While pregnancy brings a lot of happiness and joy, the hormonal changes sometimes bring along some skin problems. Pregnancy is usually a period of changes due to changing hormonal levels. A part of feeling good during pregnancy is also looking good because skin problems can sometimes cause a lot of stress. Unfortunately, you have less freedom in using skin care products as some may be harmful to the baby. Here are ten tips on skincare for expectant mothers.
Acne is the most common problem that plagues pregnant women. You should avoid using any skin care products that contain salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or any one of the retinoids. It is best to avoid using any products having chemical ingredients. If you have to use them at all, consult a dermatologist to find out what is safe for you. The natural way to avoid acne is to cleanse your face regularly as clogged pores can bring on the acne. Use a mild soap for this. Using oil-free moisturizers and cleansers and a natural sunscreen may also help. Eat healthy food and drink plenty of water. Remember that this is a temporary problem and therefore, if nothing else works, just grin and bear with it.
2. Stretch Marks
To prevent stretch marks and dry skin, you will need to apply some oils daily. You can either mix them, use them separately or find natural products that contain them. Oils that are helpful for the skin during pregnancy are coconut oil, sweet almond, jojoba, olive, castor, wheat germ and avocado oils. The mixture should be applied to your breasts, abdomen, thighs and buttocks as these are prone to dry skin and stretch marks.
3. Hair Loss
Due to hormonal changes during pregnancy, the hair goes into a dormant or resting phase and there is little hair loss. After pregnancy, however, this hair begins to fall in greater quantities than usual. This may cause worry but it is natural! There is no danger of going bald. Some also experience brittle nails and their nails tend to crack or split. The nails will need regular attention during this time. However this is also temporary and will resolve. If the condition gets too aggravated you can consult a specialist who may recommend safe topical nail strengtheners.
4. Essential Oil
Some essential oils are not safe for use during pregnancy — especially during the first and the second trimesters as they may bring about an abortion of the fetus. These are Cinnamon, Basil, Juniper, Lemongrass, Thyme, Sweet marjoram, Myrrh, Peppermint, Pennyroyal, Rosemary and Parsley. Some oils on the other hand can be put to very good use to relieve the common symptoms of pregnancy. Consult an aromatherapist about these.
Moisturizing the skin often during pregnancy will be of great help as it tends to be drier than usual. If you have oily skin, you can use a water-based moisturizer. If your skin is dry, then use one that is oil-based. For healthy skin during pregnancy, a regular routine of cleaning and moisturizing must be followed.
6. Cracked Nipples
In the initial stages of breastfeeding, women usually suffer from cracked nipples. Lanolin-based creams can be used safely without harming your baby. They will heal and soothe the soreness. You can also use it as a prevention after each feed. Read instructions before use. It has been observed that leaving a small quantity of milk on the nipple also helps in bringing relief.
7. Varicose Veins
Some pregnant women suffer from varicose veins and this is better prevented than treated during pregnancy. The best ways to prevent varicose veins is to take a daily gentle walk, avoid standing for long periods, place your feet and legs in an elevated position, avoid excessive weight gain and avoid crossing your legs while sitting.
8. Choice of Soap
To avoid skin irritation during pregnancy, use only natural soaps. Soaps containing coconut oil are good. Use only soaps made from vegetable oils that don’t contain any perfume, chemicals or dyes. You can get natural soaps at a health food store.
A skin pigmentation problem that affects some women during pregnancy is the pregnancy mask or chloasma. It affects women with darker complexions more than others. Patches of pigmented dark skin usually appear on the woman’s face, around the nipples and between the thighs. Some women also experience the ‘line of pregnancy’ or linea nigra which is a dark line of pigmentation that runs down the abdomen. These are aggravated by exposure to sunlight. The best way to handle these is to avoid sun exposure as much as possible, or if necessary, to use a safe sunscreen made from natural products.
A natural, safe and cheap method for relieving itchy skin is to add a little bicarbonate of soda into your bath water. A cup of soda added to the water in your bathtub will usually do the trick. It will reduce the itching and soften your skin as an added bonus. Avoid using scented bath products and use only natural soaps while bathing.