The ugly truths of pregnancy can quickly quash some of the excitement of having a baby on the way. Swollen ankles, round ligament pain, and pregnancy acne can tarnish what is otherwise a joy-filled period of life. Although you can’t banish the standard-issue pregnancy aches and pains, you can manage your complexion.
While your body is busy creating a new human, your nutrients and energy have been prioritizing your baby’s needs. This can wreak havoc on your already raging hormones, leaving your skin in a state of disrepair. Medication, product, and dietary restrictions may already be on your radar, but navigating skin concerns alongside them is possible. With a bit of research, you can restore your skin’s balance so you can enjoy that renowned pregnancy glow.
What you’d known as “normal” for your skin pre-baby is a thing of the past. Hormone changes, stress, and skincare product adjustments can have your skin in a panic. If you’ve been using acne treatment products high in vitamin A, your obstetrician has likely called for a pause. Fortunately, while some common products and medications are on the “no” list, others like antibiotics and some acids can be safe.
Certain skincare products get into your bloodstream and can be harmful to your developing child. Review the medication restriction list provided by your doctor and check labels before you use products. Most product labels include an ingredients list, but it’s uncommon to see a warning for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. If you’re unsure, reach out to your healthcare provider for a final say.
Assess your skin’s condition in its current state after cleansing. Note dry areas, dullness, breakouts, and discoloration. Create a map of what you see on a notepad so you can determine which areas you want to address. While your skin may be different from that of your pre-pregnancy self, give yourself grace during this special time. Remember, your body is doing important work, even if doing so causes frustrating breakouts.
Now that you know what skin concerns you want to address, research what products can help you do so safely. Reference the list provided by your doctor and use it as you shop or speak with skin care professionals about acne treatment. Make sure to emphasize your need to manage both your acne and the safety of your baby.
Once you’ve determined which products you’d like to try, add them to your routine gradually. Your skin’s sensitivity may be heightened, and overusing a new medication or product may be too much.
Instead, test a small amount on an inconspicuous portion of your skin, like near your hairline. If you react, it’s more easily concealed than on other areas of your face. By limiting your application, you can avoid a full-blown disaster if your medication or a new product is incompatible with your skin. Provided it checks out, ramp up your usage toward the daily recommended dosage or application.
If you’ve been prescribed oral medication, add this component to your routine on its own. Ask your prescriber how long it takes for the medication to become effective before you adjust or discontinue use. Once you’ve successfully integrated your treatment into your regimen, add new products in the same incremental manner.
The season of preparing for a baby can leave you run-down and overwhelmed. While the act of being pregnant is itself exhausting, so too are the demands on an expectant mother. Doctor’s appointments, nursery design, parenting safety classes, childcare planning, and preparing to step away from work are draining. Aim to use your skincare routine as an opportunity to pause, breathe, and recenter yourself each day.
Reserve time each evening to complete your skincare routine with intentionality. As your baby grows, you’ll likely end the day uncomfortable and in need of a shower. Pregnancy hormones can leave you more sweaty than ever and in places you wouldn’t have expected. To wind down, wash the day away with a refreshing shower in advance of your evening routine.
Once you’ve restored order to your changing body, take time to pamper yourself, nourish your skin, and reset. Apply your skincare and acne treatment, thanking your body for the incredible task it’s doing. Although acne and other pregnancy-related skin issues can be frustrating, recognize the reason behind the flare-ups: You’re creating a new life. Honor your role as mother-to-be as you give yourself the gift of relaxation and much-deserved pampering.
The lifestyle changes you’ve made while pregnant often carry over into your postpartum period. It usually takes weeks for your hormones to level out post-birth as your uterus contracts and your organs shift. Your body’s natural inclination is to support itself through the initial hormone drop from birth and prepare for breastfeeding. If you’re not breastfeeding your child, there will be a transition period while your milk dries up.
Consider continuing your pregnancy routine as your hormones settle back into their normal state. Once you’ve completed your breastfeeding journey or otherwise reach equilibrium, assess your acne treatment needs. Your skin’s behavior and needs change over time, making clear, healthy skin a long-term effort. Addressing flare-ups, dryness, and sun exposure will keep it glowing during pregnancy and beyond.