Pregnancy is a beautiful time in your life—and you’ll love basking in that notorious pregnancy glow (yes, it does exist!). But between hormonal fluctuations and everyday stressors, pregnancy also comes with its own unique skin challenges. And especially during this time in your life, it’s important to focus on gentle, natural remedies for common skin concerns—from blemishes to hyperpigmentation.
You're experiencing … stretch marks
Why it’s happening: Stretch marks—an all-too-frequent effect of pregnancy—are a result of skin literally stretching out (which, of course, is inevitable during pregnancy), as well as increased cortisone levels that weaken the skin’s elastic fibers. Between 50 percent and 90 percent of pregnant women experience stretch marks, most commonly in the third trimester. Although they aren’t dangerous, they can be itchy, uncomfortable and an aesthetic nuisance.
Pregnancy SOS: Vitamin E is a go-to remedy for preventing or alleviating stretch marks. Often used to heal scars and support skin elasticity, this potent antioxidant—which is extracted from a range of nourishing oils—can be found in lotions and serums. Other nourishing ingredients to look for in your skin care products include aloe, shea butter and apricot kernel oil.
Products we love: The Honest Co. Organic Belly Balm is chock-full of ultranourishing plant butters and oils to hydrate skin and improve elasticity. Let your baby bump soak up the organic goodness! Also try: Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Stretch Oil
You’re experiencing … breakouts
Why it’s happening: Shifting hormones is one of the main causes of adult acne, which means the problem heightens during pregnancy. An increase in androgen hormones often leads to acne flare-ups at some point during those nine months.
Pregnancy SOS: Avoid topical retinoids, which are commonly used to combat acne but could pose concerns for pregnant women. Though the skin absorbs only small amounts, studies have linked their use during pregnancy to birth defects. Instead, opt for water-based gentle cleansers and nongreasy topical products that are labeled noncomedogenic (meaning they won’t clog pores and irritate sensitive skin) and contain plant-based ingredients. Also focus on reducing stress during pregnancy (staying physically active and practicing meditation can help), another culprit behind acne.
Products we love: Juice Beauty Oil-Free Moisturizer is the perfect option for your sensitive skin. It not only quells breakouts but also moisturizes with a blend of organic grape, aloe vera, antioxidants and sea algae.
Also try: Belli Acne Control Spot Treatment
You’re experiencing … melasma
Why it’s happening: Melasma is a common skin disorder that causes dark patches on the skin, and it is even more prevalent in some women during pregnancy—so much so that it is referred to as the “mask of pregnancy” because of its link to the female hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Pregnancy SOS: The good news is that melasma generally fades within a few months after pregnancy. More good news: If you don’t want to wait it out, there are natural ways to prevent and mitigate it. First, focus on sun care. Aside from pregnancy, sun exposure is one of the main culprits of melasma, according to dermatologist Romeo Morales, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Department of Medicine Upstate Medical Campus, The State University of New York. Once you’re properly protected from the rays using a mineral sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, select skin care products that employ natural ingredients to brighten trouble zones.
When choosing a product, start by avoiding hydroquinone, a potent chemical commonly used for this purpose (skin absorbs it much more than other ingredients, making it especially questionable during pregnancy). New research supports various plant-based ingredients for combating hyperpigmentation, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Standouts include soy and niacinamide (a form of vitamin B), ellagic acid (a natural substance derived from strawberries, cherries and pomegranates) and lignin peroxidase (an enzyme that comes from a fungus and can break down melanin in the skin). Other skin brighteners: citrus extracts and even sake.
|Products we love: Derma-E Even Tone Brightening Day Cream SPF 15 does double duty: gentle brightening, thanks to niacinamide, and daily sun protection from mineral zinc oxide. Also try: 100% Pure Brightening Serum|