Whether you’re pregnant with your first child or your fifth, you already know that pregnancy is full of beautiful, amazing changes—hello baby bump and full, shiny hair!
When it comes to your skin, you’re probably also loving that natural, bright and fuller complexion, or what’s affectionately dubbed pregnancy glow.
Experts say pregnancy glow is a real phenomenon, and likely caused by the nearly 50 percent increase in blood volume that happens during pregnancy.
Yet just like morning sickness and sleepless nights, there are certain skin changes during pregnancy you’d rather do without.
Here, we tackle the most common pregnancy skin issues, why they happen and what you can do to get clear, healthy skin because this Mother’s Day, you deserve to feel beautiful.
While some women say their skin clears up during pregnancy, for others acne can rear its ugly head the moment they see a plus sign on the pregnancy test. Hormonal changes that increase oil production in the skin are surprisingly common during pregnancy, and are often responsible for causing acne.
In fact, a January 2014 study out of France found that 40 percent of pregnant women who saw a dermatologist did so because they had acne. A pimple that pops up here and there may not be a big deal, but experts say, unsurprisingly, that some women who have acne during pregnancy are more self-conscious which can affect their mood.
Treating acne during pregnancy is possible, but you’ll want to be careful about what you use on your skin.
While the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) advises that prescription acne treatments like Isotrentinoin (aka Accutane), oral antibiotics and retinoids should be avoided during pregnancy due to the risk of birth defects, fear not. There are far less aggressive acne treatments that are safe for both mom and baby.
When it comes to over-the-counter acne treatments, ACOG recommends ingredients like peroxide, azelaic acid, salicylic acid and glycolic acid. While some of these still might sound harsh, you’d be surprised to find that some of these are naturally sourced and safe. Acne fighting salicylic acid is found naturally in white willow bark, while glycolic acid is abundant in berries, apples and a variety of citrus fruits. While we can’t recommend slathering fresh fruits or citrus directly onto your bare skin, we can recommend our Hibiscus Exfoliating Mud Mask. Glycolic acid-rich sugar, oats, and pumpkin form our natural face scrub that gets rid of dead skin that causes dullness; and honey envelopes skin with soothing hydration, while simultaneously fighting off bad bacteria that can cause breakouts.
For your regular daily routine, we recommend sticking with a mild cleanser and clarifying toner, exfoliating to decongest clogged pores with a steam and/or a gentle clay mask, as well as a gentle moisturizer.
Often mistaken for acne or eczema, one skin issue many women deal with during pregnancy is Perioral Dermatitis. Also known as PD, it quite literally means “rash around the mouth” and can appear as acne-like breakouts and in some cases, it shows up around the nose and eyes. The bumps may be itchy or burn, and they’ll probably be dry and flaky.
While approximately 90 percent of people who have it are women between 18 and 50 years old, it’s still unknown what causes perioral dermatitis, but experts say it may be due to an irritating skin care product, a product that causes an allergic reaction, overuse of corticosteroids or even your toothpaste. Since perioral dermatitis is an inflammatory condition, it could also be caused by internal inflammation and gut issues. With so much obscurity around what actually causes PD, it’s no wonder dealing with the issue during pregnancy can feel overwhelming.
The good news is you can take small daily measures to treat these pesky, uncomfortable symptoms. We recommend starting off with a skin detox for a few days to pinpoint triggering ingredients. Take this as an opportunity to clear the slate and hit pause on your current skincare routine (that includes makeup too). If you’re using a topical corticosteroids, talk to your dermatologist about an alternative treatment.
Plenty of us know how to spot them, but have you ever wondered, what are stretch marks?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, stretch marks are actually a type of scar that occurs when the skin stretches or shrinks quickly. Collagen and elastin in the skin rupture and in an effort to heal, the skin creates stretch marks. Where do they show up most often? Women most typically develop these marks on their abdomen, breasts, hips, buttocks and thighs.
More than 50 percent of women have stretch marks during pregnancy. The good news? Stretch marks often fade over time on their own and usually within 6 to 12 months after giving birth. Bad news? When it comes to getting rid of stretch marks, they can be pretty tricky.
Although there’s no solid evidence that any topical treatment can prevent or get rid of stretch marks, there are a few go-to natural ingredients that can support the healing of damaged skin. From vitamins including A, C and zinc to plant-based options like immortelle essential oil and the rich plant butters like cocoa and shea butter.
Although there is no evidence that moisturizing your skin prevents stretch marks, we do know that applying a body oil or butter on a regular basis helps to improve your skin’s elasticity. Our Rose + Violet Leaf Body Butter is packed with a rich mix of cupuacu, kokum, and shea butters that deeply hydrate and seal in moisture so that skin is left feeling smooth, supple and nourished.
Melasma (also known as chloasma gravidarum) has been dubbed “the mask of pregnancy,” - a skin condition that leaves brown or gray-brown patches on the face, usually on the cheeks, upper lip, forehead and chin. Not exactly what you think of when you hear “pregnancy glow.”
Between 50 and 70 percent of women develop melasma during pregnancy.
What exactly is Melasma? These spots occur when melanin producing melanocytes become activated and produce more pigment, making the skin appear darker.
Luckily, Melasma is not harmful and can potentially fade on its own after pregnancy. With that bit of good news, it’s important to take precautions and protect your skin from the sun which can be triggering. Wearing SPF daily and choosing to avoid harsh skincare products helps to prevent inflammation that can ultimately make Melasmsa worse.
Have a pregnancy skin-specific question for us? Not sure which of our products might be right for you during your pregnancy? We’re here to help! Just email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.