The fluctuation of hormones during pregnancy can clear up or contribute to more break-outs on the neck, back or face - particularly the chin and mouth. An increase in androgen (male sex hormone) can also cause oil glands to produce more sebum, thus clogging pores and causing blackheads. The important thing is to treat your skin straight away, so that these conditions do not persist after giving birth.
- Cleanse every day and use an alpha-hydroxy acid or glycolic acid to exfoliate. Exfoliation helps minimize dead skin cells on the epidermis from falling back into the pores, mixing with sebum (oil) to cause blackheads.
- Try a product containing sulphur which is a mineral that contains anti-bacterial properties. Sulphur-based masques are great for treating break-outs.
- For oily skin, switch to a mineral powder makeup or use an oil blotting paper to absorb excess oil.
- AVOID: Benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, retinoids - highly concentrated form of Vitamin A used topically for exfoliation.
- Use a mineral based sunscreen. Apply at least 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply throughout the day. Remember, sunlight comes through clouds too!
- Look for Vitamin C as an ingredient in a serum or moisturizer which is toted as a lightener, brightener, and tightener of the skin. Azelaic acid can also be beneficial.
- AVOID: Hydroquinone which is a strong skin-lightening. While there are no specific studies that validates or denies its safety during pregnancy, it’s better to wait until giving birth to go back to using this product.
- Use lotions with alpha-hydroxy acids, glycolic acid, or green tea.
- AVOID: Microdermabrasion, Retin A, Intense Pulsed Light or filler injections until after the baby is born.
If you have already existing skin conditions, they can either worsen or improve during pregnancy. Rashes that cause itchiness can benefit from placing a cloth dipped in warm milk over the area or creating an oatmeal paste with warm water to calm the itch. Calamine lotion or a good moisturizer can help soothe the skin. If you’re ever in doubt of what you’re seeing, talk to your doctor about it as there are more serious, yet rare, conditions that could affect when you go into labor.