Updated: Aug 13, 2022
How is pregnancy skincare different from the routine skincare when not pregnant?
Yes, it is different. A lot of changes take place during pregnancy, it is like you are a completely different person during pregnancy, your taste buds change, your likes and dislikes change, it is a completely different phase of your life, and especially your skin changes!
From a skin point of view, multiple changes take place, some are hormonal, and some are physiological. hormones are changing, immunity, weight gain, and physiological changes can bring a lot of changes in the skin as well as hair.
Hormonal changes like thyroid and metabolic changes like gestational diabetes can take place, and because of that, the implications of them are there on skin and hair significantly. Skin tends to get dry, some people tend to get oily skin, and some women who are on supplements, the medication to sustain the pregnancy, can also affect skin & hair.
So, there are a lot of changes that take place, hair in most cases gets better during pregnancy because the pregnancy hormones are really good for the hair. During pregnancy, the hair is in the rest phase and the best phase!
But skin, some women have amazing glowing skin, while some women get really bad acne, pigmentation, and all of this, it is different for every individual, every woman’s body responds differently during the pregnancy.
So, yes there are a lot of changes that take place with the skin during pregnancy, but the treatment varies from person to person.
How to choose skincare products? Should we stick only to natural ingredients, or how to choose safe chemical products?
When it comes to using chemicals, there is a mental block that chemical means it's bad. Everything has chemicals, even water is also a chemical!
Yes, definitely good & bad chemicals are there. Trust your doctors and do not randomly use any skincare regime.
As soon as you get to know you are pregnant, stop all your actives, Active ingredients like serums, retinol, vitamin c, kojic ideally should be stopped. In case you are not able to get in touch with your dermatologist, for the first 3 months, minimize your routine or stop your routine the first 3 months.
Why first three months because, it is the time when the organogenesis(organ formation) happens for the baby, all the organs are forming, the formation stage, so the first three months are very critical and it is ideal to pause all your actives.
If you are not aware and confused about whether to continue your skincare routine, then stop the routine for the first 3 months, you can use a good cleanser, good moisturizer, and physical sunscreen.
Physical sunscreen means something like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide-based sunscreens which are like actual blocks. Suggest you use it because the chances of pigmentation during pregnancy are high, and if you start using sunscreen early it is very good, it can help a long way.
Another thing you should start doing is moisturizing your skin because your skin is going to expand, there won't be stretching in the first 3 months, you can set it up as a routine to moisturize your skin every day because later it starts stretching and expanding as the baby grows inside. So, hydration and moisturization are the keys.
You can do oil massages, and do your moisturizing routine, all of these are safe and you can do them during the first 3 months of pregnancy, after 3 months, if there are any skin related issues like acne, pigmentation, some pigmentation goes off after childbirth, but if you want to do something about it, then speak to a dermatologist, do not start a skincare routine on your own.
After 3 months, most of the skincare regime is safe, you can even use anti-stretch marks cream. But do not apply any over-the-counter creams, speak to your doctor.
And many times we do not know the details about the natural ingredients too. So, for the first 3 months, stop all the actives, and after 3 months, ask your doctor before you restart the actives.
What are the best practices for skincare during pregnancy?
Regarding best practices, it is not just about the application, it is also about the internal practice of what you should do. Most of the time, pregnancy skin issues happen if the weight gain is excessive.
Focus on your diet and exercise. Eat healthily, and continue your exercise whatever your gynecologist is allowing, without straining yourself you can continue your physical exercise routine as before unless you are asked not to by your doctor.
When it comes to pregnancy skincare, most women want to prevent stretch marks or reduce stretch marks. Some women may not get it at all, and some women may get a lot of stretch marks, it is completely different for every woman.
To prevent stretch marks, the first thing is you have to moisturize your skin well. You can use a moisturizer or any natural oils, you can do it up to 3 times a day. This is for the body. For the face, initially do a cleansing, moisturizing, and sunscreen routine. Then if needed, and if your doctor has recommended any kind of actives, you can use that.
Is it okay to use a face scrub during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, it is best to not use any kind of scrubbing or scrubbing too much. If you want to do it, then you can use a very very fine scrub, not the hard scrubs, and once in 3-4 weeks.
Two reasons why scrubbing is not recommended during pregnancy is, skin tends to get dry and itchy during pregnancy, if you scrub dry skin, then it can aggravate itching since there is a chance of pigmentation during pregnancy, skin can turn darker if you are scrubbing your face often. Excess scrubbing can cause friction in your skin and can irritate your skin.
You can use very gentle fine scrubbing home remedies. Not the harsh ones but gentle ones. But not very often.
Can changes in skin indicate any underlying issues? How to proceed if there are any skin-related issues during pregnancy, sometimes we fail to understand that the condition has to be treated.
There are changes that take place during pregnancy, some are physiological changes, and some are pathological changes. Physiological changes which are bound to happen like some people get this pigmentation on the neck, pigmentation in the abdomen area, neck, underarms, because of weight gain also some people can get pigmentation, some women get acne also if they are on any hormone injections, or generally, also pregnancy hormones can cause acne.
All these are still okay, stretch marks are normal for pregnancy, but when do you need to worry? When you see the changes like excessive darkening of the skin around the neck and underarms, you start getting pigmentation in the forehead area, and bad acne which you need to tackle, another thing that you need to look out for is infections!
Infections are very common in pregnancy, all kinds of bacterial, fungal, as well as viral. Why because there is a weight gain, there is more perspiration, there is a lot of sugar craving, and indulgence in food thinking that I am pregnant I can eat anything can cause more harm than good.
So because of excess sugar, and improper diet, there is a chance that you can get a fungal infection, some bacterial infection, skin is also dry and the barrier on the skin tends to miss, so there are more chances of you catching hold of bacteria and if you wax when your skin is so dry, there are high chances of folliculitis because your skin is already dry and then you are stripping a layer. It can aggravate the irritation on the skin.
If you have itching in the groin area, under the abdomen because of the growing belly, and under the breasts, this happens because of the increased folds in these areas during pregnancy, and sweat tends to accumulate to help a fungal infection.
It is better to treat it soon, or else you might need some oral medication. It is better to treat it early with creams. And also it is better you clear everything before you deliver so that you need not have to take any medication after childbirth.
If you come across any of the symptoms, speak to your doctor and get your medication accordingly.
Does a darker neck indicate gestational diabetes?
Due to physiological changes also there is a slight darkening of the skin. The alarming sign is when it is thick dark and velvety, you have to get yourself tested as it can be a sign of gestational diabetes.
It is not just diabetes, it could also mean that you have excess sugar in your diet, or your metabolism is not correct, but whatever it is speak with your doctor.
Is it safe to wax during pregnancy or use any other alternatives to waxing during pregnancy?
There is no contraindication or there is no reason not to wax. It is absolutely safe, there is nothing going inside your system, so you can easily wax.
Sometimes when the skin is too dry, also post 7 months some women tend to get rashes PUPPP because the skin is stretchy and itchy so that’s why they say to avoid waxing.
As waxing tends to pull the skin and skin irritation can aggravate in the last trimester. Otherwise, it does not cause any other harm to you and your child.
If you do not want to wax, you can either shave or trim, instead of using veet or any other cream, because it has a lot of chemicals in veet.
Lasers are safe in pregnancy. It has been proven that you can do laser hair reduction during pregnancy, post-pregnancy, and even before pregnancy because it doesn't go beyond skin deep.
Does any skin issue a mother is facing can be transferred to the baby too?
Most of the infections are not transferred but some of the rashes and genital infections if any. If it is a vaginal delivery, and there is a genital infection, then there is a chance that it can be transferred.
If it is a fungal infection, there is a chance of transferring, the baby is born with oral thrush which we call oral candidiasis, an oral fungal infection. That is why if you have the slightest doubt, then show it to the doctor to get treated as early as possible.
In some women, the skin around the vagina tends to get darker during pregnancy. Is it cosmetic or any medication is needed?
It is a cosmetic change, and it lightens after childbirth. As said before if it gets too dark and velvety then reach out to your doctor.
Can we bleach our skin during pregnancy?
During the first 3 months, it is recommended not to bleach your skin. Even after that, it depends on why you want to bleach your skin, are you bleaching your hair, or are you bleaching to reduce pigmentation or patchy skin? If it is just for cosmetic reasons, you don't have any big social gatherings to attend, then it is best to avoid it.
Else you can do it once, but not in the first trimester. And go for the oxy bleach, which is comparatively less harmful.
Some quick tips:
Moisturize your skin every day at least twice a day.
Oil your body 30 mins before your bath.
You can use oils based on the season and the ones that suit you. Coconut oil can be used across seasons.
There is a paraffin oil-based application that is natural and is not sticky too. You can use it during summer.
Keep yourself hydrated. Drink enough water throughout the day.
Chemicals such as retinol tretinoin, and retinol have to be avoided strictly. Because it is known to cause harm to the baby, during pregnancy avoid creams with this ingredient.
Prevention of stretch marks/ treating stretch marks
The most important one is slow and steady controlled weight gain.
during the first trimester, there is not much weight gain due to nausea, and hormones, then suddenly there is a drastic weight gain in the last trimester, and this sudden gain can do harm. The sudden skin stretch can cause more harm than the slow, steady, controlled weight gain.
The next important thing is hydration. Your skin has to be moisturized and hydrated. Internal as well as external. The more your skin barrier is strong with the good fats and diet, the skin has the lipid barrier that can be strengthened with a good diet, and moisturizing.
Regular moisturizing at least 2 times a day.
All these can be prevention of stretch marks, you can also start using anti-stretch mark creams also, you can start using creams just when the stretch marks have started to appear before they turn white.
You can start using stretch marks cream after 3 months that is after the first trimester.
Start applying the cream when the marks are still pink or red, if they have turned white, then it cannot be worked upon.
There are many good anti-stretch mark creams available. You can check our video to get some names.