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During pregnancy, the body produces more oil due to changing hormones. This is what creates the so-called ‘pregnancy glow’ in expectant women’s skin. This can be a welcome change for those who suffer from dry skin. However, for those with oily skin, this can be problematic. Are there any tips for healthy, glowing skin during pregnancy for women of varying skin types? That’s what we’re about to find out in this article!
Tips for Glowing Skin during pregnancy and what are they? No matter what type of skin a woman has, there are both natural and safe ways to achieving a healthy, radiant glow. These include keeping skin meticulously clean, using organic moisturizers that are suited to your specific skin type, getting a good night’s sleep, exercising regularly, eating a well-balanced diet and drinking lots of water.
Now that you know there are safe, natural ways to care for your skin during pregnancy, let’s explore in more detail how to get (and keep) that maternal skin glow…
How to Keep Skin Healthy During Pregnancy
Women with dry skin will have different experiences (while expecting) than women with oily skin. Because oil levels increase during pregnancy (due to fluctuating hormone levels), women with dry skin will likely welcome the soft, smooth, ‘glowing’ result of this sudden surge in oil production.
Women with oily skin, however, will often have trouble with their skin during pregnancy. They are more prone to blemishes and acne (not just on the face but on the back or chest as well), especially during the first trimester. Fortunately for these women, oil levels tend to level out during the second and third trimester, thus alleviating these skin issues.
Keeping skin healthy and glowing during pregnancy is easy. There are just six simple steps to follow. Please continue reading to find out more…
Wash Your Face Thoroughly
Washing your face thoroughly twice a day is essential to healthy, glowing skin. This keeps skin, clean, fresh and oil-free! Use lukewarm water and a gentle, natural cleanser, such as Cetaphil. It is mild, fragrance-free, soap-free and dermatologist recommended.
Use a face cloth or facial brush with the cleanser to deep clean pores, remove dead surface cells and prepare skin for moisturizer. Move the cloth or brush across the skin gently in a circular motion and rinse well. Pat dry the skin, don’t rub! Rubbing can cause redness and irritation, especially for women with sensitive or acne-prone skin.
Whether you have dry, oily or sensitive skin, moisturizing is necessary to keep skin soft, supple and glowing. Be sure to use the appropriate hydrator for your specific skin type. Always choose natural products, free of chemicals, dyes and fragrances, especially when pregnant. These include organic oils and butters (such as cocoa and shea).
The best natural moisturizers for dry skin during pregnancy are organic oils. They do not contain the potentially harmful ingredients (such as parabens, phthalates, sulfates, synthetic fragrances and artificial dyes) that can be found in many store-bought brands.
Coconut, jojoba, argan, avocado and olive oils are great for moisturizing dry skin types. Shea and cocoa butter as also good keeping skin hydrated. Apply a thin layer of oil or butter within five minutes of washing your face and allow it to absorb completely before applying make-up or sunscreen (I will discuss safe sunscreen options for pregnant women later in this article).
Oily or Acneic Skin
Oily or acneic skin requires hydration (just like dry or sensitive skin) to keep it healthy and radiant. Natural moisturizers that are non-comedogenic are essential. These will not clog pores, cause blemishes or aggravate acne-prone skin.
The best natural moisturizers for oily skin include aloe vera and organic oils such as jojoba, olive, avocado and grapeseed. They are light-weight, rich in nutrients and safe to use during pregnancy. A thin layer applied to just-washed skin will keep it soft, smooth and healthy-looking.
Sensitive skin is often dry, tight, irritated and prone to redness. It requires special hydration to moisturize and soothe the skin while (at the same time) treating symptoms of chronic conditions including eczema, psoriasis and rosacea.
The best natural (and safe) moisturizers for pregnant women with sensitive skin include organic oils such as coconut, jojoba, argan and olive. They have anti-inflammatory, wound-healing and skin-repairing properties. Aloe vera and shea butter are also great for sensitive skin types as they both contain elements to soothe irritation, reduce redness and nourish the skin.
Get Plenty of Rest
There is a reason why the term ‘beauty sleep’ was coined! To look and feel your best during pregnancy you need to get plenty of rest and a good night’s sleep. At least seven to eight hours every evening is recommended.
Sleep deprivation directly affects skin health. When you don’t enough rest, your body produces more cortisol, a stress hormone. This hormone increases inflammation which can negatively affect the skin, causing redness, irritation and acne.
Exercising while pregnant is essential to healthy skin (as well as your physical and psychological well-being). A daily workout increases blood flow and circulation throughout the body. This nourishes the skin by carrying oxygen and vital nutrients to working cells.
The best type of exercise for pregnant women is anything low-impact. This includes walking, swimming, cycling, prenatal yoga and Pilates. Check with your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen. Be sure whatever activity you choose is safe and right for you.
Eating a well-balanced diet is essential to skin (and overall) health. Glowing skin is healthy skin so be sure to eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin, minerals and antioxidants. These include the following:
- Omega-3 fatty acids. Foods rich in fatty acids, including fish (such as salmon or tuna,) will make skin glow with heath! Canned salmon and canned tuna are low in mercury, USDA approved and safe for pregnant women to eat (in moderate amounts, six ounces per week at the most).
- Vitamins. Foods rich in vitamins A, C and E are essential to skin health. These include vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, spinach, and squash and fruits such as oranges, tomatoes, kiwi, berries and cantaloupe.
- Minerals. Minerals including calcium, copper, magnesium, selenium and zinc are essential to skin health. Foods such as dairy products, leafy greens, whole grains, lean meats and nuts/seeds will improve and maintain skin tone and radiance.
- Antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent free radicals from damaging the skin, causing it to lose its glow and appear aged. Foods rich in beta-carotene such as apricots, mangoes, carrots, pumpkin and spinach will help fight free radicals and keep skin healthy and glowing.
Drinking plenty of water each day is vital, not only to skin health, but to overall health as well. Eight glasses per day is recommended for everyone, including pregnant women. Drink a glass or two with each meal and a few throughout the day. Try to stop drinking around 7:00 p.m. to avoid multiple trips to the bathroom overnight!
The benefits of staying well-hydrated include improved circulation, easier digestion and nutrient absorption. Skin cells, like any other in the body, are made up of water and cannot function properly without it. Hydration is key to health and a healthy body will likely produce a healthy baby!
What Sunscreen is best for Pregnant Women?
Before concluding this article, I want to touch briefly on sun screen and skin health, because they are directly related. Glowing skin requires UV protection. Pregnant women need to be careful of the products they use. The best (and safest) sun blocks are those with a mineral formulation that contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Avoid anything with PABA, octinoxate or oxybenzone listed on the label.
In conclusion, healthy, glowing skin can be a pleasant side-effect of pregnancy. The increased oil production caused by changes in hormone levels is usually the cause of this. For women with dry skin, this is likely a welcome change from the tight, flaky and irritated skin they normally have. Women with oily skin, however, will find this problematic as it can make acne-prone skin break out, not just on the face but on the chest and back as well.
They key to glowing skin during pregnancy includes the following six points or steps:
- Keeping skin clean
- Keeping skin moisturized
- Getting plenty of rest
- Drinking lots of water
- Eating well
- Exercising regularly
If you follow these steps, you will not only have the healthy, ‘glowing’ skin that all women desire but also the physical and psychological wellness necessary to prepare you for impending motherhood! Good luck and best wishes as you await the arrival of your little ‘bundle of joy’!