The last of my pregnancy skincare posts, now – I’ve safely delivered Baby Number Two (a gorgeous boy) and so am no longer pregnant, and I just wanted to get these features out there before they became completely outdated and irrelevant! You can read my post on safe pregnancy skincare here, if you missed that one.
I’ve been very lucky in that my skin was quite wonderful throughout both of my pregnancies, save for the first couple of months (which are notoriously dodgy anyway, due to mad hormones and feeling ill and not eating normally and so on). The photographs on this page were taken four days before I gave birth, so I was thirty-nine weeks pregnant, and you can hopefully see how well-behaved my face was being!
Now I know that you could dismiss this entire post and give “pregnancy hormones” all of the credit for my glowing, clear complexion, but I genuinely don’t think that would be either fair or accurate. Because I think that the initial hormonal changes actually make my skin worse and then things level out in the second and third trimesters – I am convinced that it’s all of the little skincare habits I tend to adopt that make the most difference.
Here are some of the skincare habits I adopt during pregnancy that I believe make a considerable difference to my face – I’m really trying to hang on to these little changes, because I love that fresh-faced, blemish-free, even-toned pregnancy glow!
Alcohol. I realise that “not drinking too much alcohol” isn’t a skincare habit, per se, but it’s definitely a biggie for me – I haven’t had a proper drink (ie, been tipsy) in about two and a half years now and my skin is definitely brighter and healthier-looking for it. I don’t think that I have a wonderful tolerance for alcohol – I used to suffer with massively disproportionate hangovers! – and so it only takes a couple of glasses of red wine for me to look like a hag the next day. I’m not saying I’m never going to drink again (HAHA chance would be a fine thing) but I’ve definitely broken that cycle of regular evening…self-medication. My skin has far less off days, my dark circles are less pronounced and I’m sure that the redness I used to get around my nose and on my chin has greatly diminished.
SPF. I’m rather haphazard with my SPF use in the non-summer UK months – if I’m outdoors or on holiday then I slather it on like there’s no tomorrow, but otherwise I rely on the incidental sort of coverage you get from BB creams or what have you. However when pregnant, I get paranoid about the increased risk of pigmentation patches and spots and so if I was out and about I always used an SPF. (Latest find – and I love this – is the BareMinerals Prep Step, here.) I think that as a result my skin is more even in tone after pregnancy. Yes, it’s paler, and I do like a bit of a sunkissed hue, but it’s nothing that a spot of Hylamide Glow can’t fix.
Antioxidants. Continuing with my pigmentation paranoia: I like to add an antioxidant into my routine as an extra layer of protection against the environment and UV rays. I use a serum high in antioxidants and just slip it on before moisturiser or SPF. Paula’s Choice do a good one here, I also like this from Caudalie a lot and if you’ve got a load of cash to flash then look to SkinCeuticals and Zelens for state-of-the-art skin protection.
Gentle Products. My skin is usually more sensitive during pregnant and so I step away, mostly, from daily use of acid exfoliants. I think that there’s a massive temptation to overuse acids and I’ve realised from years of experimentation that they are better (for me, at least) used just once or twice a week. I know that some people like the drastic results and don’t mind the fallout (reactions, peeling, spots, etc) that can happen with very active products, but I’m all for keeping my skin on an even keel. I’ve found that treating it kindly gets great results – I like a strong mask or peel or overnight treatment, but I’ve learnt to dial it all down a bit. (I like the FAB pads for non-drastic acid exfoliation, and also Pai do an AHA mask that doesn’t make your face fall off, if you want gentle-but-effective.)
Oils. I use far more oils (both cleansing and moisturising) during pregnancy, and it’s a little ritual I’d like to keep. Though I now have far less time to do a “routine”, it’s nice just to spend a few minutes massaging the skin and getting the circulation going. There are dozens and dozens of amazing face oils, but I like the L’Oreal Rebalancing Oil for temperamental/spotty skin days, MV Organic Skincare Rose Booster for calming down temperamental and dry, tight skin and Darphin’s little bottles of oil as a proper treat after having a bath. The Tangerine one is an all-time favourite.
What’s not so good about my skin during pregnancy? It feels dry, tight and my fine lines are definitely more visible. I have to battle really hard to keep my skin (and body) hydrated, which is a theme that seems to continue post-partum and during the breastfeeding months, hence the oils added in (above) and my obsession with thirst-quenching creams and lotions. I’ve linked to a few mega-moisturiser recommendations below…