Your skin and pregnancy

During the course of pregnancy, several things happen. Such happenings include psychological, hormonal, emotional and most especially physical changes. It’s quite easy to overlook what is going on on the inside but one way or the other, it translates to what is seen on the outside.

As relates to the skin, being pregnant can take its toll, most times due to the increased nutritional demands. A mother-to-be can experience one or all of the following.

  • Varicose veins: This occurs as a result of increased blood circulation, which relaxes the walls of the valves in the vein. In some cases, they may become swollen, itchy and painful especially towards the last weeks of pregnancy. Try not to stand for so long and while sitting, always elevate your feet, avoid crossing them.
  • Chloasma: This is also known as melasma or mask of pregnancy. Increase in estrogen triggers excessive melanin production which in turn creates pigmented patches on the face and body. One day you have soft, glowing and radiant skin, then the next day, you look toasted! Staying out of the sun and using sunscreen will keep one from getting more patches. Chloasma fades within 3 months of childbirth.
  • Stretch marks: These usually start appearing during the second trimester. As the name implies, the marks appear around the tummy, breasts and thighs as a result of the skin (collagen and Elastin) being stretched excessively. This condition can be controlled by massaging oils rich in vitaminE over the marks.
  • Oedema: Swollen legs and ankles are as a result of fluid gathering in the lower extremities. Elevating the feet while sitting and gently massaging in an upward motion towards the heart helps a lot.
  • Other allergies: Because of increase in several hormones, certain allergies may (re) surface. Allergies may include eczema, acne, psoriasis. Apart from the recommended skin care during pregnancy, nothing more can be done in most cases. The skin usually clears a few weeks after childbirth or breast-feeding.

For the face, do well not to skip applying a night crème as this helps to balance the skin. Avocado, argan and aloe-Vera based products work really well. Also try to get a facials treatment often to release facial tension.

For the body, avoid using soaps that may dry out the skin and always massage rich oils over stretched parts. Having a pedicure/foot massage from time to time also helps prevent oedema and varicose veins.

What other skin condition did you experience while pregnant? Let me know in the comments section below.

Top 3 ingredients I avoid in skin care products

When picking out skin care products, I’m pretty particular not just about the expiry date, but also the ingredients on the label. I already shared with us my must have ingredients in a previous post, so today, I’ll be sharing ingredients I avoid and why.

  1. Alcohol: Have you enjoyed a bottle or two of your favorite alcoholic beverage recently? Did you feel thirsty after a while? This is because alcohol has a tendency to dry up or dehydrate cells. Those with oily skin seems to favor cleansers and toners with alcohol in them because it gives them this crisp feel right after applying them. But truth is, it strips the top layer of the skin of all protective oils, thereby, causing the skin to produce even more to replace that which has been wiped out. This is not to say that all skin care products containing alcohol are bad, just do well to avoid those that have Alcohol Denat as their number one ingredient, that sting when applied or evaporate very quickly when exposed to the skin.
  2. Mercury: This ingredient is mostly found in antiseptic soaps and ‘skin lightening’ creams, serums and ointments. It works by inhibiting the formation of melanin (the natural color of the skin), resulting in lighter skin tones. Mercury is so potent that it also affects the people around whoever applies or uses it and in a negative way. Side effects include hair loss, drowsiness, weakness, depression, burning skin sensation when in humid or air-conditioned environment, itching, stinging and redness of skin over time. As if all the above is not enough, it also exposes the skin to sever sun damage. Look out for calomel, mercurous chloride, mercuric, mercurio as these are synonymous to mercury. If any of these names is listed as an ingredient on a skin care product, I avoid it!!
  3. Hydroquinone: In the US, Hydroquinone is a recommended ingredient in skin lightening BUT for particular skin conditions, in regulated quantities and for a specified period of time. Even at that, many people still suffer from the side effects which may include: skin dryness and cracking, excessive redness and irritation, blistering and blue-black darkening. These side effects also leave the skin more sensitive to sunburn and over time, more prone to skin cancer.

These 3 ingredients are an absolute no-no for me when picking up skin care products. What ingredients do YOU avoid? Let me know in the comment section below.

 

Your skin and the sun

Someone once joked that the sun needs to stop showing off as it remains the hottest thing on earth. I totally agree!!

It’s no secret that your skin gets a good dose of vitamin D from the early morning sun, but how much is too much? Where do you draw the line between nourishing your skin and keeping it from premature ageing and burn?

There are six skin types in relation to the sun and burn risk. These skin types are categorized based on the concentration of melanocytes (cells that give the skin its color) on the surface of the skin. Knowing where you fall will go a long way in helping you reduce any skin damage caused by the sun.

  • Type 1; People in this category have VERY fair skin, very light blond or red hair, are prone to freckles and have green or blue eyes. Europeans easily fall into this category. This skin type hardly tans (always gets burnt and very prone to skin cancer) and TOTAL sunblock should be used.
  • Type 2; Skin in this category burns easily and tans with difficulty. Hair can be blond or light brown and eyes are blue or brown. Should use SPF 20 and above. Total sunblock can be used on delicate areas.
  • Type 3; Skin sometimes gets burnt but tans very well. Hair is light brown and eyes are brown or green. Sunscreen with SPF 20 is ideal for this group.
  • Type 4; People with this skin type are usually found in the Mediterranean region. They have dark brown eyes and hair. Their skin rarely burns and tans easily and they are less likely to develop skin cancer than skin types 1 & 2. But with continuous exposure, their skin will age prematurely and become saggy. Sunscreen with SPF 15 is recommended.
  • Type 5; Skin in this category are not as vulnerable to UV-related ageing or skin cancer but this doesn’t mean care shouldn’t be taken. They have brown to light black skin and should use sunscreen with SPF 10 if they have to stay out in the sun for an extended period.
  • Type 6; This skin type is typical to Africans and Afro-Caribbeans. They have darker black-brown skin, black-brown eyes and hair. The skin hardly ever burns. For prolonged exposure, use SPF 8.

When using sunscreen, lavishly apply on areas not covered by clothing a few minutes before heading out under the sun, but do well to avoid staying out between 12 noon and 3 o’clock: this is when the sun is at its hottest!

After unexpected or prolonged sun exposure, use an after-sun soother. Aloe Vera works very well. If you have the real plant, just snap off a leaf and apply the sap directly to the affected areas. Or choose an after-sun product based on Aloe, just make sure Aloe barbadensis is the first ingredient on the label.

If you fall into Type 5 or 6 skin type and you seem prone to sunburn, you might need to re-examine the ingredients used in your skin care products as it may be eroding the protective melanocytes on the surface of your skin. Better still, visit a certified dermatologist.

Did you get value from todays’ post? Let me know in the comment section below.