We share our top tips for saying goodbye to sensitive skin and hello to a gorgeous pregnancy glow.
Yet another of the wondrous side effects of pregnancy is that your skin can become ridiculously sensitive. Many women find that the moisturiser they've been using for years starts bringing them out in a rash or the acne they thought they'd left behind in their teenage years suddenly makes a reappearance.
These changes are largely down to all the hormones buzzing around your body. While they are obviously essential in helping your baby to grow and develop they can also cause your skin to thin as it stretches to cover your growing bump, can make you more sensitive to sunshine and can cause the sebaceous glands that help control your skin's moisture levels either to go into overdrive (causing extra oily skin and breakouts) or to take a holiday and leave you feeling dry and cracked.
While this can be incredibly frustrating not to mention uncomfortable, you should notice that things return to normal pretty soon after your baby arrives. However, in the meantime there are a few tricks you can use to help calm your skin and make it more bearable.
Detox your routine
- Think about all the products that come into contact with your skin from moisturiser and shampoo to soaps, deodorant and even washing powder. If you suddenly develop sensitive skin it's likely that at least one of these products is acting as a trigger and irritating it further. So, at least for the duration of your pregnancy it's a good idea to switch from your usual fragranced products to plainer, hypoallergenic ones that are going to be kinder to your skin. Products specifically designed for pregnancy are available and these can usually be a safe bet, while baby products are also a good buy and will come in handy once baby arrives.
Look at the labels
- Many skin care products on the market contain a whole host of chemicals that can irritate sensitive pregnancy skin. Make a habit of checking the labels before you buy as products that contain parabens, SLFs, retinol or petroleum are best avoided. It's also a good idea to check if any essential oils are included as some are not suitable for use in pregnancy and can exacerbate skin problems. Some products specifically state they're not suitable for use by expectant Mums on the label and this is of course advice that should always be followed.
Cleanse and moisturise
- This is really important to keep your skin happy. Try using a gentle soap or fragrance free cleanser on your body twice a day (making sure you avoid harsh exfoliants), cleaning any residue off with lukewarm water and following up with a good moisturiser to help keep your skin supple. Following this routine should help you tread the find line between oily and dry.
Avoid long hot baths and showers
- While they can be lovely and relaxing hot showers and baths do dry out your skin and can leave you feeling itchy and flaky (not to mention very dizzy!). Warm water is far less dehydrating and combining this with a hypoallergenic shower gel or bath oil will be even better.
Slap on the suncream
- Many women become incredibly sensitive to sunshine during pregnancy so it's more important than ever to cover up and wear a good suncream (remembering to look for a hypoallergenic brand!). Staying in the shade as much as possible will not only help to prevent prickly heat rashes but will also reduce the likelihood that chloasma (pregnancy related skin discolouration) will develop.
- Tightly fitted clothes and those made out of synthetic materials don't let the skin breathe and will only make sensitive skin more uncomfortable. Try to stick to cotton and other natural fabrics as much as possible during your pregnancy as this will help to minimise irritation.
- Staying hydrated and eating a healthy diet will do wonders to help keep your skin supple and pimple free.
Have you noticed a change in the condition of your skin since you became pregnant? Whether you have any handy tips or questions about this or anything else why not visit the AskBaby forums for a chat with other parents-to-be?