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How to take care of the skin during pregnancy and after

During pregnancy, a woman's body changes, and so does her skin. It is not only about the appearance of stretch marks, so it is important to provide the skin with comprehensive care. Here is what you need to know about skincare during pregnancy.

How skin changes during pregnancy [1]

The hormonal background during pregnancy changes significantly, because of this, the skin can become dry, too sensitive, prone to irritation. There may also be inflammation. At the same time, the body changes, and the skin does not always have time to adapt to rapid weight gain - as a result, stretch marks can appear on the chest, hips and abdomen. Some pregnant women also have age spots - not only on the face, but also on the whole body.

All this happens, of course, not with every pregnant woman and not all at once. The changes can be made less noticeable or even prevented if the right skincare is incorporated.

What are the skincare steps for pregnant women [2]

The steps remain the same as before pregnancy, but you can slightly adjust the frequency of different procedures. In general, the cleansing-moisturizing-nourishing scheme is suitable for any skin at any age.

Cleansing. In the morning and in the evening you need to take a warm shower with any hypoallergenic cleanser or foam. Water should not be hot, so as not to overdry the skin. Also, you do not need to rub the body with a washcloth or brush every day. Many believe that this helps to get rid of dead cells and prevents the development of cellulite, but in fact, hard rubbing injures the skin, and during pregnancy, on the contrary, it needs gentle care.

Deeper cleansing - with a scrub or brush - can be done once a week on average. This is enough to maintain skin tone.

Hydration. It is on dry thin skin that stretch marks are likely to appear, so during pregnancy it is very important not to forget about moisturizing. Try to use moisturizing lotions and gels at least once a day. Areas where stretch marks can appear, and these are the abdomen, hips, and chest, can be moisturized twice a day and use special anti-stretch mark creams for this.

Nutrition. Nourishing creams differ from moisturizing ones in a denser texture and rich composition - they can contain various vitamins, panthenol, and other components useful for the skin. Nourishing cream can be quite oily, so it's best to apply it in the evening a few hours before bedtime and then wear loose clothing that won't stain.

How care changes depending on the duration of pregnancy

In the first trimester, you do not need to drastically adjust your usual care. Skin condition is easy enough to track - at the first sign of dryness, you need to pay more attention to moisturizing.

From the second trimester, anti-stretch marks may appear in the body care complex. To prevent irreversible changes in the skin, they must be used before childbirth and for about three months after them.

In the third trimester, age spots may appear in the lower abdomen, less often on the chest and hips. After childbirth, they will turn pale and soon disappear. It is extremely rare for spots to remain permanently, but since this is still possible, it is recommended to use spot-lightening agents for the skin of the body twice a day. You need to choose those that are intended for pregnant women - they have a safe composition.

What means to choose for care

It is not necessary to give up the care cosmetics that you are used to. Manufacturers of large brands usually do not include ingredients in their products that can harm a woman or child. However, there are some components that should not be in the composition of cosmetics for a pregnant woman.

These include salicylic acid, which greatly dries the skin, as well as vitamin A [3] and its derivatives - retinol, and retinoids. They can cause fetal developmental disorders. Whitening creams should not contain hydroquinone [4], a component considered dangerous and some doctors suggest may be one of the causes of skin cancer.

Another undesirable component is triclosan [5], it is often found in deodorants and antibacterial agents, and can cause hormonal disorders.

Essential oils should also be avoided [6]. The fact is that any essential oil can provoke an allergic reaction - especially against the background of pregnancy and the accompanying changes in immunity. But natural cosmetic oils, such as jojoba, should not be afraid - they perfectly nourish the skin, make it more elastic, and do not cause allergies so often.

If you are not sure about the safety of all the ingredients of cosmetics and are afraid to use the usual products, even if they do not contain non-recommended substances, pay attention to special cosmetics for expectant mothers: just to name a few Chicco, Mustela, Aveeno, Sanosan. Weleda has a maternity line. All these cosmetics are carefully tested and checked, so there are no potentially dangerous substances in their composition.

In brief: skin care during pregnancy

  1. Particular attention should be paid to moisturizing the skin.

  2. Do not get carried away with scrubs or dry massage with a rough brush. It is enough to do these procedures once a week.

  3. Products for Stretch marks should be used from the second trimester and for several months after childbirth.

  4. Whitening creams can be used to lighten age spots from the third trimester. The main thing is that they should not contain hydroquinone.

  5. You don't have to substitute your daily (before pregnancy) skincare products unless they contain salicylic acid, essential oils, triclosan, or retinol.

  6. If in doubt about what to use, you should consult your doctor. If you don't trust conventional skincare brands, buy products from a pharmacy that are marked "hypoallergenic" and "suitable for pregnant women."


[1] Pregnancy and Skin changes | Stanford Medicine- Children’s Health

[2] Pregnancy- Safe Skin Care: What to use and what to avoid | Nicole Jablonski, Healthline, accessed November 29th 2022.

[3] Vitamin A during pregnancy | BabyCenter | Eva Dasher, BabyCenter. , published June 7th 2021

[4] Safety of skincare products during Pregnancy | Can Fam Physician. 2011 Jun; 57(6): 665–667.

[5] Urinary Triclosan Concentrations during Pregnancy and Birth Outcomes | Environ Res. Author manuscript; Published online 2017 Apr 26. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2017.04.015

[6] Essential Oils for Pregnancy: What’s safe and what to avoid | Dorian Smith-Garciai, Healthline, accessed August 10th 2021.


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