Skincare needs in pregnancy
Your changing skincare needs in pregnancy
Weleda’s skincare expert Elizabeth King advises on particular skincare needs during pregnancy, when many mums-to-be look to change their usual skincare routine.
Pregnancy can be celebrated as one of life’s most significant moments of change. Excitement and possible uncertainties mean that emotions fluctuate, while hormones are surging and the body is constantly adapting and adjusting. Your environment is also changing as you prepare your home space and manage your work.
It is not unusual for these changes to be reflected in your skin, and for it to feel super-sensitive during your pregnancy.
This super-sensitivity also extends to your sense of smell, which may mean you find certain fragrances overpowering or unappealing.
Time to switch!
During pregnancy, your blood circulation naturally increases, your body temperature may increase slightly, and skin can therefore become drier. Certain substances that have entered through the skin may potentially reach the developing baby.
Face and body care preparations can offer tremendous support and care for your skin, so if you haven’t already, this is certainly the time to consider switching to 100% natural. It’s a good time to ditch synthetic fragrances, preservatives and colourants such as parabens, phthalates or ‘endocrine disrupting’ ingredients such as triclosan.
Weleda’s certified natural soothing facial care and bespoke pregnancy range have been especially developed to safely support your skin, nurture your senses and honour your growing bump.
Skin that is feeling highly reactive appreciates being cocooned. The precious almond oil, found in the Almond Sensitive Facial care, offers such protection. Almond has a great affinity with the skin, immediately creating a protective shield so that the skin can re-establish its healthy barrier function.
And for the super-sensitive noses, the almond soothing facial range is fragrance-free, while it gently gets to work to soothe skin irritation and redness.
Hormonal breakouts and possible pigmentation
An increase in hormones, called androgens, can have a direct effect on the sebaceous glands in the skin, leading to increase in oil production. This can result in oily outbreaks, inflammation and sore spots.
Weleda’s Aknedoron Cleansing Lotion and Purifying Lotion make use of natural anti-inflammatory ingredients chamomile and calendula to calm the skin, while thyme and sulphur purify and decongest the problematic area. Importantly, all this is achieved without drying out the skin. Instead, the skin’s own self-regulatory and healing capacity is strengthened, helping to restore balance.
Changes in hormones can also cause skin pigmentation known as melasma (or chloasma), thought to be due to the increase in oestrogen during pregnancy that stimulates the production of melanin. These brownish patches of skin mostly affect the forehead, nose, upper lip and cheek areas. Melasma often disappears after pregnancy.
Strengthening the skin’s natural rhythms can be really helpful in supporting your skin’s ability in coping with these hormonal skin changes. Begin and end your day with some alternate warm and cool facial rinsing. For additional therapeutic benefits, add half a capful of Lavender Bath Milk to your warm water, soak your face cloth and hold it to your face for several seconds, breathing in deeply. Follow with a cool splashing rinse.
What about stretch marks?
It is ideal to begin preparing and strengthening the skin of your tummy, breast and thighs as early in your pregnancy as possible. Weleda’s Stretch Mark Massage Oil contains an expert combination of sweet almond oil, vitamin E rich wheatgerm oil and organic arnica to improve elasticity and help prevent stretch marks. At the same time, its exquisitely delicate fragrance of rose, neroli and myrrh gently envelops you and brings about a feeling of comfort, calm and joy. It is no wonder we hear of many mums continuing to use this oil long after pregnancy ends!
Consciously applying this oil as a nurturing massage ritual is a simple and powerful way to connect with your baby. By the end of the second month of pregnancy your baby’s skin, as the primary sensory organ, already has a fully developed sense of feeling and touch. Use rhythmical circular movements over your tummy, around your breasts, and flowing figures of eight movements over the upper thighs and buttocks. This warms the tissue and brings a sense of calm and peace to you both.
If during the second trimester, you start to notice a brown line running down from your belly button, don’t worry, this is called linea nigra. Like melasma, this pregnancy pigmentation is as a result of increased hormones, and usually disappears after pregnancy.
Tired legs and puffy ankles
Tired legs and puffy ankles is a common experience, especially in the last trimester of pregnancy. Your growing uterus puts pressure on the veins, hindering circulation in your legs. Fluids build up, feet swell and legs feel uncomfortable and tired.
It will help to elevate your feet whenever possible. Giving yourself a refreshing 7-minute footbath can be helpful too. Add one capful of Citrus Bath Milk to water that is a comfortable temperature, neither too warm nor too cold. Make sure the water in your foot basin properly covers your ankles. After seven minutes gently dry your feet and reach for Weleda’s well-loved cooling and refreshing Foot Balm. Your feet will surely feel relieved!
Other sensitivities . . .
With the increased blood circulation and hormonal changes, nose bleeds and bleeding gums can also be a common occurrence as mucous membranes become particularly sensitive. Thankfully, Weleda can offer support here too.
Rhinodoron Nasal Spray is comfortable and easy to use and thanks to the organic aloe vera and natural saline solution, it gently cleans, soothes and cares for dry and delicate nasal passageways.
For gum strengthening and natural oral health, try the Ratanhia Mouthwash, expertly formulated for sensitive gums, and Ratanhia Toothpaste for its gum strengthening extracts of wild ratanhia root.
The skin around the perineum is particularly sensitive, and Weleda’s specially formulated gentle Perineum Massage Oil is ideal to help you prepare for birth. You can read more about the benefits perineal massage here.
Pregnancy self-care heroes
When in need of a gentle hug, the Wild Rose Body Oil, infused with the wonders of organic wild rose seed oil and sweet almond, is deeply nurturing and pampering. Following a warm bath (remember not too hot), apply your body oil with long sweeping strokes to your upper arms and chest. Next, using both hands on either side of spine, and starting as high up the back as you can reach, continue with a full, purposeful stroke down to your buttocks.
If feeling a little overwhelmed with bodily tiredness and an over-active mind, add a capful of Lavender Bath Milk to a bowl of steaming water. Place the bowl safely on your bedside table. Lie in a comfortable position, it might be helpful to have a good pregnancy pillow to facilitate this. Now, breathing deeply, inhale the aroma gently carried by the steam. While you feel your body relax and your mind beginning to ease, it can be helpful do the following ‘letting go exercise: recall your day backwards, from the last thing you did before going to bed all the way to the beginning of the day . . . let yourself peacefully begin to drift off . . .