Everyone says that you’re glowing, right? Oh, it must be the pregnancy, they say. But perhaps that glow could also be due to the fact that your skin is on the verge of breaking out.
As any woman who has every been pregnant will tell you, it can be incredibly challenging to handle the hormonal changes created by pregnancy. Migraines. Nausea. Fatigue. Swollen and tender breasts. Constipation. Backache. Bloating. Mood swings. Increased emotional sensitivity. Skin problems can be just one of the many symptoms created by these hormonal changes.
The following are a few tips to keep your skin actually glowing, rather than having a pre-breakout glisten.
Eat well. Aside from the importance of eating healthy for the health of your baby, which can’t be overemphasized, a nutritious diet will improve your skin. Foods that contain high levels of Vitamin E can be especially helpful, such as avocados and figs (with figs, it’s important to chew the seeds up thoroughly in order to get the maximum amount of Vitamin E). Avoid unhealthy oils that can be found in fried foods (burgers, fries, potato chips, etc.) and opt instead for healthy oils such as olive oil, safflower oil, sunflower seed oil, and even fish oil (with fish oil, taking it as a supplement may be more palatable than sipping it off a spoon).
Hydrate. The importance of drinking enough water during pregnancy cannot be stressed enough. This will hydrate your whole body as much as your skin, allowing your body plenty of fluids that are needed to carry toxins away, many of which can clog your pores. As an alternative to water, you can also make it your habit to constantly drink herbal teas while pregnant. Red raspberry leaf, nettle, and oatstraw tea are all great for pregnancy. Most natural food stores carry pregnancy and mother-to-be teas that are specially-formulated with herbs for pregnancy. This is also a good practice to get into for the postpartum period as well; hydration will help with breastfeeding and recovering quickly from labor.
Exercise. It’s always a good idea to exercise regularly when you’re pregnant, especially as you get closer to labor. Your body needs lots of exercise in order to detoxify your organs, including the largest organ in your body – your skin. Your pores need to breathe in order to remain clear and exercise is a great way to get your heart rate up, your body sweating, and your skin breathing.
Use quality organic skin care products. Belly butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil and the like are great to decrease stretch marks on your breasts and belly, but they may be too harsh for your face. Find really high quality, gentle facial scrub and facial moisturizer products and use them daily. Always moisturize after you clean your skin because many skin problems are actually the result of dry skin as much as oiliness.
Consider medication only as a last resort. There are a number of pharmaceutical medications on the market to treat acne but many of them should be avoided like the plague when you’re pregnant. Any medications that contain Tetracycline, Salicylic Acid, Tretinon, or Isotrentinoin should not be used during pregnancy. These medications have been linked to birth defects, miscarriage, and infant death. Consult your healthcare provider if you’re seriously considering medication to treat your skin problems.
Plan on breastfeeding if at all possible. Chances are that your skin will clear up immediately after the birth when hormonal levels suddenly drop. Breastfeeding releases a chemical called Oxytocin (which is also important in creating the contractions necessary for labor), setting off the stimulus for a cascade of hormonal responses necessary to get your body back to its pre-pregnant state. Your body is designed to do this so skipping the breastfeeding part can throw everything off. If you can’t breastfeed for some reason, try to express your milk from your breasts anyway to release the oxytocin. But breastfeeding is as important to the health of your baby as it is to the health of your skin and, for this reason, it’s a good idea to contact a lactation consultant if you have any concerns about breastfeeding.