You're pregnant, and your body is surging with a rush of reproductive hormones.
Remarkable transformations are occurring within your body to ensure your baby grows into a fully formed little human.
A myriad of factors will influence your body during pregnancy, from changes in hair texture and heightened sensitivities to taste and smell to the visible changes in your skin. From one month to the next, it can feel like a rollercoaster ride.
Keeping your skin healthy and your baby safe during pregnancy can present unexpected challenges. Whether it's your firstborn or you've been here before, changes in your skin can vary depending on hormones, genetics, age, diet, and other lifestyle factors.
In this article, we’ll look at the best Aesthetics Rx products to keep your skin healthy and resilient and the skincare ingredients to avoid during pregnancy.
Understanding Skin Changes During Pregnancy & Common Pregnancy Concerns.
Every pregnancy is unique, and while some of us sail through pregnancy with glowing radiant skin, for others, it can be a time when acne, facial redness and other skin conditions can be troublesome and keeping the skin healthy feels like a challenge.
During pregnancy, significant hormonal changes occur to support the development and growth of your baby. These hormonal shifts can directly impact the skin, leading to various changes and conditions.
Oestrogen increases: Oestrogen goes into overdrive during pregnancy to support the growth of the placenta and the baby; it can also lead to increased blood flow to the skin, giving rise to a "pregnancy glow." However, elevated oestrogen levels can also trigger the overproduction of melanin, leading to hyperpigmentation and dark spots on the skin, a condition known as melasma.
Progesterone surges: Progesterone levels also increase substantially during pregnancy to help maintain the uterine lining for the embryo's implantation. This hormone can increase oil production, which might contribute to acne flare-ups.
While you may be aware of the rise in oestrogen and progesterone during pregnancy, there are other hormones that, while essential during pregnancy, can also affect the health of your skin.
These hormone shifts can affect your skin in different ways:
hCG: A hormone produced by the placenta can make your skin more sensitive and itchy, leading to increased dryness and facial redness.
Relaxin: This hormone helps relax the uterine muscles to prevent early contractions and can affect your skin's elasticity, resulting in dryness and stretch marks.
Prolactin: Prolactin levels rise in preparation for breastfeeding. While its effects on the skin are less pronounced, it can contribute to changes in skin texture and moisture.
Remember, everyone's experience is different, and while it might seem like your skin's in for a rough ride, most changes are normal and temporary.
Adopting a Pregnancy Safe Skincare Routine
Whichever way your skin reacts to pregnancy, keeping the skin healthy should be your goal; by doing this, you can ensure the skin copes better with any unwanted changes such as acne, facial redness and pigmentation problems.
Taking care of your skin with pregnancy-safe skincare can help you keep it healthy during pregnancy and manage changes as they occur, and a skin that happily bounces back post-pregnancy.
Let's start with the basics of an effective routine during pregnancy with skincare products that are safe for use during pregnancy.
- Cleansing: Choose a mild cleanser based on your skin type. Your skin type can be classified as normal, with very little oil or oily, characterised by a noticeable flow of sebum on the skin's surface or a dry skin type, where the skin produces little to no oil. A gentle cleanser like Aesthetics Rx Revitalising Foaming Cleanser will remove dirt, oil and pollutants while keeping your skin balanced and hydrated.
- Hydration: Keeping the skin hydrated is essential in ensuring the skin keeps that pregnancy glow while protecting the skin from moisture loss; we love and recommend Aesthetics Rx Daily Moisturiser Hydrating for normal to dry skin types and our Daily Moisturiser Combination for combination and oily skin types.
- Skin Nutrition: In addition to the impact of shifting hormones, your skin's usual supply of nutrients is directed toward nourishing the placenta and your growing baby. Consider incorporating serums containing essential vitamins like Aesthetics Rx, Vitamin C 23% Serum, and our Vitamin B Serum, with niacinamide (vitamin B3) and panthenol (vitamin B5). These nutrients will protect your skin's delicate barrier, keeping it resilient against environmental stressors while supporting normal skin health.
- Sun protection: Shielding your skin from the sun is vital, particularly during pregnancy when it's more sensitive and prone to hyperpigmentation. Try Aesthetics Rx Ultra-Protection Sunscreen SPF50+, a mineral sunscreen with zinc, for pregnancy-safe protection against the sun's harmful effects.
Ingredients to Avoid: Protecting Your Baby and Your Skin.
Retinoids (Vitamin A): Vitamin A comes in various forms, ranging from the active retinoic acid to derivatives like retinol and retinaldehyde. Retinoids are excellent for boosting cell turnover, reducing wrinkles, and refining skin texture and tone. However, retinoids come with potential risks.
While low concentrations are considered safe, high doses of retinoids during pregnancy should be avoided.
We recommend consulting with your healthcare provider before commencing any skincare routine that includes retinoids.
Within the Aesthetics Rx range, Retinol Vitamin A Serum, Total Repair DNA Serum, Vitamin A Serum 1% Retinol, Anti-Ageing Regeneration Formula and our Fruit Enzyme Mask all contain some form of vitamin A and, while generally considered safe, as a precaution, check with your healthcare provider before commencing on any of these serums during pregnancy.
Salicylic acid: A type of beta hydroxy acid (BHA) commonly used in skincare products for its exfoliating and anti-inflammatory properties. It's derived from plants, such as willow bark, and is known for penetrating the skin's pores to decongest oil and remove dead skin cells, making it effective for treating oily acne skin conditions.
While the absorption of salicylic acid through the skin is generally considered safe, it's advisable to avoid using high concentrations of salicylic acid above 2%, especially in chemical peels during pregnancy, due to its potential to enter the bloodstream.
Aesthetics Rx Ultimate Serum contains salicylic acid, with a concentration of 2%, which is considered safe; even so, you should always consult your healthcare provider before use.
There are other lesser-known skincare ingredients that you should avoid during pregnancy:
- Hydroquinone: This skin-lightening ingredient is best avoided during pregnancy due to limited safety data.
- Benzoyl Peroxide: While considered generally safe in limited concentrations for acne treatment, it's wise to consult a healthcare provider before use.
- Formaldehyde: These are often found in cosmetics and skin care products and should be avoided due to potential risks.
- Phthalates: These chemicals often enhance fragrance and product texture. They are best avoided due to concerns about their effects on fetal development.
- Essential Oils: Plant-based concentrated extracts that can impact hormones, and it's recommended to avoid their use during pregnancy or use them under the guidance of a qualified healthcare provider. Aesthetics Rx formulations only use the fragrance of essential oils, which is generally considered safe.
Keeping your skin healthy and glowing and your baby safe during your pregnancy doesn't have to be daunting; when you know what to do and what skincare ingredients to avoid, you can enjoy healthy, glowing skin without worrying about the safety of your bundle of joy.
For further clarification about any skincare product or ingredient or to learn more about pregnancy safe skincare, consulting with an Aesthetics Rx skincare professional, your healthcare provider or a dermatologist before use is recommended.