I can’t believe it’s been four years since I was pregnant with my last child. Time truly flies once you’re a parent, but those pregnancy days seem to stretch on forever when you’re in the midst of them.
With all the stresses and worries about doing everything perfectly, we sometimes forget to take care of ourselves in the process. Much like the flight attendants always tell you in an emergency situation, make sure to take care of yourself before anyone else so that you may assist them to the best of your ability. In the case of pregnancy, you’re not just taking care of yourself but also the health of your growing bundle of joy, so you must not lose sight of the importance of self-care.
With all the stresses and worries about doing everything perfectly, we sometimes forget to take care of ourselves in the process.
Maintain Your Routine
Exercise, a healthy diet full of whole foods, and staying hydrated are what most people think of in terms of self-care during pregnancy, but let’s not forget the importance of skin care! Keeping the skin moisturized and healthy during the incredible upheaval and change your body experiences is just as important, and yes, that includes your face.
A lot of women completely discard their skin care routine when they become pregnant since they’re worried about adverse reactions or somehow harming the baby with chemicals. I don’t want to get into a whole thing, but everything is a chemical, even “all-natural” things. There’s a whole list of ingredients people will tell you you shouldn’t use, but some of that is iffy with scant or old, disproven evidence. Yet I don’t fault an expectant mother for not wanting to take any chances.
For the most part, almost everything is safe, your skin is an incredibly effective barrier, and not much can pass through it. With that in mind, there are the big three ingredients you will want to avoid when you’re pregnant.
Retinoids, Benzoyl Peroxide, and Salicylic Acid
Yes, it totally sucks that at the time you’re most likely to experience hormonal acne, you’re pretty much forbidden from using the products proven to help lessen its effects (salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide), but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. Besides, we’d all gladly endure a few blazing honker zits for a healthy baby.
And anti-aging superstar retinoids have to take a backseat to a simple routine free of actives since there is evidence they can cause birth defects in the developmental phase of fetuses. Sorry tretinoin users, but it’ll still be there ready to give you that same baby smooth skin your wee one has once you’re all done growing your precious angel.
For Everything Else, Keep It Simple
The key to a healthy pregnancy skin care routine is keeping it simple. Have a good low pH cleanser, a nourishing toner, and a mild moisturizer (if you’re dry or experiencing hormonal dryness, you’ll want a rich cream to boot). The less fuss the better, especially in the first trimester when everything makes you want to hurl, and in the last trimester when five minutes at the sink makes you want to nap for hours.
If you want to get into a more intensive routine, the best time would be that magic middle period—it’s also when you’ll already be experiencing that famous pregnancy glow. Enhance with soothing sheet masks and jade roller facial massages. Take time to really treat yourself, because let’s face it, you are doing the hardest and most important job on earth. Like Allie Wong says, you’re “busy growing an eyeball,” so you totally deserve some skin care indulgence!
Also, a little tip from one mama to another: Do it now while you can. Because soon you’ll have a 3-year-old screaming to be let into the bathroom to potty every time it’s time for your skin care routine … or maybe that’s just me.