A pregnancy routine is very personal to your skin and your pregnancy. Everyone's pregnancy will be unique to them, so I would always recommend speaking to an expert and tailoring your routine to you. This blog shares my personal experience.
This period is characterized by excitement and anxiety, ensuring you're doing the right thing for your baby. Although I don't believe it's necessary to use all-natural products during pregnancy, I found myself leaning towards a basic and natural routine in the first three months. I also experienced extreme nausea and fatigue, meaning my skincare routine was low on my list of priorities. I would even say that I found the sensation of products on my skin claustrophobic. Your body undergoes significant changes, and we are at the mercy of our hormones for nine months, so try to go with the flow as much as possible.
During the first three months, my skin was dehydrated and oily, with frequent breakouts. Due to the hormone progesterone, pregnancy acne is common especially in the first trimester. For the first time since my teenage years, I was concerned about using heavy creams because everything I put on my face seemed to cause congestion.
I adapted my skincare to a very slimmed back routine of ESSE SENSITIVE CLEANSER in the mornings and evenings, a ph-balanced creamy cleanser that minimised irritation. Before pregnancy, I would cleanse once per day but due to the increased oil production, I needed that extra cleanse in the morning. For moisture, I used a BARBARA STRUM FACE CREAM LIGHT as it didn't feel heavy on my skin and finished off with a natural, organic zinc oxide sunscreen from ESSE SPF30. Once per week, I did a ANTIPODES AURA MANUKA HONEY MASK which really helped to calm down the spots without being harsh to my skin.
In keeping with my new natural routine, I also switched my deodorant, perfumes, shampoos and shower lotion to natural alternatives, such as the AROMATHERAPY ASSOCIATES DEEP RELAX and RINGANA DEODRANT. While not necessary, this was something I felt compelled to do during the early stages of my pregnancy.
Now is a good time to run through your skincare routine and make sure that all the products you are using are pregnancy safe (see list below). I would research your particular skincare products and find out whether it is pregnancy safe, rather than just looking at each ingredient. An example would be Environs AVST creams. They are pregnancy safe, even though they are retinol creams. The type of retinol and the percentage of the ingredient in each product formulation will determine whether it is safe or not.
Avoid overly harsh products as your skin can be prone to sensitivity and inflammation during pregnancy.
Some acne products contain ingredients that are contraindicated, so scrutinize these carefully. If pregnancy acne concerns you, consult with a dermatologist or facialist for a safe treatment plan.
Consider switching to a natural sunscreen during pregnancy, but remember that pigmentation risks are higher due to hormonal changes, so protect your skin daily.
Certain essential oils can be contraindicated, so make sure you research your natural products too (see list below).
Take your prenatal vitamins. At the start, you most likely will be eating a lot of beige and comforting foods plus your baby will be taking a lot of your nutrients so supplementation is key for both your health and the babies development. I had a consultation with JO SHARP a brilliant nutritionist, when I felt unwell and she suggested SEEKING HEALTH OPTIMAL PRENATAL and MINAMI PRE-NATAL OMEGAS
Second & Third Trimester
At this point, I began to introduce more products in my routine and was less concerned about everything being 'natural'. My diet improved, and I started consuming a more varied diet of fruits and vegetables, which definitely helped my skin and mood.
The oily breakouts stopped in my second trimester, but instead I found my skin irritated and dry especially around my mouth. I went back to using my SAENT FACE OIL + QMS COLLAGEN SERUM which helped to increase hydration whilst also reducing the redness and inflammation. It also allowed for a daily evening facial massage, and I used my LYMA LASER as much as possible. This really helped with the myriad of skin conditions that I was experiencing and gave my skin a glow. The best thing about the laser is its pregnancy safe, which is rare among skincare gadgets.
My pigmentation began to darken, another typical pregnancy-related skin condition often referred to as 'melasma'. This usually begins to calm down after hormonal balance is restored post-birth or after breastfeeding. Melasma occurs because the melanocyte cells which are responsible for the skins pigment. are triggered into overdrive by your hormones and sun exposure. I introduced Vitamin C from BAKEL THIO C and ENVIRON AVST MOISTURISER. Vitamin C and retinol are excellent for lightening and brightening the skin, whilst also countering oxidative damage. I also religiously reapplied my SPF whenever I left the house, even on those grey days.
I also began to use body oils daily to keep my skin supple whilst the bump grew. Stretch marks affect most women during pregnancy due the skin stretching and pregnancy hormones softening the body's ligaments in preparation for childbirth. This softening also affects the skin, making it more susceptible to stretch marks. I love OLVERUM DRY BODY OIL which came in a spray for quick application each evening. However, please note that there's no miracle 'anti-stretch mark' cream available; the best approach is to keep your body moisturised with an oil you enjoy using. Whether you get stretch marks will be more down to your genetics.
I also developed a rash on my chest and back that was a mixture of dry skin and red bumps so I used ENVIRON BODY ESSENTIA DERMA LAC LOTION. This lactic acid helps to soften rough textures on your skin whilst boosting moisture levels. It can also be used on your face as an exfoliating toner.
INGREDIENTS THAT CAN BE UNSAFE DURING PREGNANCY AND BREASTFEEDING
Retinoids, isotretinoin, tretinoin, adapalene, tazarotene
Roaccutane and other oral retinoids
Botox and filler
Salicylic Acids in high doses
Some chemical sunscreens (oxybezone, ,ensulizole, octisalate, homosalate, octrocrylene, octinoxate, avobenzone).
ESSENTIAL OILS TO AVOID OR USE WITH CAUTION
Aniseed (anti-platelet aggregation activity)
Sweet birch (congenital abnormalities)
Western Red Cedar
Lemon Tea Tree
Indian Dill Seed