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After last week’s post, it is the time to focus on what not to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Some of the studies on ingredients I have found are not complete enough to establish a proper negative list. In my opinion, while some conclusive data arrives, it is better to avoid them completely.
I have received many emails lately regarding which products are suitable to treat some skin issues during pregnancy, especially, which ingredients to look out for. For this reason, I decided to dedicate today’s post to share all the information I know about this subject.
How to deal with stretch marks:
To prevent them I recommend the following oils, wheat germ, avocado, St John Wort and sweet almond. These oils, increase the softness and elasticity of the skin. They are also very soothing and are able to stimulate the production of fibroblasts (connective tissue cells). Other key ingredients include, ginseng, ivy, horsetail, horse chestnut, centella and echinacea. Also the massage is as important as the actual product or the oil we use.
Once the stretch marks are formed are more difficult to get rid off, but not impossible.
How to deal with hyperpigmentation:
The most common hyperpigmentation case is called melasma, known also as “pregnancy mask” due to the aspect of the dark patches across the face or “moustache” if it appears above the upper lip. It usually fades away, right after giving birth. To prevent, but also to treat, the following ingredients work wonders: mallow, Yarrow, Peppermint, Heath speedwell, Lemon balm, Cucumber, Primula, Buddleja, Lady’s mantle, niacinamide (at least 5%)
Sometimes a vertical line across your abdomen, called “linia nigra” appears, however it fades post-partum.
How to deal with acne:
In an ideal world, it would help to keep your acne under control before pregnancy as it could get worse later on. So if you are thinking of getting pregnant the following ingredients should be part of your routine: panthenol (decreases sebum), vitamin E (avoids the oils secreted from the sebaceous glands to go rancid, linoleic acid (keeps a healthy balanced skin). Also, I always recommend to use a toner, which have usually lowers the pH of the skin, by using this, it avoids bacteria proliferation as they prefer to live in more alkaline (higher pH) environments.
Once you are pregnant and acne appears, I personally like a combination of clay masks together with soothing ingredients such as aloe vera, chamomile and sebum-like jojoba oil. The use of exfoliating acids is strictly discouraged.
How to deal with itchy skin:
It is a very common symptom linked to high levels of oestrogens. It usually appears without a rash.
Incorporating ingredients such as bisabolol, allantoin, calendula oil, squalane, oat, chamazulene, rice oil or ruscus aculeatus extract will bring temporary relief.