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Treating for Two: Tips for Working with Pregnant Clients


When your client is pregnant, you have to consider not just her comfort and safety, but her baby’s as well. There are a number of factors that affect treatment options for pregnant women. From changes in skin to changes in smell, here are some things you need should know to ensure a healthy, happy client experience.


Getting Comfortable

With twenty pounds or so of extra girth, getting positioned on a treatment table can be challenging. Make the process safer and easier by providing a step stool and offering a helping hand for balance. A pillow under the legs will keep the pressure off her lower back. Elevating the feet will keep ankles from swelling. In the second or third trimester, position mom-to-be on her side with a pillow between the knees and another tucked against her back.


Go Easy On the Aromatherapy

Increased levels of estrogen during pregnancy affect the olfactory system causing a heightened sense of smell during pregnancy. Things that used to seem pleasant, can suddenly be nauseating for the expectant mom. Avoid scented candles or any other fragrance in the room and if you typically use aromatherapy as part of your treatment, you should opt for mild scents that won’t overwhelm sensitive moms-to-be. It’s a good idea to offer her some choices.  


Dealing with Skin Changes

The surge in hormones during pregnancy can cause a number of unwanted skin reactions including acne, melasma, spider veins, eczema and rashes. Even women who’ve never experienced these things before may deal with one of more of these issues.


Acne during pregnancy can be attributed to an increase in androgen hormones, which are related to testosterone. Androgens regulate sebum production, so a higher level of androgens more oil in the skin, ultimately leading to clogged follicles and breakouts.


Some of the treatments most widely relied upon for acne, are not recommended during pregnancy. Retinoids (vitamin A products) and salicylic acid should not be used during pregnancy, as they have been linked to birth defects. Benzoyl peroxide is considered safe in small amounts and under a doctor's supervision.


The topical AHA’s lactic, glycolic and mandelic are safe and effective choices for treating acne during pregnancy. Mandelic acid, derived from bitter almonds, is the gentlest of the three, making it the best choice for darker skin tones, as it will not trigger post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.


To treat grade two acne (no papules or pustules), a light microdermabrasion can be combined with a low percentage (10%) AHA peel. Deep peels, microcurrent, high frequency and laser treatments are not recommended.


Melasma is common enough during pregnancy to have earned a nickname, “the mask of pregnancy.” While hydroquinone is frequently used for skin lightening, it is not recommended during pregnancy. Here again, mandelic acid is the best choice. In addition to its anti-bacterial and astringent properties, it’s a natural skin lightener.


Remind your client to wear sunscreen to avoid making melasma worse. The physical sunscreens titanium dioxide and zinc oxide do not penetrate the skin, making them the best choice for a pregnant woman. She should avoid sunscreens containing the chemical oxybenzone.


Soy-based lotions and facial products have an estrogenic effect, which can make melasma worse. Look for “active soy” products that have had the estrogenic components removed. 


Red patches, broken capillaries and spider veins can be result of increased blood flow. The body produces 50 percent more blood during pregnancy. Anti-inflammatory green tea and grape seed extracts are known to have an anti-angiogenic effect that inhibits of the growth of blood vessels, which may help alleviate some of these issues.


Is Waxing Okay?

Yes and no. There’s no danger posed by waxing while pregnant, but skin is more sensitive due to the increased hormones, which could make the process more painful. It may also make the area more prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. The increased blood flow is an additional factor making the process more painful, especially in the pubic area. Best to discuss these issues with your client before proceeding. Aloe can be used to soothe and calm the skin after waxing.


Product Recommendations for Pregnant Clients

For calming and hydrating:

-Vivant’s Totaloe™ Gel combines soothing aloe vera with nourishing green tea and algae extracts to calm inflammation and speed healing.


For acne and melasma:

-Vivant’s Mandelic Acid 3-in-1 Wash suppresses acne-causing bacteria and promotes exfoliation and rids skin of impurities.

-Mandelic Acid 3% 3-in-1 Toner (for dry or combination skin) or Mandelic Acid 9% 3-in-1 Toner (for combination or oily skin) clears surface build-up, promotes exfoliation, refines surface texture and primes skin for more efficient absorption of additional product.

 -8% Mandelic Acid 3-in-1 Serum (for normal or combination skin) and

-15% Mandelic Acid 3-in-1 Serum (for oily or resistant skin) are synergistically formulated to target the top three trouble spots—acne, aging, irregular pigmentation.


For spider veins and redness:

-Vivant’s Green Tea Antioxidant Cleanser is a gentle wash that calms redness, while brightening and nourishing skin.


For daily sun protection:

-Day Treatment Lotion SPF 15, with aloe and zinc peptides, provides daily moisturizing with UVA/UVB protection in a light, non-comedogenic formula. It also has anti-inflammatory benefits for acne and rosacea clients.


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