Celebrity Facialist Explains Why Hormones During Pregnancy Can Affect Your Skin | My Baba

Celebrity facialist Cherry Woods is much loved by broadcasters, brides to be and beauty fans for the hi-tech, anti-ageing treatments available at the Cherry Woods Skin Clinic in Richmond. As a skincare guru and proud mum to her very own bundle of fun, five year old Oscar, Cherry understands that the changes in skin during pregnancy can be both frustrating and upsetting.

She explains: “Hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy can affect your skin in a multitude of ways, from skin thickness to wrinkle formation and moisture levels. It’s certainly not all bad news, as these changes often result in people noting a lovely ‘pregnancy glow’. There are of course less desirable effects on the skin but rest assured you aren’t alone in these. Here’s a rundown of the most common pregnancy skin issues and how best to combat them so you can feel as confident and comfortable as possible during your pregnancy.”

Pigmentation

During pregnancy, elevated hormonal activity can aggravate skin pigmentation, particularly in areas prone to sun-exposure such as the forehead, nose and cheeks. This effect is experienced by nearly 50% of pregnant women at some level, and is known as melisma or the ‘pregnancy mask’.

How can you combat it?

Firstly, use an antioxidant-rich, broad spectrum physical (or 5* rated) SPF 50 sun protection every single day of your pregnancy and in the weeks immediately after too. Add a broad rim hat or baseball cap for additional protection and try to stay out of the sun too, as it’s not just the sun’s harmful rays that can cause pigmentation but the actual heat too. Secondly, invest in exfoliators and cleansers with lactic acid, or glycolic acid, to gently lighten and brighten your skin. Look out for products including Vitamin C which helps disperse pigment.

Sensitivity

Your skin will be extra sensitive during pregnancy, contributing pigmentation problems outlined above as well as potentially aggravating underling conditions such as eczema. Some women will experience itchy, irritated skin and rashes.

How can you combat it?

Keep your skin super cool in the sun to combat the external factor of heat change. Keep cool cloths at the ready and carry around a water spray in your handbag, such as the Evian sprays available from Boots.

Broken Capillaries

When you are pregnant your body produces 50% more blood, resulting in more blood circulation through your body.  This increase in blood circulation causes your face to be brighter which is often called the pregnancy glow. However for some people this process can cause broken capillaries also known as spider veins.

How can you combat it?

Often these will disappear as quickly as they came once your little one arrives. It’s a good idea to be proactive by using a good topical Vitamin C serum to help support the elasticity of capillary walls and prevent permanent breakage. Sticking to the pigmentation and sensitivity advice above will also contribute to better quality skin that should recover quicker from the toll of increased blood circulation.

When the glow goes too far!

Oestrogen can increase glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), such as Hyaluronic Acid, which maintains fluid balance and structural integrity. They can also increase collagen production in the skin, helping skin to remain plump, hydrated and wrinkle-free. Your oil glands can also go into overdrive, sometimes leaving your face shiny. For most skin types, this extra oil flow on the skin is a welcome friend and adds to that lovely pregnancy glow, but depending on the time of year this can upset the delicate balance of your skin.

How can you combat it?

Switch to an oil free, wash-off cleanser and a water based or oil-free moisturiser to control the oil levels of your skin. Obviously I recommend that whether pregnant or not, you should always remove all make up and cleanse your skin daily but the importance of this is even clearer during pregnancy to prevent oil build up and blockages!

Pregnancy is a time of great excitement and joy, so if your skin is getting your down during this time then do speak to a skincare specialist for advice totally tailored to your background and lifestyle. In some cases conditions such as acne could be exacerbated or make a return, but rest assured that in the vast majority of cases, skin returns to normal soon after birth.

By Cherry Woods 
Twitter: @cherrywoodsskin

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