Stretch Marks & Serums: Skincare During Pregnancy

 

One of my very best friends is pregnant. Like, PREGNANT. She is due next week. That whole “glowing” thing they talk about is completely true. She glows.

While I’d love to naively assume that glow comes from magic, and the universe and baby dust, I am a bit more cynical. The pregnancy glow comes from a few contributing factors:

  • There is a 50% increase in blood volume when pregnant causing a brighter and fuller face.
  • The influx of hormones causes increased oil production, or a “sheen”.

For some, excess oil production can also trigger acne production. While this may not be new for some of us, what you may not have given any thought to is what you can use to treat that breakout. Surprisingly, even a small amount of certain topical products applied to your skin while pregnant is recommended against. The FDA classifies ingredients based on what is safe and what to avoid. Namely A, B, C, D and X. Only Class A and B are safe while pregnant and breastfeeding.

Here is a quick rundown on what to avoid and why. Also, stay tuned for what one major celeb swore by to prevent and treat stretch marks during her four pregnancies.

  • Retinol & Retinoids: NO! I can’t live without my retinol. I mean that. Unfortunately for nine months we may have to. A Class C ingredient, meaning risk to the fetus cannot be ruled out, this Vitamin A derivative can cause liver toxicity and birth defects when used during pregnancy.
  • Hydroquinone: When you notice that pregnancy mask, or melasma, you may be tempted to reach for it for a quick spot fade. Don’t. It’s another Category C ingredient.
  • Salicylic Acid: This one is a little tricky. It seems salicylic acid is in many, many products these days. Even my simple facial cleanser contains salicylic acid. It is popping up in exfoliants, masks and serums. Ditch it as it is a Class C. Good news? You can still use Glycolic Acid which is an excellent sloughing substitute.
  • Benzoyl Peroxide: This seems totally harmless but is surprisingly a Class C chemical. Skip it for now.
  • Aluminum Chloride Hexahydrate: Basically every effective antiperspirant is made with this. Reach for a natural and simple deodorant – not the deodorant/antiperspirant combo you probably use – for a short while to ensure safety.
  • Formaldehyde: While this is not currently classified by the FDA, most nail polishes, especially gel nail polishes, contain formaldehyde. Also, embrace your curls for awhile and skip the Brazilian straightening treatment for your pregnancy as they use formaldehyde in their processing.
  • Essential Oils: While most diluted essential oils are likely safe, there are so many on the market these days and some are of high concentrated quality. In high doses these oils, especially tea tree and rosemary, can cause serious issues for pregnant women. While not classified by the FDA, these are best to avoid while pregnant.
  • Things to discuss with your Doc: Chemical sunscreens, hair color, prescription acne medication.

Now what you probably came here for. Victoria Beckham has had four – FOUR – children. I have yet to see a stretch mark on her lithe, little body. She credits Camellia Oil for that. Camellia Oil, a tea seed oil, works by stimulating collagen production while simultaneously preventing the breakdown of collagen. It also prevents hydration loss – Camellia oil-treated skin had less transepidermal water loss (TEWL) than non-treated skin 1-2 hours after treatment according to a 2007 study in Ethnopharmacology. While Posh swore by Elemis Spa Home Japanese Camellia oil, one of my fave lines, Brooklyn Botany, makes a 100% pure Camellia Oil at less than half the price. Bonus: you can use this 100% pure Wonder Oil as a makeup remover, to treat acne scars and as a natural moisturizer.

Brooklyn Botany’s Camellia Wonder Oil contains no harmful chemicals, no added color or alcohol and an all natural fragrance. It is not tested on animals, is vegan and gluten free. Pregnant or not, pick yours up here.

  • This is a blog for informational purposes and is not to be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician for advice and recommendations
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