Writing something on preggy beauty is bitter sweet for me. Sweet because I love beauty & pampering & I’m very grateful for the beautiful, healthy & happy baby boy that we have. Bitter because pregnancy was a really tough time for me & has (sadly) changed my body dramatically.
I really didn’t have the so called ‘glow’. Ever. I was nauseous as anything for 16 whole weeks, bloated, swollen, exhausted and felt absolutely awful in general for my entire pregnancy…. Ugg!
Moving along to more positive things & the point of this post. One of my personal life savers during pregnancy was Bio-Oil (& sniffing lemons – the one & only remedy that relieved my nausea). I loved the smell & feeling on my skin, plus I knew that I was doing everything I can to prevent stretch marks. Admittedly, I still ended up with a few stretch marks, but I suspect a lot less & a lot lighter than I could have…
So, in case you didn’t know: it’s Pregnancy Education Week (until 22 February) & though I’m no expert on pregnancy (anything but!), I know which brains to pick for the best possible advice when it comes to skin & beauty tips. [If you are after more general pregnancy education & tips, visit the Expectant Mothers Guide website or join the Facebook page.]
I’m delighted to be sharing a PREGGY SKIN Q&A with you, thanx to dermatologists Dr Ayesha Moolla & Dr Noori Moti-Joosub, gynaecologist Dr Jana Roussouw & childbirth educator Lynne Bluff. Even more good news is that I’ll be giving away a fabulous prize from Bio-Oil, so keep reading….
WHAT IS THE STORY WITH STRETCH MARKS? CAN I AVOID THEM? You are likely to end up with stretch marks – essentially a form of scar tissue – from pregnancy as it effects up to 90% of expectant women. Expect to see them on your tummy, breasts, hips & thighs. It can start developing as early as the first trimester, but might only be visible later.
The culprit? Tiny tears in the dermal layer of your skin due to rapid weight gain or expansion in body shape are mostly to blame. But, your genetics play a big role too. For instance: if either one of your parents have stretch marks, you are also likely to get it.
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, drinking water & aiming for weight gain at around 12 kilograms will help minimise stretch marks.
- Massaging your skin with a good quality oil (that is safe in pregnancy, like Bio-Oil) makes the skin more pliant & hydrated.
- Taking vitamin C & E which are said to prevent stretch marks.
WHY IS MY SKIN SO DRY & ITCHY? The feeling that you want to scratch, scratch & scratch your preggy skin is quite normal – especially on your breasts & tummy.
The culprit? Your stretching skin as baby grows & you gain weight.
- Massage Bio-Oil into your skin.
- Don’t bath in very hot water as this can dry out your skin even more.
WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT MY UNEVEN SKIN TONE? Around half of pregnant women develop Melasma (the mask of pregnancy) or hyper-pigmentation with darkening of the skin on the face, especially around the mouth, on the cheeks & forehead.
Many women also develop a dark line running vertically down their bellies (called the linear nigra). It’s also perfectly normal that your areolas (area around your nipples) darken during pregnancy. Pre-existing moles, freckles & even tissue can become darker, but it’s important to check these regularly & if you notice any major changes, talk to your doctor.
The culprit? Once again those fluctuating hormones are to blame, resulting in uneven melanin production.
- Use good moisturisers that are more than just aqueous creams. This will prevent dry, itchy skin.
- Gently massage Bio-Oil into the skin twice a day to improve skin tone (also on your face). It has been shown to improve uneven skin tone in 8 – 12 weeks.
- Continue the use of Omega 3 & 6.
- Avoid all vitamin A creams. Vitamin A can be found in many anti-ageing skin products, so be very careful.
- Avoid the sun. If you have to be in the sun, make sure that you are wearing sufficient sun-protection. Remember that melanoma can indeed occur in pregnancy, but it is not accelerated by pregnancy though.
- Avoid products with salicylic acid.
- Alpha hydroxy-acids & lactic acid products are safe.
- Most changes in the skin will improve spontaneously following delivery. Pigmentation could become less after three months, but it is also likely never to disappear completely.
- If you are totally down & out about your discoloured skin, make an appointment with a dermatologist who will be able to assist with recommendations of (pregnancy safe) chemical peels & other safe remedies.
WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT C-SECTION SCARRING?
The culprit? I suppose there isn’t really anyone to blame, because for some women, a C-Section scar is part of the miracle of bringing a child into the world…. Mmm…
- Start using Bio-Oil once the wound has healed. If you are unsure, check with your doctor at your six week check-up. Do not apply oil on broken skin.
- Taping with a flesh coloured Micropore™ tape (available at most pharmacies) supports the skin, reducing stress around the wound & thereby lessening the scar tissue that forms. Make the most of taping, by incorporating these tips:
- Taping a scar will help support & flatten it. Apply along the scar.
- Leave the tape on for up to five days – you can bath, shower & swim as normal.
- Change the tape once it starts to peel off.
- Massage the scar with Bio-Oil whenever the tape is removed & changed. Gentle massage can improve moisture & increase blood flow in the area & maintain scar elasticity. (Even ‘older’ C-Section scars can lighten through regular Bio-Oil application.)
- Also place a few drops of Bio-Oil on top of the tape daily; as it is porous, the tape will absorb the oil.
AND NOW FOR THE FUN PART:
WIN WITH BIO-OIL
One lucky aZestyLife reader can win a gorgeous Bio-Oil baby hamper worth R1 000! comprising a basket with a hooded towel, soft muslin blanket, cute bunny & fabric building blocks as well as Bio-Oil’s ‘Tips from Moms for Moms’ & ‘Guide to Pregnancy Stretch Marks’ & three bottles of Bio-Oil (60ml, 125ml, 200ml).
Leave a comment below this post mentioning your favourite part of pregnancy (trying to keep it light, see?).
Include your daytime delivery address, phone number, email & name of the winner. We will send the prize to arrive within 6 to 8 weeks of winners’ details being received.
*The competition closes at 20:00 on Saturday, 28 February & is open to all, but ideally you should be an SA resident, a mom-to-be or already have a little one!
Hope you are a bit wiser about caring for your preggy skin now. Don’t forget to enter & good luck!
Featured image credit: Bio-Oil / Karin Schermbrucker of expectant mom, Wendy.