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How you can stay pregnant and fabulous

Skin Care
 Rihanna looking radiant as ever during pregnancy (Photo: Courtesy)

Pregnancy is a period when your entire body undergoes plenty of changes – and your skin and hair will not be immune to the hormonal upheaval. Your old clothes will no longer fit right and your pre-pregnancy beauty routine may suddenly become inadequate or ineffective.

While pregnancy hormones give some pregnant women beautiful radiant skin, for others it’s acne season! If you’re prone to beauty woes during pregnancy, fret not. You can maintain healthy and beautiful skin, hair, and nails during pregnancy and after childbirth with the following tips.

Stay hydrated

During pregnancy, women require more hydration. After all, you’ll need more water to form amniotic fluid, build new tissue, produce extra blood, carry nutrients, enhance digestion and flush out wastes and toxins.

If you’re slacking with your water intake, your skin will end up looking dull and dry. While there’s an exact amount of water that you should take, it’s safe to assume that you should be taking at least eight glasses of water per day. The rule of thumb is that your urine should be pale yellow.

If your urine is dark yellow and strong-smelling, your mouth feels dry, and you feel tired, you might be dehydrated. If you don’t like drinking plain old water, you can infuse it with fruit slices or herbal teas that are pregnancy-safe. You can also boost your water intake through soups and fruit juices.

Sun protection

Your skin is more sensitive to sun exposure during pregnancy. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you might notice hyperpigmentation or sunburns, especially if you’re light-skinned.

Now is the time to ramp up on sun-safety. Look for a sunscreen lotion, of at least SPF 30, and apply it every day before going outdoors. Even if you’re staying indoors all day or the weather is cloudy, it’s still advisable to wear your sunscreen – harmful sun rays can penetrate through clouds glass windows.

For even more protection, make sure to cover-up with clothes, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses when outdoors.

 Avoid dull looking skin by taking your water as required (Photo: Courtesy)
Treat pregnancy melasma

As we’ve noted, your skin is more sensitive to sun exposure during pregnancy. You’re likely to notice dark patches on your face– especially on your forehead, cheeks, chin, and around your mouth. This condition is known as melasma. Colloquially, it’s also known as “the mask of pregnancy.”

Melasma most commonly begins in the second or third trimester of pregnancy. Luckily, it will fade away after childbirth as your hormones go back to normal.

Staying out of the sun and applying sunscreen are the best ways to prevent and minimise the appearance of melasma.

If you notice dark spots, there are several home remedies you can try. Home remedies for discolouration include lemon juice, milk of magnesia, papaya, turmeric powder, oatmeal, and aloe vera gel.

After childbirth, you can explore treatments such as hydroquinone, retinoids, laser treatment, chemical peels, and wave devices.

Handling acne

Many women experience acne during pregnancy – especially during the first and second trimesters. That is mostly due to an increase in androgens, which cause your skin glands to grow and produce more sebum.

Sebum is the oily, waxy substance that comes out when you squeeze a pimple. Overproduction of sebum blocks the pores, resulting in acne outbreaks.

Unfortunately, many prescription and over-the-counter acne treatments are not pregnancy-safe. Common acne treatments such as isotretinoin, hormone therapy, salicylic acid, and topical retinoids may lead to birth defects.

Pregnancy-safe acne treatments recommended by experts include azelaic acid, erythromycin, benzoyl peroxide, and glycolic acid. It’s best to talk with your doctor before using any over-the-counter or prescription acne treatments during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

You can try home remedies such as oatmeal mask, coconut oil, honey, apple cider vinegar, and baking soda. While at it, avoid over-washing or scrubbing your face – which can lead to irritation. Make sure to keep hydrated, eat healthily, and apply a light moisturiser.

Keep stretchmarks at bay

Thanks to rapid weight gain and hormonal changes during pregnancy, you’re likely to develop stretchmarks – especially on your tummy and breasts.

Whether or not you develop stretch marks has a lot to do with the elasticity of your skin. You may largely blame genetics: if your mother had stretch marks, the odds are that you will as well.

To prevent stretchmarks, rub creams or oils on to your bump, breasts and hips twice a day.

Study suggests that products containing the herb centella or hyaluronic acid may help prevent stretch marks. Massage the oil into your skin gently to maximise effectiveness.

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