Some women experience the ‘pregnancy glow’ – a result of your body circulating more blood in order to supply your baby with the essential nutrients it needs for its growth. The increased circulation of blood in your face makes your skin look brighter and radiant. Other women, suffer more with blemishes and oily skin, however it is important to realise that these skin changes in pregnancy are all perfectly normal. In order to best respond to the changes in your skin during pregnancy, adapt your pregnancy skincare regime as your pregnancy progresses.
During these initial months, oily skin prone to blemishes is normal, even for women who don’t usually get spots (1). Your sebaceous gland will be more active which is thought to be caused by changes in hormone levels so it is important to cleanse twice a day to clear away excess sebum from the skins surface to avoid feeling ‘greasy or sweaty’.
During the 2nd Trimester, many women experience what is often known as the ‘mask of pregnancy’. The mask of pregnancy is an up-regulation of the pigment known as melanin, typically seen as freckles or darkening around the areas of the forehead and cheeks. This is linked to UV exposure and hormonal changes during pregnancy. To prevent excessive melanin accumulation where possible, it is important to avoid the sun especially at peak hours (10am-4pm) and to use an SPF such as Olay Whips Regenerist Face Moisturiser With SPF 30.
Hydrates and Protects
Continue your cleansing routine of cleansing twice a day however, use a lightweight, non-greasy moisturiser to minimise the look of oil on the face. During this trimester, some women find their blemishes clear up, others find they experience it more, however rest assured as it typically disappears after giving birth.
During the 3rd and final Trimester, up to 90% of women experience hyperpigmentation (2) so avoiding UV exposure where possible is important. Those areas which are already dark or freckled are likely to darken further due to overactive melanocytes caused by UV exposure and which are also strongly linked to hormonal changes (3).
Although you may be frustrated with having blemishes, it important to avoid using any acne medication throughout your pregnancy as certain ingredients have been linked to affect foetal development. Continue to cleanse your face in the morning and evening following up with a lightweight, fast-absorbing moisturiser such as Olay Total Effects 7in1 Anti-Ageing Moisturiser SPF15.
Following pregnancy, continue to moisturise daily to maintain your skin barrier against environmental aggressors such as pollution and UV and to ensure your skin is protected from UVA and UVB rays. After all, with all the sleepless nights that no doubt will follow having a new born baby, you might need a boost to help you skin look its best. Typically hyperpigmentation (including ‘mask of pregnancy’) will disappear after pregnancy. Areas which are already darker, such as freckles which may have darkened, are likely to remain darker due to a higher number of melanin-producing cells at these sites. However, for some women these do not disappear postpartum; if concerned, visit your dermatologist for product recommendation. Post birth, for sheer coverage on any uneven skintone which may have developed during pregnancy, use Olay Regenerist CC Cream SPF 15 Moisturiser Medium.
Reference: Martin AG and Leal-Khouri S. Physical Changes Associated with Pregnancy. Int J Dermatol. 1992 Jun. Vol 31(6):375-8.
Reference: Common Skin Conditions during Pregnancy
Reference: Muallen MM and Rubeiz NG. Physical and Biological changes in pregnancy. Clin Dematol. 2006 Mar-Apr. Vol 24(2):80-3