Pregnant? Your Skin Has a Bundle of Unexpected Surprises.
Pregnancy is nine months of anticipation, joy and terror. As if you didn’t have enough to think about between considering names, decorating the nursery, staving off morning sickness and reading up on all the ways you’re likely to ruin your child’s life, your skin is getting ready to deliver a bundle of issues you may not have been expecting. Here’s how to be prepared.
Ban the Breakouts
Many moms-to-be experience breakouts during pregnancy, even women who normally have clear, unblemished skin. The increased hormone levels during pregnancy are to blame, specifically, the androgen hormones. These are the ones responsible for sebum production in the skin. An increase in androgens means an increase in oil production. The increased oil combines with dead skin cells to clog pores and produce bacteria, and thus, acne is born.
Unfortunately, some of the treatments most widely relied upon for acne, are not okay during pregnancy. Retinoids (vitamin A products) and salicylic acid have been linked to birth defects and should not be used. Benzoyl peroxide is considered safe in small amounts, but always under a doctor’s supervision.
The best choices are the alpha hydroxy acids mandelic, and lactic, all safe and effective treatments for acne during pregnancy. The milder mandelic, derived from almonds, is the gentlest of the three and a great choice for darker skin tones.
Be Rosy, Not Red
During pregnancy, your body is in hyper-growth mode. Blood flow increases by as much as 50% to keep up. That’s where you get that rosy glow. It can also be where you get red patches and spider veins, the dilated blood vessels that show up like tiny maps of central Paris on your chin, chest or stomach. To help combat these unwanted visitors, try products with green tea extract, a powerful anti-inflammatory that has anti-angiogenic (inhibitor of the growth of blood vessels) properties. Vivant’s Green Tea Antioxidant Cleanser is a gentle wash that calms redness while brightening and nourishing skin.
The Pregnancy Mask Is Not a Spa Treatment
An overload of the melanocyte-stimulating hormones estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy can bring on what’s known as the “pregnancy mask,” or melasma, dark patches of pigmentation that show up on your cheeks, chin or forehead.
Because topicals can be absorbed into the blood stream and passed on to the fetus, skin lighters to like hydroquinone or trentinoin are not recommended during pregnancy. Mandelic acid is a natural skin lightener derived from bitter almonds that offers a safe alternative. Try a combination of Vivant’s Mandelic Acid products (wash, toner and serum) to combat acne and melasma.
Since UV exposure can worsen melasma, sunscreen is a must. Choose physical sunscreens that contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide don’t penetrate the skin. Avoid sunscreens containing oxybenzone. Wear SPF clothes and a hat when possible.
Soy-based products have an estrogenic effect, which can make acne and melasma worse. Look for “active soy” products that have had the estrogenic components removed.
Avoid the Pregnancy Road Map
If you’re a lucky genetic lottery winner, you may not experience those stretch marks that chart the course of your pregnancy, but 90% of women do. A good moisturizer can go a long way toward reducing their appearance.
Cocoa butter is tired and true, but if you want something less heavy and not greasy, look to aloe vera. Not only does aloe vera have incredible natural healing properties, it’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory to relieve the annoying itching that’s common during pregnancy.
Keep your belly beautiful with Vivant’s Totaloe™ Calming and Hydrating Gel that combines soothing aloe vera with nourishing green tea and algae extracts.
Your baby is the only bump you should be worrying about for the next few months. To keep skin smooth, clear and radiant, simple is best during pregnancy. Read the labels, keep to a consistent skin care regimen, and let it all glow.