This can be a chapter onto itself, but here are a number of important tips for women who are planning a pregnancy and who also want to maintain their pre-pregnancy lustrous skin tone. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that pregnancy itself will give you beautiful skin—the “pregnancy skin glow” that we all have been accustomed to believe does not happen to everyone and does not prevent the many problematic changes that occur to the skin during pregnancy.
- Timing is everything. Strictly from a skin perspective, plan for conception during the late summer/fall. This will reduce the changes of developing brown patches of discoloration that often accompanies pregnancy (melasma) which may or may not be reversible after delivery. This will also reduce the severity of heat/sweat induced skin disorders. Of course, this only applies if you are living in an area of the world where there is seasonal variation in sun exposure.
- Wear broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Yes, even if it is wintertime, apply the sunscreen to prevent the brown discoloration from forming. Pregnancy hormones make your skin particularly susceptible to sun induced melasma.
- Moisturize as much as possible. Pregnancy is often accompanied by itchy, dry skin, especially in the expanding area of the abdomen. While there is no solid evidence on the ability of “stretch mark oils” to prevent stretch marks, applying oil to the abdomen on a routine basis will keep the skin in a hydrated, supple, and healthy state.
- Avoid oils to the face. During pregnancy, changing level of hormones in the body sometimes causes outbreaks of acne in women. Unfortunately, many of the typical anti-acne medications that are often used cannot be used during pregnancy. Avoiding oils to the face will prevent clogging of the pores that can exacerbate acne. Instead, use a noncomedogenic moisturizer.
- Get plenty of rest and stay hydrated. Although the expanding nature of the abdomen may prevent many women from wanting to drink additional fluids, it is even more important to maintain a healthy fluid status during pregnancy, from both a skin and overall health perspective.