Skin care isn’t something you may think about when pregnant – you’re plenty busy developing a human being, thank you very much. But pregnancy (and breastfeeding) can change the skin. With the body full of hormones, this is expected. The madness going on inside? That translates to the outside, too.
So, how do you care for your skin during these nine precious months and the breastfeeding year(s) that follow? It might be easier than you think. Consider the following:
Some of the regular rules of skin care always apply, whether you’re pregnant or not. Staying adequately hydrated helps your skin look and feel your best. Without enough water, the skin compensates through oil production. This can cause acne, irritation, and dry patches. It can also make wrinkles more evident. So, drink up! If you’re pregnant, you’re already going to the bathroom every minute, anyway.
Avoid certain products and procedures
There are some ingredients that don’t mix well with pregnancy or breastfeeding. Anything with hydroquinone, for instance, should be avoided – this is a class C drug and not recommended for use in pregnant or nursing women unless absolutely necessary. Other things that should be avoided include: Retinol, electrolysis, elective cosmetic surgeries, strong acids, aggressive treatments, and essential oils. The latter is hit or miss, with some essential oils believed safe and others posing more of a risk.
The less harsh, the better
Pregnant and breastfeeding moms know to be careful about what they eat and drink, because what they ingest, their child does, too. But it’s easy to forget about the skin. The skin is largest organ and, in many ways, the largest sponge: it absorbs what you put on it. Unfortunately, this includes toxins and chemicals.
Don’t skimp on sunscreen
According to the American Pregnancy Association, pregnancy makes the sun’s rays even more dangerous. Some studies link ultra violet radiation to folic acid deficiencies (something that’s especially vital during the early stages of pregnancy), but it can impact your skin directly, too. Not only does it make you more likely to burn, but pregnant women are highly susceptible to chloasma. This is a condition where brown spots appear on the face. It’s so common in pregnant women that its moniker is “the mask of pregnancy.” Not surprisingly, it is activated by sun exposure.
Taking care of your skin during pregnancy or breastfeeding doesn’t need to involve a lot of extra effort. These tips are effective ways to keep your skin looking optimal and feeling fabulous.
At Leah Nickie Advanced Aesthetics, we offer a soothing and pleasurable experience while providing education on skin health and skin care concerns. Our skin care lines reflect our belief that environmentally responsible products can and do provide the very best for our skin, our bodies, and our planet. For new and expectant mothers, we provide guidance for basic skin care while pregnant and breastfeeding, help address skin-related pregnancy issues, and provide relaxing, pregnancy approved facials. To schedule one of our services, please call 303-527-0101 or book online.
Everywhere you look, it seems another magazine article or celebrity is lauding the benefits of coconut oil, and for good reason—its unique combination of essential fatty acids (primarily lauric, myristic and palmitic acid), polyphenols, vitamins K and E, and iron penetrate skin while serving as a natural anti-inflammatory agent to help fight free radicals. It works wonders to deeply moisturize not only the skin on your body, but your hair and nails, as well. Some ways that we’ve seen coconut oil successfully used are as a makeup remover (just use a small dab, and be sure to cleanse well to remove any oily residue), a hair smoother, shaving cream, balm/cuticle oil, massage oil, and bubble bath.
But despite its many strengths, coconut oil isn’t for everyone, particularly if you are considering using it on facial skin. Coconut oil is largely considered to be comedogenic, meaning it will clog your pores. Those with oily or acne-prone skin should be cautious, as it could lead to breakouts. If this has happened to you and you’re wondering why, we’ll explain below, as well as provide some alternative ways to moisturize skin without clogging pores.
Is Coconut Oil Right For You?
Oily skin types naturally produce more sebum (skin oil) than other types, which leads to a shiny complexion, enlarged pores, runny makeup, and frequent breakouts. Though it seems counterintuitive, oily skin types still require moisture. In fact, one of the mistakes we often see is avoiding any kind of moisturizer on oily skin out of fear that it will lead to breakouts. This often backfires, as moisturized skin loosens sebum stuck inside pores. When skin becomes dry and irritated, it responds by producing even more oil—worsening the problem.
While coconut oil does have a stellar résumé of healing and moisturizing properties, it can lead to clogged pores and breakouts in some skin types.
It’s important to first understand the two types of coconut oil: extra virgin and fractionated. Extra virgin coconut oil undergoes less processing and is therefore higher in nutrients and antioxidants than oil that has been refined and bleached. While its abundance in fatty acids makes it a wonderful body and hair moisturizer, its heaviness can irritate sensitive skin, clog pores, and cause breakouts for oily skin types.
If extra virgin coconut oil has caused you to break out in the past, another option to try is fractionated coconut oil. Its long-chain fatty acids have been removed via hydrolysis and steam distillation, transforming it into a lighter oil that is less likely to clog pores.
If you’ve tried fractionated oil to no avail, there are plenty of other skin oils that help balance and moisturize without clogging pores, including argan, rosehip seed, grapeseed, and sunflower seed oil.
Coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer for some skin types, but for others, it can be too heavy and lead to clogged pores and breakouts. Everyone’s skin responds differently to products and ingredients, so don’t be afraid to try something else. At Leah Nickie ADVANCED AESTHETICS, we are happy to speak with you about your options. We are pleased to offer you an initial consultation at no cost. Schedule yours today.
Meta Description: What you need to know about putting coconut oil on your face if you have oily, acne-prone, or sensitive skin.
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If you are diligent about following a skin care regimen and still notice acne cropping up, consider what you’re eating to determine whether the culprit lies in your diet. What you put in your body reflects how it looks on the outside, after all. Be sure to add these foods to your rotation for the best skin-clearing results:
Oily Fish Like Salmon or Tuna
One diet-related cause of acne is inflammation, which occurs as a result of increased sugar intake. Sugar raises insulin levels in blood, triggering androgens, growth hormones, and cell-signaling pathways. This results in low-grade inflammation, increased oil secretion, clogged pores, and—unsurprisingly—acne flares. To avoid this, swap processed, sugary foods with anti-inflammatory choices like wild fish, nuts, and fresh fruits. Oily fish like salmon or tuna contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which can also improve inflammatory acne. Fish also provides biotin, a B vitamin that produces fatty acids and metabolizes amino acids, protecting your skin from acne, fungal infections, rashes, and dryness.
Seeds and Walnuts
Nuts like almonds and walnuts, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds are other great (vegetarian!) sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients help maintain cell membranes by protecting the skin and providing it with moisture—leading to a soft, supple complexion. Almonds and chia seeds are also packed with vitamin E, which can help you maintain a glowing complexion by protecting your skin from sun damage.
Refined, processed foods are some of the most well-known acne aggravators. For that reason, we often see that a low-glycemic diet tends to improve skin. Low-glycemic foods like vegetables, sweet potatoes, barley, beans, and whole grains won't spike your blood sugar as quickly as processed foods and white flour, which can increase inflammation and cause acne flair-ups. Replace pasta and white rice with complex carbs like barley, quinoa, beans, and brown rice—which are all lower on the glycemic index.
The next time you’re considering reaching for that second or third cup of joe, consider green tea, instead. Some research shows that drinking green tea can make your skin produce less sebum, reduce inflammation, and boost your immune system. It also contains antioxidants that can ease oxidative stress-induced breakouts.
Ease breakouts by adding plenty of probiotic-rich foods into your diet. These foods help good bacteria flourish in your gut. Although yogurt and kefir are good sources of probiotics, we generally recommend non-dairy choices like sauerkraut, dark chocolate, miso soup, and kimchi. You can also try a probiotic supplement. Be sure to look for products that have been infused with extra forms of probiotics like lactobacillus or acidophilus. Probiotics are an excellent way to keep your gut (and skin!) happy and healthy.
Fruits and Vegetables
Here’s another reason to pile your plate high with fresh fruits and vegetables. Produce is naturally high in water, keeping your skin and other cells hydrated. Foods rich in vitamin A, like sweet potatoes, carrots, and spinach, are particularly good for skin and can enhance its color and appearance. Aim to eat foods from every color of the rainbow to get the full range of nutrients.
Healthy skin isn’t only a result of what we topically apply to our faces—it’s just as much affected by what we eat. Fortunately, there are lots of tasty options to choose from. At Leah Nickie ADVANCED AESTHETICS, we take a holistic approach to your skin’s health and are happy to speak with you about how lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, and environment could be affecting your complexion. We are pleased to offer you an initial consultation at no cost. Schedule yours today.
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