Pregnancy is a time when many women need to make changes to their skincare routine. Knowing about skin care during pregnancy and using the right products is extremely important for skin health.
This blog post will share suggestions and tips for skin care during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, not only does our body change, our emotions and habits change, and we enter a new and different period of our lives. Every pregnancy is a personal and sensitive process.
Let's look at the changes in our emotions, body, hormones, and skin accompanying all these changes, shall we?
First, let's talk briefly about this journey from pregnancy to birth. What's going on in our bodies and our hormones? What awaits us?
Pregnancy is divided into three periods, every 14 weeks, and each period is called a trimester.
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1st Trimester (First 14 weeks)
This period covers the first 14 weeks of pregnancy and is the most important in diagnosing pregnancy and pregnancy-related problems and risks.
The first ten weeks of pregnancy is when tissues that will differentiate into organs and systems are formed.
Therefore, the developing embryo is susceptible to drugs, radiation, chemicals, and infectious agents during this period. After the 10th week, the embryo is called a 'fetus'.
Fetal sex is determined during the union of the sperm and the ovum. While the X chromosome always comes from the mother, the X or Y chromosome comes from the father, and the sex is determined by forming XX or XY chromosomes at the fertilization stage.
About 6-7 weeks of pregnancy. Reproductive organs begin to develop. However, after the 12th week, differentiation is observed in the external and internal genital (reproductive) organs in the direction of male or female.
2nd trimester (weeks 14-28)
In this period, called the "golden period" of pregnancy, many pregnancy-related problems disappear, and it is felt as comfortable as before pregnancy. In the 2nd trimester, when the gender of the baby is also known, baby movements begin to be felt, and the abdomen grows.
3rd trimester (between 28 weeks and birth)
The third trimester of pregnancy is the "silver period." Depending on the weight gain of the fetus, the mother may experience physical problems. Especially mothers who cannot control their weight and have excess weight may experience a little more physical distress.
Skin Changes During Pregnancy
So how does our skin respond to all these changes? What skin problems can we encounter during pregnancy, and how can we take precautions?
Changes during pregnancy may differ depending on factors such as the structure of the skin, genetic characteristics, and the ability of the skin to tolerate differences in hormones.
Women who care for their skin during pregnancy have very few problems.
Skin changes in the 1st trimester
The increase in estrogen in the first three months of pregnancy is still minimal. An increase in the hormone HCG called the pregnancy hormone, begins.
This elevation triggers an increase in estrogen and progesterone hormones, which leads to changes in the skin condition in the future.
Since the sebum balance of the skin will change, acne may occur. In this process, skin cleansing and regular use of sunscreen will be a good measure for the following periods.
Skin changes in the 2nd trimester
In the second 3 months, the estrogen hormone increases 30-50 times the average level, causing an increase in the melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH). This is the hormone responsible for blemish problems on the skin and leads to an increase in pigment cells.
The increase in progesterone also disrupts intercellular circulation, causing dryness in the skin. These hormones, in addition to stains on the skin, push the oil-moisture balance to deteriorate and the formation of cracks.
Imbalance in sebum level results in acne proneness in some skins and dryness in others.
If there is a blemish problem, a history of blemishes, or skin prone to blemishes, it is possible to encounter blemishes during this period.
Especially dark people are more prone to stains. The spots we call melasma and pregnancy mask begin to form in this period.
Apart from the face, spotting can also be encountered in the armpits, genital area, and belly line. During this period, the skin begins to dry and itchy. Adding moisture will prevent cracks and allow you to control the staining situation.
Although stains are encountered, it is necessary to wait for the end of the pregnancy period for stain removal applications and spot lightening creams, laser systems, and injection applications.
Skin changes in the 3rd trimester
In the last three months, like many hormones, there has been an increase in the hormone relaxin. This is the hormone that functions to provide maximum flexibility in the joints and prepares the birth canal.
Due to this hormone, the skin loses its ability to synthesize collagen to a large extent, and accordingly, facial pinkness or capillary problems may be encountered.
During this period, sunscreen and moisturizer should not be neglected. Consumption of plenty of water, which is very important for skin health, is also significant in this period.
Vitamin C is the most suitable ingredient for spots during pregnancy, which nourishes and opens the skin.
Let's Review Your Skin Care Routine
Since the oil and moisture balance of the skin will change during pregnancy, problems such as drying of the skin or acne formation, and itching may occur. It is necessary to use products suitable for changing skin structure and updating skin care habits.
Especially people who are prone to blemishes or have blemishes on their skin should stay away from skin care products that lighten blemishes. Vitamin C is the most suitable ingredient for spots during pregnancy, which nourishes and opens the skin.
In the skin care of pregnant women, incredibly intense nourishing, regenerating, protective, and preventing skin problems should be preferred.
By choosing the right products according to the tendency of the skin, It is essential to balance the oil on the skin if there is oiliness, or to provide moisture to the skin if the dryness is intense, to adjust the moisture-oil balance of the skin with hyaluronic acid, and vitamins.
Masks that calm the skin and products with vitamin K can also be preferred. Antioxidants have a significant role in preventing free radical accumulation in anti-aging care.
In addition to vitamin C, supplementation can be obtained from vitamin E, glutathione, selenium, and coenzyme Q10.
As for sunscreen, products that do not contain chemical filters, have mineral filters, have a minimum SPF of 50, do not clog the pores, and have moisturizing properties should be used.
It should not be forgotten that it is necessary to act depending on the skin type in selecting product structure and content. However, water-based emulsion products that the skin can easily absorb during pregnancy can be preferred.
Cleaners and care products used during pregnancy should not contain perfume, paraben, silicone, alcohol, and oxybenzone.
Spf50 and above should also prefer sun protection with a mineral filter.
What should we pay attention to?
They should avoid products containing active ingredients such as perfume, paraben, silicone, alcohol, oxybenzone, retinol, vitamin A derivatives, high salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide.
Since most women's skin may be sensitive during this period, we do not recommend aggressive applications and products such as peeling.
The first three months - 4 months are crucial. After the 4th month, they can plan the professional care performed in the Clinics or Salons.
Since the hormones are very active, special attention should be paid to the absence of vitamin B5, which causes an increase in hair growth and hair growth in the moisturizers used. Aromatherapy products that are harmful to the baby should be avoided.
Pure aroma oils such as basil, cedarwood, clove, cypress, fennel, juniper, rosemary and thyme should be avoided. Product selections must be under the control of the Doctor.
Why do pregnancy spots occur? What precautions can be taken for these stains?
Spotting, called melasma, chloasma, or pregnancy mask, is common during pregnancy. The increase in estrogen paves the way for the formation of these spots.
Especially on the cheeks, forehead, upper lip, nose, and chin areas, the spots are dark brown, and the borders are scattered and indistinct.
It is more common in dark skin. To protect from spots, it is vital to increase the strength of the skin and its resistance to spots by performing regular skin care and protecting itself from the sun with suitable sunscreen creams.
These stain formations also manifest themselves in the form of darkening of color on the body. Darkening of color is often seen under the arm and in the genital area, sometimes forming a line from the navel to the pubis. Again, this risk is higher in dark skin.
Drying, keeping dry, and moisturizing the underarm and genital areas after showering are preventative measures to prevent discoloration.
Pregnancy and Acne Formation
Especially after the 8th week, the work of sweat and sebum glands increases due to the change in hormones.
The secretion of sebum in the skin improves and the oil-moisture balance of the skin is disturbed.
Black spots begin to form and become acne if not cleaned afterward. Ensuring the oil-moisture balance before blackheads form is essential in preventing acne formation.
In addition to clinical care, continuing with the right products in home care also supports the treatment. It should be noted that not every product should be used during pregnancy.
The use of some drugs is not appropriate during this period, and the treatment to be followed after acne should be specific to the pregnant woman under the control of a physician.
Skin Sensitivity in Pregnancy
With the formation of new capillaries due to the increase in the hormone relaxin, spider-like veins occur on the skin's surface. Itching caused by dryness, moisture loss due to thinning of the skin, and pinking are seen.
During this period, it is essential to use products to relieve skin sensitivity, calm the skin, and moisturize and nourish it.
Apart from clinical masks, you can also benefit from skin-calming home treatments that can be used on sensitive skin, such as cucumber masks, avocado masks, and honey and banana masks.
Pregnancy and Stretch Marks
While stretch marks form, the skin becomes thinner, and itches are accompanied. For this, it will be beneficial to increase the skin's elasticity, moisturize it regularly and feed it with products such as almond oil.
Proper nutrition also plays an essential role in preventing crack formation.
It is essential to eat a diet rich in E, and C vitamins and zinc and to consume plenty of water, as it helps control weight gain, healthy collagen, and elastin, and moisturize and nourish the skin.
Finally, oral skin health supplements such as collagens should preferably not be taken or should be taken in consultation with your doctor.
At the end of the pregnancy process, in the first 40 days, the puerperium period, we must protect our skin from extremely hot and cold water, steam, and sunlight so that our stains or skin problems do not become permanent.
To summarize the skin changes in pregnancy in general;
Dark spots (melasma): Brown or dark gray spots may occur, especially on the face, forehead, cheeks, and chin. These spots are caused by hormonal changes and often become more pronounced with exposure to sunlight.
Acne: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to acne breakouts. Acne usually occurs on the face, neck, back, and chest.
Dryness: Skin can become drier and more sensitive during pregnancy. This may be because the body pulls water from other organs into the skin to conserve fluids.
Varicose veins: During pregnancy, blood circulation can change, and varicose veins may occur in the legs or pelvis area.
Itching: Hormonal changes can cause skin itching. This itching can often be more prominent on the abdomen, chest, hands, and feet.
These skin changes usually subside or disappear entirely after birth. However, in some cases, some skin changes may be permanent, especially dark spots (melasma).
The care you show for your body and skin not only allows you to have a healthy pregnancy but also allows your body and skin to return to their original state more quickly. Do not forget that by making the best choice for yourself, you will have a healthier and happier pregnancy.
Do not forget to get support from your doctor for different skin problems and changes in your skin.