Skin care and pregnancy
During pregnancy, your body undergoes major changes. You breathe faster, heart pumps harder and more blood is produced. Also, your body is undergoing hormonal changes.
While the lucky few experience a carefree 9 months of perfect skin glow, for some women it can mean months of nausea and fatigue. Also more flare up of dermatological conditions like acne, dry & sensitive skin, stretch marks to dark spots. Women with pre-existing skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis or rosacea may also experience a change in their symptoms, better or worse.
- Pregnancy and skin problems
- How do you maintain beautiful skin?
- What ingredients are better to avoid?
- Which ingredients are appropriate?
Dr. Francis Wu on pregnancy and skin
Below, Dr. Francis Wu briefly about skin problems, pregnancy and skin care
Pregnancy can improve or worsen various skin diseases. Think eczema or psoriasis.
But all kinds of skin defects also occur during pregnancy, such as: stretch marks (pregnancy stretch marks), fibroids (skin tag, gum thickening (gingival hypertrophy), granuloma pyogenicum, hyperpigmentation in the face (pregnancy mask) on the body, increased hair growth, but also hair loss ( telogen effluvium), spider nevi, telangiectasias and varicose veins.
And there are itchy skin abnormalities that arise specifically and only during pregnancy, also called pregnancy dermatosis.
- Atopic Eruption or Pregnancy, it starts early in pregnancy. In fact, it is the very first manifestation of atopic eczema, provoked by the first pregnancy. Similar to eczema, it is accompanied by itching, dry skin spread all over the body, including the face, palms and soles of the feet.
- Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (abbreviated “PUPPP”) It is an intensely itchy skin condition that only occurs during pregnancy. In general, the skin disease mainly occurs in women who are expecting their first child. PUPPP usually starts in the third trimester (35 weeks on average). It is characterized by multiple erythematous urticarial papules and plaques and sometimes vesicles (polymorphic picture). This condition affects about one in 160 pregnant women. The cause is still unknown. The skin disease can be caused by the rapid weight gain of the mother and unborn child. It is thought that rapid stretching of the abdominal wall during pregnancy may cause a local inflammatory response. It is striking that pregnant women who suffered from PUPPP more often gave birth to twins or multiple births during this pregnancy.
- Pemphigoid gestationis is a rare (1 in 50,000 pregnancies) autoimmune blistering disease. The cause is unknown. There is strong evidence that autoimmunity plays an important role. For unknown reasons, the mother produces antibodies against certain proteins in the placenta, which also resemble epidermal proteins. As a result, the immune response is directed against these proteins in the epidermis, causing the skin to split over large areas of the body. It has nothing to do with herpes and is absolutely not contagious.
- Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (also called late-onset pruritus gravidarum) is itching caused by the accumulation of bile acids. It arises in the third trimester and is defined as itching without skin abnormalities (but with scratching effects), with or without jaundice and liver enzyme blood abnormalities.
Tips when you are pregnant
Below are tips from Dr. Francis Wu
Tip: stretch marks
Also called stretch marks or stretch marks. It occurs to a greater or lesser extent in 90% of pregnant women. They are elongated lesions that arise from excessive stretching of the subcutaneous connective tissue. The collagen fibers in the dermis and elastic fiber have started to recede.
What are the treatment options after pregnancy?
Over the years it spontaneously decreases, but it does not disappear completely.
If the redness is in the foreground, a 585nm pulse-dye vascular laser is suitable. Or long pulsed 1064nm ND:YAG laser.
Vitamin A, such as tretinoin (by doctor’s prescription) can reduce stretch marks in the early stages. However, this starts after pregnancy and breastfeeding. Build it up carefully because skin irritation, flaking and burning can occur.
Chemical peels with 15-20% trichloroacetic acid are sometimes used. This is an act under medical supervision.
If you can’t wait then dermabrasion is an alternative. This is a method of removing the top layer of skin by grinding or sanding it. Blemishes and stretch marks become less visible.
Tip: Pregnancy mask
Melasma, also known as pregnancy mask, is a pigment disorder characterized by symmetrical, pigmented maculae. Macula is Latin for spot.
Under the influence of pregnancy hormones, the pigment cells are activated to produce pigment. When these pigment cells start to produce too much and too local pigment, hyperpigmentation occurs. Melasma is easy to recognize by specific preferred locations. Melasma mainly occurs on the forehead, cheeks, temples, around the eyes and on the upper lip. In addition, the spots often occur symmetrically on the face.
What can you do?
Step 1: Sun protection.
Start with a mineral sun protection that offers protection against both UVA and UVB, in addition, this protection must have a high protection factor of 30 or 50, containing antioxidants. Apply this protection daily and repeat it several times a day, this is most important in case of (sensitivity to) melasma. This prevents the pigment spot from darkening due to sunlight or visible light.
Step 2: Night cream with Niacinamide
In addition to the sunscreen for the day, it is advisable to use a night cream with niacinamide. Niacinamide down-regulates melanogenesis. This means that less melanin is formed because the melanosomes transfer is inhibited. This prevents an overabundance of melanin from being produced.
Step 3: Any combination of ingredients
In combination with vitamins C and E, niacinamide is perfect for use on skin pigmentations. This composition has been proven effective with too much pigment in the skin, provided that it is used in the right concentration. For example, niacinamide is effective at a percentage of 5%, vitamin E at at least 1% and vitamin C at at least 4%.
Melasma pigmentation can sometimes be deep in the skin and will not disappear with the cream alone. In addition, every skin / melasma is different and every skin reacts differently, so be well informed with a skin therapist / dermatologist.
Tip: UV protection - what protection?
There are two different ultraviolet radiation (UV) that reach the Earth’s surface. Those are UVA and UVB rays.
UVA rays are present with relatively equal intensity during all daylight hours throughout the year, and can penetrate clouds and glass. These UVA rays make up the largest part of the ultraviolet radiation, so more than UVB.
UVA rays are not felt on the skin. These rays cause free radical formation in the dermis, which destroys your collagen and elastic fibers.
3 x UV(A) – Asymptomatic (doesn’t feel it), Always present, Aging of the skin
UVB penetrates into the superficial epidermis and is responsible for our vitamin D production. So for a slow and longer lasting tan. Too much UVB causes redness, sunburn and eventually also skin aging and skin cancer. Unlike UVA, UVB does not penetrate glass. UVB radiation can be up to 1000x stronger than UVA rays.
For melasma: Apply mineral sunscreen SPF30 every two hours.
Tip: Pregnancy itch
Itching is worse than pain. Itching during pregnancy occurs due to the faster growth of the breast, abdomen, buttocks than the skin can stretch. More on itching
What else can you do yourself?
- Try to resist the temptation to scratch. vIt’s easier said than done. The vicious itch cycle this creates makes it worse.
- Keep your skin from drying out and stay hydrated. Dryness also causes itchiness.
- Wear airy cotton and loose clothing. Tight-fitting clothing also causes itching.
- Menthol cream relieves itchiness. Other soothing ingredients include aloe vera, panthenol, avena sativa, marshmallow root.
If it is intolerable, consult your doctor or consult a dermatologist or gyneacologist.
A weak hormone ointment and certain antihistamine (anti-hay fever) medications may provide relief.
Tip: morning sickness more likely to be a girl
An interesting retrospective study examined the relationship between morning sickness and fetal gender. 2543 Pregnant women were included in this study. Women carrying a female fetus, as opposed to a male fetus, reported a significantly higher frequency of morning sickness and vomiting during the first trimester of pregnancy.
What are the tips against morning sickness?
- Take adequate rest (fatigue can worsen nausea)
- Avoid strong-smelling foods that make you nauseous.
- Eat something light such as toast or a cracker before getting out of bed.
- Small and frequent meals of plain light foods high in carbohydrates and low in fat (such as bread, rice, crackers and pasta)
The best products during pregnancy
Below you will find some products that can help you take care of your skin.
- All products have the ideal pH 5 acidity – for good skin resistance and skin barrier.
- Vegan, Zero Plastic inside
- Iconic Elements skincare has been named the Best Holistic skincare line 2022 by EU Business News.
What our customers think of our products
Frequently asked questions about pregnancy and skin
Hydroquinone is an ingredient that can reduce pigment spots. The use of hydroquinone during pregnancy does not appear to be associated with an increased risk of major malformations. However, due to the significant skin absorption of 30-45%, it is better to minimize exposure.
There are two groups of sunscreen filters: mineral and synthetic filters.
Mineral filters such as Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide largely scatter sunlight and bounce it off your body.
- Advantage. Physical filters are safe and are best suited for children, people with sensitive skin and pregnant women. It works immediately after application to the skin.
- Disadvantage. They can leave a white, dull glow on the part of the skin to which it is applied.
Synthetic filters absorb UV-A and UV-B radiation and then convert it into heat and infrared radiation.
- Advantage, no white haze after application.
- Disadvantage. They can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. There are also indications that some chemical filters penetrate the skin and end up in your bloodstream.
Stretch marks occur because the skin expands faster, causing small tears in the subcutaneous connective tissue. Both collagen and elastic fibers in the dermis begin to recede. Replenishing your collagen in the skin is a logical thought.
Smearing with collagen enriched cream is trending right now. The problem is that the molecular size of the collagen used (expressed in Dalton, molecular mass expressed in g/mol) is too large to penetrate the skin. Whether it works remains to be seen. Studies has shown that it does not. However, the added collagen can contribute to hydration of the skin.