Pregnancy is sheer bliss, and the power to give life and nurture a little one is a good enough reason to feel on top of the world. This is also the time when everyone you know might compliment you on your “pregnancy glow”. You might feel happy about it, but stop and think again. Is that the glow, or is it the oiliness and puffiness? Well unfortunately, the chances of it being the latter are higher.
But wait, before you panic and get worried about your skin, read on to know what is happening and how you can take care of yourself to having a beautiful, glowing skin, even when pregnant.
When hormones play havoc with your moods
Many women have to battle with numerous, trivial-sounding issues, thanks to hormones going crazy during the pregnancy months. While they do reflect on the skin and sometimes hair, the most evident effect is on your moods. You might feel like a cry baby in one instant, and an elated teenager in the other! To calm down your nerves, include some meditation and breathing exercises in your routine, and consult your doctor for some more exercises as well.
Emotional ups and downs can reflect as puffy eyes and dark circles too. Try and focus on all happy thoughts, read cheerful books and watch only inspiring and pleasant movies or TV shows. The happier you are, the more it will reflect on your skin.
The annoying ‘pregnancy mask’
Melasma, often called ‘pregnancy mask’, can easily be called the most frustrating skin problem related to pregnancy. It is the appearance of dark, pigmented patches on the face, especially the nose, cheeks and forehead; and sometimes on the thighs and tummy as well. This is related to the hormonal changes and exposure to sunlight, and dermatologists suggest that women with darker complexions and dark hair are at greatest risk than fair-skinned women. While there is no definite remedy for this problem, the one that works the best is staying out of the sun. After all, prevention is better than cure, right?
If you have to go out, plan it before the sun gets stronger, or in the evenings. If you do go out, don’t forget to wear a herbal sunscreen. In case you notice some tanning or dark patches, apply some tomato puree on it. Keep it for 15-20 minutes, and then wash it off. Or, you can also make a pack of gram flour, lemon juice and milk, apply on skin, and wash it off after it dries. Aloe vera gel also works great in this case.
Acne- The biggest pregnancy woe!
The hormonal upheaval in your body shows directly on your skin, with the most prominent reflector being acne. Especially around your mouth and nose, you might see breakouts, which if not taken care of, will continue throughout the nine months. Many women often go for over the counter ointments and cosmetics, with a view to instantly get rid of skin breakouts. But, you must remember that many chemicals are absorbed by the skin, and can affect the unborn child. Therefore, unless your dermatologist or gynaecologist has recommended some medication, do not go for any such ointments. Here is what you can do:
- Wash you face twice a day with herbal or antibacterial soap/facewash.
- To avoid any risks with chemicals, go organic! Use all herbal products or natural ingredients to combat your skin woes. Cleanse your face with cotton dabbed in raw milk, tone it with cucumber juice or rose water, and finally moisturise with a herbal lotion (not cream, as it will leave the skin oily). You can even use baby lotion as a moisturiser, as it is very mild.
- Avoid wearing makeup as far as possible. No matter how good the brand is, makeup tends to block the pores on your skin if not cleansed well after use.
Tummy itches and stretch marks
Because the skin is stretched a lot, it can get dry and very itchy at times. Make sure you don’t keep scratching your tummy when it itches, as it can irritate the skin and leave dark marks. Also, once you have the baby, as you begin to lose all the excess weight, you might notice ugly stretch marks showing up! But you can avoid this easily. Here is how:
- Start gentle massages with vitamin E oil or olive oil for the whole body, especially your tummy, arms and legs, as soon as the bump starts showing up.
- The oil will help avoid stretch marks or keep them to the minimum.
- It will also help soothe down the dry and itchy skin.
- Another home remedy that you can try is dabbing the skin with some warm milk. This will help soothe the stretched skin to a great extent.
However, in case you notice a rash breaking out or blisters appearing after the itch, consult your doctor immediately.
What else can you do?
If you are one of the lucky women who do not suffer from the skin problems mentioned above, you still need to take care of your skin to maintain its health and increase the glow. Here is what you should do:
- Drink plenty of water, and consume fresh fruits with every meal. Also, include lots of salads in your meals. The fibre in them will keep your system clean while the vitamins and minerals will work as great antioxidants, giving you a healthy glow.
- Your feet might tire easily, and there might be some swelling. To relieve this, soak your feet in lukewarm water with peppermint oil or eucalyptus oil added to it. You can later massage your feet with some baby oil.
- Sleep well to let your skin relax and repair itself. A peaceful 8-hour sleep also helps your unborn baby.
- Breathing exercises are a fantastic way to relax and stimulate blood circulation in your body. A healthy blood flow will gradually flush the skin and make it look rosy pink.
- Talk to your gynaecologist about the chemicals to be avoided during pregnancy. While buying any creams, lotions, cleansers, etc., check for these chemicals on the cover.
Unlike what most women feel, pregnancy is definitely not the time to look and feel old! You can still keep looking young, fresh and glowing.