What To Expect (From Your Skin) When You're Expecting
Words by Chantal Child
Whilst pregnancy is a completely amazing, life changing experience, it is certainly no easy feat. We expect the usual pregnancy complaints such as morning sickness, weight gain, swelling and complete and utter exhaustion. What we don’t expect is all of the other (sometimes unpleasant) surprises, particularly when it comes to our skin. The hormonal fluctuations that occur during pregnancy play a huge role in how our skin looks and feels, causing skin-related issues we’ve usually never encountered before.
Having worked at The Clinic as a Registered Nurse for a few years now, I have seen and treated plenty of pregnancy-related skin concerns. Although no two pregnancies are ever alike, I’m excited to share with our beautiful expectant mums out there what I’ve learned and experienced along the way, not only as a Registered Nurse at The Clinic, but also as a fellow mum of two, soon to be mum of three...
WHAT SKIN CHANGES CAN BE EXPECTED DURING PREGNANCY?
Hormonal acne is a very common skin complaint during pregnancy - one that I have experienced firsthand. Fluctuating hormones, particularly in the first trimester, increase oil production which in turn results in more breakouts. Early on in my pregnancy I noticed a lot more breakouts than usual, particularly around my chin, cheeks and jaw, and to make matters worse all the products and treatments I would usually use are not pregnancy safe. Yet another skin challenge during pregnancy!
DRY AND DEHYDRATED SKIN
Just as I approached the halfway mark of my pregnancy and felt like my breakouts were finally under control, my skin decided to do a complete 180. Suddenly my skin became extremely dry and dehydrated and has stayed that way until now (I’m currently 35 weeks). I’m positive it will remain dry while I am breastfeeding too. Yes, I am definitely guilty of not drinking enough water, but I also feel like no matter how much I drink, it just goes straight to the baby, or my bladder! Unfortunately, this has left my skin looking and feeling very dry, dull and dehydrated.
ECZEMA AND DERMATITIS
The drying effects of winter, increased sensitivity and dry pregnancy skin have been an awful combination for me, with the eczema and dermatitis I suffer from in the cooler months becoming much worse. Throughout my pregnancy I have experienced recurring dermatitis appearing as dry, red, itchy, bumpy skin on my forehead and around my eyes.
HOW MY SKIN CARE ROUTINE HAS CHANGED DURING PREGNANCY
Because I work at The Clinic, the skin care products I use are already free of any parabens, artificial preservatives and fragrances which can irritate the skin and exacerbate skin conditions. I have always been mindful of this when I choose skin care products, but it is especially important during pregnancy. If you wouldn’t put it on your baby, why would you put it on your skin while pregnant?
One of the first things I noticed about my skin during my pregnancy was that it became a lot more sensitive to active ingredients that I would usually use without a problem. Because of this increased sensitivity I kept my skincare regime extremely simple, choosing more gentle, calming and hydrating products and avoiding any active products that would overwhelm and irritate my skin. Retinol (Vitamin A), Salicylic Acid and anti-wrinkle injections are not recommended during pregnancy and breastfeeding, so these were products and treatments that I stopped immediately once I found out I was expecting.
MY ESSENTIAL SKIN CARE PRODUCTS DURING PREGNANCYPCA SKIN DAILY EXFOLIANT $79
I have been using the PCA Skin Daily Exfoliant each day throughout my pregnancy and have found it extremely gentle and soothing even when my skin is feeling dry and sensitive. I especially love that it gently exfoliates while you cleanse. This has really helped brighten my skin and left it feeling soft and smooth without ever feeling dry or tight.
The PCA Skin Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum has been a total saviour for my dehydrated pregnancy skin. Not only does it boost your skin’s surface hydration, it also helps hydrate deeper layers of the skin and stimulates your skin’s natural Hyaluronic Acid production. I have become addicted to using this product day and night. It has a beautiful silky consistency, feels amazing to apply and leaves my skin feeling instantly hydrated, plump and dewy. It has also reduced my fine lines – a side benefit I love since I can no longer use my regular anti-ageing products.
An absolute favourite of mine, The Moisturiser absorbs beautifully and instantly leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth. I have found it to be the perfect multi-tasking moisturiser for my simplified pregnancy skincare regime. The Peptides and Plant Stem Cells offer incredible anti-ageing benefits, plus it contains Sea Buckthorn to reduce skin redness, and Aloe to help soothe and calm any sensitivity.
Happily I do not have melasma, a type of hyperpigmentation typical during pregnancy. I do have an olive complexion however, making me prone to other kinds of pigmentation. A brightening serum is therefore an essential part of my skin care regime. I found Aspect Dr Complete Pigment Plus Serum was extremely effective at treating the post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation I experienced from hormonal breakouts. It contains a range of pregnancy safe ingredients including Transexamic Acid, Lactic Acid, Vitamin C and Niacinamide, helping to improve my uneven skin tone and give me that pregnancy glow.
The Societe Calming Relief Balm is an amazing product that I would recommend for anyone with inflamed or irritated skin. This ultra-hydrating balm contains Chamomile, Aloe Vera and Green Tea Extract which has really helped soothe and calm my angry and inflamed skin. It can even be used around the eye area. The hydrating ingredients such as Shea Butter and Panthenol provide instant relief to my dry, flaky skin without ever feeling too heavy or greasy. I also loved using it on my eczema when I wanted to give my skin a break from steroid creams.
If you are wanting a quick and easy skincare routine to get you through your pregnancy, I thoroughly recommend The Clinic’s new Pregnancy Kit. We have simplified this popular kit to include our best selling products which are both pregnancy safe and ideal for treating pregnancy skin concerns. This handy kit contains The Cleansing Pads for makeup removal and quick cleansing on-the-go, Cosmedix Benefit Clean to tackle hormonal breakouts, The Moisturiser for nourishing dry pregnancy skin and an Aspect Dr Complete Pigment Plus Serum to manage any pigmentation. Purchase together as a kit and you will save $51.50!
MY FAVOURITE TREATMENTS FOR PREGNANCY SKIN
A cult favourite treatment at The Clinic, Blueberry Peels are also the perfect pick-me-up for pregnancy skin. The Blueberry Peel is super gentle and ideal for any skin type - including sensitive skin. It combines Lactic Acid and Jojoba Beads to remove the build-up of dead skin cells and antioxidants from Blueberry Extract to leave your skin looking instantly brighter, smoother and fresher with no downtime or irritation. There's even an at-home version of the Blueberry Peel now for those who can't make it into The Clinic.
When I was having issues with breakouts early in my pregnancy, I relied on regular Mandelic Peels to treat the breakouts and fade any post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. The PCA Mandelic Peel combines two AHA’s - Mandelic and Lactic Acid, making this treatment extremely effective, gentle on the skin and safe for pregnancy. A fabulous treatment option for both melasma and acne during pregnancy.
I absolutely loved this all-in-one treatment when my skin needed a little bit of everything. The HydraFacial addresses all types of skin concerns including dull skin, dehydration and congestion, and has been customised to make it safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding. The treatment includes The Clinic’s signature Blueberry Peel, deeply cleansing and exfoliating the skin whilst infusing it with protective Antioxidants and Hyaluronic Acid. It always leaves my skin feeling extra clean, clear, bright and hydrated - guaranteed to give you that famous pregnancy glow!
MY SKIN CARE MUST-HAVES FOR THE HOSPITAL BAG
When you get towards the end of your pregnancy journey, packing your hospital bag is a pretty big deal. Whilst I do love my luxury skincare products, for the hospital I’ll be sticking to convenient, easy-to-use multi-tasking products perfect for those hectic first few days (or weeks… or months!) with a newborn.
If there was ever a product made for a hospital bag, it’s The Cleansing Pad. Perfect for a quick and easy cleanse or to freshen up the skin when you’re too exhausted to bother with your usual cleansing routine. The Cleansing Pad is also the ideal cleanser when your hands are full! These clever pads are pre-soaked with Micellar Water to make cleansing easy and convenient whilst being extremely gentle on the skin.
If there was ever a time to pamper yourself it would be after having a baby. Societe Eye Peptide Gel Masks are a favourite at-home treatment of mine, and their affordable individual sachets are perfect for the hospital bag. Made especially for the delicate eye area, they contain cooling, calming and hydrating benefits to help soothe dry tired eyes, making you look like you’ve had eight hours sleep when you’ve really had two!
Being stuck in hospital air conditioning all day is sure to leave your skin on the dry side. Luxurious and incredibly nourishing, Cosmedix Remedy Oil has been a saviour for my extremely dry pregnancy skin. At the first sign of a burgeoning belly I slathered myself with this incredible face and body oil that is rich in Omega Fatty Acids, Antioxidants and Vitamin E. This lightweight oil promotes skin elasticity and has saved my skin from stretch marks and the irritating belly itch you get from all the stretching that goes on. It absorbs instantly and doesn’t make you feel greasy – ideal for some extra nourishment when my skin was so dry I felt like it might crack.
If you ever doubted the effect of hormones on the skin, pregnancy is sure to teach you a thing or two. During pregnancy, your skin can fluctuate just as much as your hormones and leave you feeling quite cheated after being promised that “pregnancy glow”. Navigating the Do’s and Don’ts of pregnancy can be tricky, especially when trying to manage skin concerns you have never experienced before.
The best way to make sure you are looking after your skin properly during this important time is to come in for a consult with one of our Registered Nurses at The Clinic. You can call us on 02 9386 1533 or use this link to request an appointment. If you can't make it into The Clinic, we are happy to consult via a free Facetime video call. Whether in clinic or over the phone, The Clinic team can provide expert advice and tailor a skincare plan to suit your needs, ensuring you are getting the most out of your pregnancy skincare whilst keeping your growing baby safe.