Pregnancy Skincare Essentials and Setting the Toxic Record Straight.
So, you're pregnant! Congrats!!! Or maybe you're just really organised and are reading up on holistic health during pregnancy. In that case, good work you for being so organised! I can already picture baby purees lined up on the kitchen bench, labelled, ready to be frozen for the month ahead. Goals!
Falling pregnant is one of the most amazing and special times in your life, and with it come many changes, physically, mentally and emotionally. You start thinking about only eating a healthy balanced diet, which no longer includes wine and soft cheese, Sigh! To keeping your fitness regime in tip-top shape. You google, maybe too much, the things you should be doing and things you should avoid during pregnancy and get bombarded with information.
But one thing that is often overlooked is skincare. It makes sense that what you put in your mouth affects the health of your little cherub, so why is what you put on your skin any different? Well, it's not, and I'm here to set a few things straight.
Yes, changes need to be made, but this does not mean your beauty regime needs to suffer. Luxurious and therapeutic skin care products, which are pregnancy friendly, do exist! You just need to know what you are looking for.
I'm going to clarify what ingredients you should avoid in skincare products while pregnant, and suggest some natural, pregnancy safe products which support a healthy, happy, holistic pregnancy.
But first, why do we need to make these changes?
Well, the placenta is not the barrier that we once thought – over 287 chemicals have been found in the umbilical cords of babies, associated with chemicals being used by mum either in her personal care or household cleaning products. Women can use an average of 168 chemicals including reproductive and developmental toxins – they are found in the average of 12 personal care products women use daily. Toxins found in beauty products have been linked to pre-term birth, low birth weight, developmental delays and altered gene expression. This is just what we know of – many of the toxins have not been necessarily been tested on pregnant women for good reason. With an increased rate of autism, allergies and asthma in newborns and children it makes sense to start looking more closely at what we are putting on and in our bodies.
Secondly, hormones ramp up during pregnancy, which can lead to skin pigmentation in about 3 in 4 women and can also exacerbate acne. This happened to me! Oh, the joys of having the complexion of my former teenage years!
Thirdly, the skin is being stretched so collagen fibres may break or tear to allow for larger cells which can often mean dreaded stretch marks or cellulite. Don't despair, these can be prevented and minimised with marine collagen, and should fade over time.
The good news is we are spoilt for choice with so many natural beauty products on the market, but not all of them are pregnancy safe. With some background knowledge and a little extra care in product selection, you can put your mind at ease and sport your radiant pregnancy glow, whilst doing the best thing by your bubba-to-be. The best part is that these natural products often work better than their non-natural counterparts!
What we should avoid during pregnancy:
Parabens are used in beauty products as a preservative; they extend the shelf life of products. When it comes to pregnancy, studies have reported parabens are capable of crossing the placenta, infiltrating breast milk, and disrupting the growth of fetuses. Look for paraben free skincare.
Most synthetic fragrances on the market use chemical fixatives such as phthalates to make scents adhere, lift and linger in the air. Phthalates, unfortunately, have been found in studies to disrupt hormones, contribute to infertility and inhibit fetal development, which is why pregnant and nursing women are advised to avoid synthetic fragrances. I personally don't use synthetic fragrances... ever!
RETINOIDS / RETINOL
Retinoids can be sold over-the-counter in a weaker form called retinol, retinyl linoleate or retinyl palmitate. Physicians also prescribe topical retinoids such as tretinoin, tazarotene and adapelene, which are more potent. These substances work by penetrating your skin, stimulating your cells to divide more quickly and encouraging the growth of collagen, and elastic fiber in your skin.This is because high dosages of vitamin A can affect an unborn child, potentially leading to birth defects, according to BabyCente. If you currently use these medications, talk to your physician about your skin conditions and health during pregnancy.
SALICYLIC ACID & BHAs
Look for skincare with less than 2% salicylic acid and avoid synthetic peels which may contain BHAs which leave the skin sensitive to UV exposure, in particular during pregnancy. Salicylic used in high doses have been shown to cause birth defects and pregnancy complications.
Mostly found in lipsticks and eye shadows are often are a source of lead. Over 60% of lipsticks contain lead which has been linked to miscarriage and reduced fertility. Lead has also been found in cosmetics such as foundation and toothpaste.
Found in nail polishes along with phthalates and formaldehyde. Proven carcinogens which cause reproductive and fetal development toxicity in animal studies. These are toxins that you want to avoid at all times, especially during pregnancy.
So what about essential oils? If you haven't been living under a rock, you know that essential oils are in. There are essential oil fanatics everywhere that seem to have an oil blend to fix everything. Don't get me wrong, I'm one of them! But you need to be careful about what oils you use in your skincare routine. Some essential oils are highly concentrated and need to be used with care. Avoid oils such as tea tree, rosemary, jasmine, clary sage. Essential oils such as sweet orange, ginger, grapefruit and spearmint are generally safe when used diluted externally. The thing with essential oils is there is a lack of research on whether they are safe to use during pregnancy or not, so they are best avoided during the first trimester. Ayni Organics has developed a nourishing, yet lightweight face oil specifically formulated for the first trimester of pregnancy. It contains no essential oils and only organic, crystal-infused ingredients. Oh, and did we mention it's vegan! You can find this uber luxurious, highly recommended by Mumma-to-be's, HERE. Guilt-free beauty! Yes, please!
STRETCH MARK PREVENTION + TREATMENT
And then there are the dreaded stretch marks... It is often said that stretch marks are genetic or unavoidable, but we like to think there are a few things you can do! Secret tip: Hydration is your best friend! When hydrated, the skin is more supple and stronger and able to cope with the stretching of growing your bubba over the course of 9 months. So, what can you use to nourish your skin safely during pregnancy? Well, there a couple of things you can do. Firstly, use Ayni Organics Stretch Mark Oil after showering each day to lock in that extra hydration. It contains organic Safflower Oil which is high in linoleic acid, meaning it is amazing for stretch marks and has shown incredible results in scientific studies. Infused with crystal energy for that extra healing and luxury. You can find it HERE.
And then there is Ancient + WILD Organics Youth Elixir Marine Beauty Collagen. This product is packed with Hydrolysed Marine Collagen Peptides and Vitamin C to nourish the skin and body, making it the ultimate skin, hair and gut supplement that replenishes and boosts natural collagen production. It is safe during all stages of life, including pregnancy and breastfeeding and promotes healthy pregnancy, prevents stretch marks, and stimulates healthy breast milk supply. Check out the amazing list of other benefits HERE. Used together, you have the ultimate stretch mark fighting combination.
In closing, keep your pregnancy skin care routine as simple as possible. Products that contain a huge list of ingredients aren't necessarily any better than ones that are simple. If you can't pronounce the ingredient name on the label, then you probably shouldn't be using it. Green beauty is best. Always consult your doctor about any skincare products you are using.
Look after yourself, Mumma. Growing a little human is the most precious gift anyone can ever receive. Wishing you all the best in your motherhood journey!
Oceans of love,
Michaella | Ayni Organics
Diploma in Organic Skincare