Being pregnant is one of life’s great adventures – and a real rollercoaster for your body. Before you’ve even found out you’re expecting, changes will have started to happen all over the body, and your hormones will have gone haywire! For first time Mums especially, it’s a time full of questions. We all want to know we’re doing the right things to take care of ourselves and our budding bundle of joy.

But what a lot of advice for pregnant women doesn’t take into account is the profound effect pregnancy can have on your skin. So here we’re discussing some of the key skin issues you might experience during pregnancy, and some of the simple things you can do to handle them. Of course, every pregnancy is different, and you might experience other symptoms than the ones listed, or indeed none at all (you lucky thing!) – but these are some of the most common ones we come across here at Akina:

Stretch Marks

Probably pregnancy’s most famous skin side effect! Stretch marks happen as your baby grows and your tummy grows to accommodate it, stretching the skin as it does so. While your body does produce hormones that allow your skin to stretch in this way, unfortunately Mother Nature didn’t design these hormones to be good enough to stop stretch marks! But you can minimise your risk of marks by using an oil or lotion on your tummy throughout pregnancy. Jojoba oil is one of my favourites for this, as well as cocoa butter. Cocoa butter contains polyphenols which improve skin elasticity and tone and help with better collagen retention. Remember to apply it to your chest area also, as your skin will stretch there too!

After childbirth, treatments such as laser or micro-needling will help to reduce any stretch marks that have formed. The key is to have them treated 6-8 months postpartum – leaving it longer than five years will mean you’re unlikely to see any results from the treatment.

Melasma

Melasma is a common skin condition where the skin becomes darker in patches. It usually affects areas such as the cheeks, forehead, upper lip, nose and chin, but in some circumstances it can appear on the neck and the forearms, too. Melasma isn’t something that just happens in pregnancy, but because of its frequent onset during pregnancy, it’s become known as ‘the mask of pregnancy’. Very dramatic altogether.

While there is no specific cure for melasma, the good news is that it usually rectifies itself once you’ve had the baby. Meanwhile,  sunscreen on a daily basis is the best way to prevent it from getting worse, and there are treatments that can help such as laser or chemical peels if you find it doesn’t clear up after birth.

One of my favourite products is the Image Skin Care Ilumna Serum, it contains ingredients that inhibits the production of melanin, helping to improve the appearance of the skin.

Thread veins.

The increased blood flow throughout pregnancy (your blood flow increases tenfold while pregnant!) can put pressure on your veins, and that can cause thread veins to appear. But don’t worry, these can be successfully treated with laser once you’ve had your baby. And in the meantime, enjoy the wonderful glow that this increased bloodflow brings to your skin!

Oilier Skin

Another side effect of the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy is an increase in oil production by the sebaceous glands, leading to oilier skin. A surge in hormones in the first and then third trimester can mean a breakout of acne for some women, while others find that their acne can clear up throughout the pregnancy. Having regular facials during your pregnancy will allow your skin therapist to keep an eye on any changes your skin might be going through, so they can advise you on the best skin care to deal with that.

What to avoid:

Take care what you’re putting on your skin during pregnancy. Products containing glycolic or salicylic acid should only be used with your doctors consent. High doses of salicylic should be avoided, however small amounts can be used to  spot treat any breakouts that might occur. Despite the fact that Retinol when applied topically does not penetrate into the blood stream, you should only use products containing retinol with your doctor’s consent.

The bottom line? When in doubt, consult your doctor or skin therapist before using.

Loose Tummy Skin

Any mother will tell you that your tummy looks quite different after there’s been a baby in there for nine months! Of course a lot of things will naturally return to normal over time, but for any problem loose tummy skin, the Venus Freeze treatment can really help in firming and tightening it back up. Venus Freeze™ is the ultimate solution for “freezing time” and reversing the ageing process, perfect for targeting loose, wrinkled or tired skin on the face and body. Venus Freeze is also the only Radio Frequency treatment available that can be used into the orbital bone (the bone around the eye area) for a more lifted appearance. So not only can it help with tummy skin, it’s also perfect for helping to deal with the tired look that comes hand-in-hand with a newborn!

So enjoy your pregnancy, and if you experience these or any other skin issues at any stage throughout, don’t hesitate to talk to us about safe, effective treatment.

For further information contact us on Ph: 016766411 or email [email protected].ie