your belly! Thankfully, this pigmentation tends to disappear after pregnancy. In the meantime, staying out of the sun will help minimise how dark the mask gets. For what remains, hit it with concealer and remind yourself it’s probably only for a few months.
- “Linea nigra” and darkened nipples: Along with the mask of pregnancy, other parts of your body can get darker too. Pregnant women will often notice their nipples are darker than they used to be, and that there is a dark line, or “linea nigra” tracing down from their belly button. Like many pregnancy symptoms, these too should fade after birth.
- Skin tags: All those hormones telling your baby to grow can work on your skin too, and many women experience this in the form of skin tags: little tags of skin that almost look like moles. If you’re not happy with these new additions, don’t try to remove them yourself – ouch! But skin tag removal is a relatively straightforward procedure for a doctor or dermatologist.
- Sensitive skin: You may find your skin is more sensitive when you are pregnant, so be cautious with fragrance-laden products if you notice irritation. Along with soaps and moisturisers, household products such as detergents can also be harsher on your skin when pregnant. Spoil yourself with a rich, low-fragrance skin cream to relieve this. Try Aveeno Ultra-Calming Moisturiser ($19.95). Your skin’s pain threshold may also be lower during pregnancy, so bear this in mind if you’re planning to wax.
- Oilier or dryer skin: The “glowing” compliment is the result of increased blood flow, which can improve skin that is usually oily or dry. Yay! However, if your skin looks like it’s going too far in either direction, re-think the products you use. Switching to a lighter or richer moisturiser for a couple of months may be all you need to do to keep your glow on the go.
What to be cautious of during pregnancy:
- Check the ingredients: Skin products containing Vitamin A (retinol) and salicylic acid (BHA) are not recommended during pregnancy. Look for organic ingredients where possible like Jamie Durie’s new skincare range People for Plants.
- Laser hair removal: Because laser and IPL hair removal are relatively new procedures, there’s not much evidence to show whether or not they are safe during pregnancy. Have a chat to your hair removal consultant if you have concerns, but they will probably encourage you to err on the safe side and postpone your treatment until after bub arrives.
- Fake tanning: Most fake tanning products are considered safe for pregnant women because they are not absorbed past the top layer of dead skin. However with spray tanning, there is a chance you could inhale the chemicals, making safety less certain. Try home tanners that you smooth onto your skin – like our 5 minute fake tanning solution!
How has your skin changed with pregnancy?
Do you have any tips of your own for caring for your pregnant skin?
More Fox in Flats: