Your Changing Skin in Pregnancy

Pregnancy can cause changes in our skin – some of which are welcome, and others not so much. Many women report having increased skin sensitivity in pregnancy, or may experience breakouts, red patches, dry patches or the condition called chloasma whereby a mask-like pigmentation appears on the face.  Some women also experience the onset of rosacea during pregnancy, which may or may not disappear after birth.  These changes are often due to the hormonal changes that are taking place in your body. Skin breakouts may also be the result of feeling tired and somewhat rundown, especially if your sleep has been broken or inconsistent.

You may find that your usual creams and lotions may react differently on your skin now that you are expecting, or that you have become more sensitive to their fragrances and perhaps find them overpowering and even nauseating – even though you may have used them for years without any issue. This may require a review of your skin care routine to include products that contain ingredients to which your skin (and your pregnancy) will respond more positively.

It is very important to be aware of which products and ingredients you are putting on your skin, and never more so than when you are pregnant. This is because many chemical constituents and various molecules of skincare products can pass through the skin’s barrier, reach the bloodstream, and can also cross the placental barrier to be apparent in the baby’s bloodstream and amniotic fluid.

I recommend the following:

Choose products that contain plant oils (for example olive oil, apricot oil, rosehip oil, sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil) instead of ones based on mineral oil (liquidum parafinuum) – Plant oils work with your body, reaching the lower layers of your skin, providing proper nourishment and moisturisation.  However, mineral oil merely sits on top of your skin, drawing moisture upwards from the lower layers of your skin, thereby depleting the natural hydration reserves of your skin.  It also stops your skin from breathing properly, limiting its efficiency at removing waste products from your body. Its effect on the skin, can be likened to covering your skin with cling film.

Avoid products that use artificial fragrances and preservatives – these contain phthalates, some of which are known to alter reproductive development, and/or are considered hormone disruptors.

Choose options that do not contain harsh ingredients like sodium lauryl/laureth sulphate.

Do something relaxing for yourself like getting a reflexology treatment, an acupuncture treatment, or an aromatherapy facial with a blend of essential oils made especially for your skin’s individual needs. These will help your whole body function at its optimum, and help to keep hormone levels balanced.

Essential oils that are beneficial for skin treatments are many, but my favourite ones are: Frankincense, roman chamomile, lavender, rose, mandarin and geranium. They can stimulate cell renewal, improve blood flow to the area, can be anti-inflammatory, improve the appearance of wrinkles and scars, and smell absolutely gorgeous. They are also worlds apart in terms of scent quality from the artificially constructed artificial fragrances found in perfumes and mainstream cosemetics.

Remember that essential oils must ALWAYS be diluted in a carrier oil (like any of the ones mentioned above) before being applied to the skin. Here is a beautifully balancing facial oil for evening use, that will help to calm and restore, and nourish both your skin and your mind:

30mls Apricot Oil
2 drops Frankincense essential oil
1 drop Lavender essential oil
1 drop Geranium essential oil
2 drops Mandarin essential oil

Using clean fingers, apply about 5mls of your blend all over your face and neck using slow sweeping strokes, and massage in for about 4 minutes, until all the oil has been absorbed.

(You can store the remainder of your blend in a dark coloured glass bottle or jar for use at another time. Keep it away from direct heat and light.)

I hope you like this facial oil blend for pregnancy skin changes – I’d love to hear how you get on with it.

If you have any questions regarding the use of aromatherapy and essential oils, please feel free to contact me or visit my website HERE or come follow my social media pages Facebook, Twitter & Instagram

Lisa Heeney

Lisa Heeney is a professional reflexologist and aromatherapist, who has cared for hundreds of women with her specialised pregnancy treatments. Lisa has created a range of wonderful aromatherapy-based body products and is also the author of “AromaBump - The Belly Bible for Aromatherapy in Pregnancy”