Sunspots, hormonal acne & stretch marks - oh my! When you announce that you’re expecting, one of the number one comments that people throw out is “you’re glowing,” and it can be a real downer when you feel anything but. That pregnancy glow is a side effect that many don’t seem to get, and in fact, problem skin is a common part of the whole pregnant gig.
Making over your beauty closet in pregnancy is a great time to consider going green. Why does it matter? Many over-the-counter products have endocrine-disrupting ingredients that are easily absorbed into your bloodstream through your skin. Studies show that things like retinols, parabens, BPAs and BHAs can cause birth defects & mess with your estrogen receptors. No thanks!
I went straight to the clean beauty experts at The Detox Market in Yorkville - one of my favourite all-natural beauty stores - to hear about all their recommendations. Read through for doula-approved skincare solutions to all your pregnancy skin care struggles.
Note: these tips are simply recommendations; all pregnant people should consult their primary care provider when trying something new.
Melasma, also known as the “mask of pregnancy,” are those sun-triggered dark spots that show up on your cheeks, forehead or upper lip. All those hormones affect your skin’s pigmentation levels, which makes sense why 70% of pregnant people experience melasma to some degree. Avoid making things worse by protecting yourself from the sun (see the SPF recommendations below), but you can spot treat existing flareups in the mean time. A serum can be used to spot treat, or you can spread out the benefits by diluting it with your daily moisturizer. The Odacite Pa + G uses papaya seed oil, which is naturally exfoliating, as well as geranium oil, one of my faves for hormone balancing. The Odacite Ca R is also a great resurfacer, as its key ingredient, wild carrot seed oil, gives skin that glowy texture.
While you're pregnant, your might notice that you’re burning more easily, which is kind of the worst considering how most sunscreens are chemical-based.
The Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream is a zinc-based daily sunscreen with SPF 30 & is free from all those nasty ingredients. It’s also got ingredients like aloe and the mega anti-inflammatory jojoba oil to calm your hormonal pregnancy skin.
If you’ve got oily/acnegenic skin like me, the Coola Face Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 has more of chalky finish without being drying. It has a light tint for taking one extra step out of your makeup routine - praise be!
Thank your pregnancy hormones for throwing your skin back into its high school days. You might be experiencing angry cystic acne along your jawline, or those tiny all-too-poppable white bumps along your hairline and chin.
When I quit birth control, my hormonal acne was really confidence deflating, so I totally empathize with how this skin regression makes you feel. The worst part is that a lot of the go-to acne killing chemicals aren’t tested on pregnant women, so the risks aren’t clear.
But it’s totally possible to go green with an acne fighting skin regime involving a double cleanse, mask and spot treatment. Start your routine with the One Love Organics Vitamin B Cleanser. Adding an oil to breakout prone skin might sound counterintuitive, but the ladies at The Detox Market explained how oil cleansing is the best thing for acne-prone skin. Oil cleansing is non-stripping; this formula is packed with B Vitamins to detox and tone. Follow up with the Odacite Black Mint Cleanser, which uses activated charcoal & clay to suck out dirt. It’s also got tea tree oil, which is great for active breakouts.
Looking for something more budget-friendly? The Body Deli Sage & Grapefruit Cleanser is basically a green juice for your face. It's made with sage, grapefruit and tea tree oil, all antibacterial ingredients. However, it’s important to note that this product includes a little bit of salicylic acids for breakout busting. Its up to you to make your own decisions about what goes into your body, but note: topical salicylic acid is pregnancy-safe according to the American College of Obstetrics & Gynaecologists (up to 25% dilution). This product’s small amount isn’t detectable in your blood stream, but it's up to you to make the call for what's right for you and your baby. A salicylic acid-free, low budget alternative is the Osmia Black Clay facial soap, a bar soap containing black clay and dead sea mud. It also contains coconut milk to help make a nourishing lather, rather than have your skin feeling dry and tight after using most bar soaps.
After cleansing, follow up with a mask, like the Odacite Synergie Masque. It uses clay & activated charcoal to draw out imperfections, papaya enzymes to naturally exfoliate and peel dead skin cells, and even probiotics for collagen boosting.
Finish up with a spot treatment, like the Province Apothecary Clear Skin Advanced Spot Treatment, a total godsend when it comes to killing deep cystic breakouts before they reach the surface. It uses turmeric, which is super anti-inflammatory.
In pregnancy, your body’s extra blood volume can cause redness, since there's more blood reaching the surface of your skin. Calm down angry, red skin with an all natural skin care regime. In the morning, start with The Body Deli Rose Geranium Cleanser, which is super gentle and soothing. Follow up with the Pai Instant Calm Redness Serum, which uses sea aster to strengthen surface blood vessels to alleviate redness and wild oat, a natural antihistamine to calm down angry red skin. Finish off with Pai Chamomile & Rosehip Calming Day Cream which uses chamomile and rosehip, which are very calming for red skin.
At night, consider treating and strengthening your skin with a serum. The Tammy Fender Capilliary Strengthening Blend uses Neroli, Bois de Rose and Chamomile. This ultra-light serum repairs capillary damage and calms irritation. Or consider trying the Odacite Ap + P , which is packed with apricot oil to strengthen capillary walls, while palmarosa oil reduces appearance of broken capillaries.
Anytime the body grows rapidly, stretch marks are a part of the gig. While I’m all for rocking your tiger stripes, if you feel more confident with a preventive skin care regime, then go for it! The Pai Pomegranate & Pumpkin Seed Stretch Mark System is a two step system with a cream & oil and is packed with omega 3-s, and vitamins E & C to enhance skin elasticity, allowing it to stretch more easily. The Detox girls let me know that this system was originally formulated for Natalie Portman! If it’s good enough for that Birth Boss, it’s good enough for you.
Another benefit of applying a belly cream is using this as a time to bond with your little one. While rubbing in your lotion & oils, close your eyes and feel your baby. Talk to them or send them positive vibes, they can sense your energy.
interested in holisitic remedies for your newborn's skincare woes?
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