What You Need to Know About Your Skin During Pregnancy

This guest post by Cassie discusses great tips for your pregnant skin and dispels all those myths. Enjoy!

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“Pregnancy is a beautiful, transformative experience. It can also be transformative for your skin–in a not-so-beautiful way. Sometimes, hormones wreak havoc on complexion, leaving you perplexed and overwhelmed.

Here are some of the things you need to know about the ways your skin can change during pregnancy, along with advice on how to combat any skin woes.

The “Mask of Pregnancy” — More Common Than You Think   

You’ve probably heard of the “mask of pregnancy.” Also referred to as melasma and chloasma, the condition is rather ubiquitous (50% of pregnant women!) and hormonal in nature. The “mask” or melasma produces dark spots all over the face, particularly around the forehead, cheeks, and mouth, creating the appearance of a shadow or mask (hence the name). What you’re really seeing is a result of increased pigment in the skin due to pregnancy hormones.

So how do you treat it? As with most skin conditions, the best solution is actually in prevention. Be sure to wear SPF of 15 or higher (preferably closer to SPF 30), wear protective clothing, and limit sun exposure throughout your pregnancy. During these 9 months, your skin is more sensitive than usual, and it requires extra care.

If you’ve already developed the mask, consult your dermatologist and/or doctor. In most cases, the changes in pigment fade after you give birth. However, lingering effects might be due to a treatable, hormonal imbalance.

Hormonal Acne 

Even if you usually have clear skin, pregnancy hormones can still throw your complexion’s equilibrium out of whack. And if you’re already prone to blemishes, the increased hormones can send your oil-secretion glands into overdrive, causing even more breakouts. Many people talk about “the pregnancy glow.” However, that “glow” looks different for different people. If you’re experiencing any of these hormonal changes, don’t worry! This is a completely normal reaction.

What to do: make sure you’re diligent with a twice-daily, face-cleansing routine. It’s a good idea to use a non-comedogenic cleanser, toner, and then light moisturizer. Cetaphil and other gentle, over-the-counter cleansers are a good option.

Stretch Marks 

Once again, preventative measures are the key to warding off stretch marks. Coconut oil, cocoa butter, and other lotions are some of the best ways to prevent these red and pink marks. However, know that a large majority of women experience stretch marks post pregnancy. It’s totally natural and happens when the skin stretches due to swelling bellies and breasts. Exercise during pregnancy can also help prevent stretch marks.

The good news: even if none of these over-the-counter remedies work, stretch marks almost always fade after delivery. They’re sort of like Mummy battle scars. So if you can, wear them with pride. You’re strong and beautiful just the way you are.

What do you think, Mums-to-be?

Have you experienced any of the aforementioned skin issues? What advice do you have for pregnant mums? Leave your comments in the space below. Congratulations, and happy nesting!”

Cassie Brewer is a professional make-up artist and blogs brilliantly all about it here cassiembrewer.weebly.com

Your Postnatal Body – The Truth

No one really wants to hear the truth. Your new hair cut you spent a ridiculous amount of money on doesn’t suit you. Your child is the devil and I don’t want her to play with my daughter any more. I’m not that keen on your boring husband so we would rather not come for dinner again. The meal you spent hours slaving over tastes like cardboard and I’m craving beans on toast. You get the gist, no one ever wants to hear that. So we all keep hush.

And then there’s the things no one tells you about when your’re pregnant, like a sort of extra added ‘Surprise’ once you’ve popped. And you would never dare tell other pregnant women any of these things, nope, everyone must discover them for themselves. As we all know ‘The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club’For example a wonderful friend once described having a bath when her baby was a few weeks old. Upon leaving the bath she said ‘It felt like I was taking half the bath water away with me’. I laughed till I cried because that’s exactly what it feels like, all roomy and well, wider down there even though this doesn’t last forever. *does 50 pelvic floors as she types*

Another area that us Mama’s don’t really talk about is our tummies and we certainly don’t show them to anyone. I for one am always trying to disguise mine, flatten with a pair of Spanx, wear a lot of black, constantly breathing in when in public. In fact ANYTHING to make mine look flatter. Now, if I’m completely honest with you all I never had a flat or toned tummy before having children. It was always a bit wobbly but now it has a mind of it’s own. It folds in 3 places when I sit down. My belly button is wide enough to fit a pound coin in it (yes I’ve tried) and the little black star tattoo I had done aged 16 to piss off my parents now resembles a meteorite. That will teach me.

After seeing Kate Middleton’s postpartum tummy as she emerged with Prince George last week, I whooped and cheered and thanked her for embracing her tummy in that gorgeous polka dot dress. Because that’s what you look like the day after you’ve had a baby! It then got me thinking, why are we so ashamed of what our bodies look like after doing something so incredible? Why do I cringe at the thought of wearing a bikini at the local Lido when it was 30 degrees last week? What has celebrity culture done to make us Mamas feel any less of ourselves after such a major life changing event?  (OK magazine I’m talking to you). We should all be immensely proud of what we have achieved. Each and every one of us. American artist Jade Beall has done just that and photographed women’s post baby bodies in a series of beautiful images, capturing what a powerful thing the female body is. Her photos went viral last week and I finally felt at last people can really see what women look like after having children. Her photos inspired me to write this post and photograph my tummy.

2 children aged 6 and 2

Mama to 2 aged 6 and 2.5

Then I wondered, would anyone else want to reveal theirs? A few Instagram, Twitter, Facebook requests later and my inbox was filling up with amazing tummy shots! I couldn’t believe it. Your stories about your scars and stretch marks moved me to tears. All of you said no matter what state your tummy was in, you ALL felt hugely proud of what it had achieved And so you bloody well should. Here are the results.

‘You’re body is not ruined; You’re a goddamn tiger who earned her stripes’

A huge thank you to each and every one of you that has contributed to this post, you are all tigers in my eyes.

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From Left to right

Row 1: 1 child age 1.5, 1 child age 6 months,

Row 2: 1 child age 1.5 and 12 weeks pregnant, 2 children age 2.5 and 9 months

Row 3: 2 children age 2 and 6 months, 2 children age 2 and 4 months

Row 4: 2 children age 5 and 3, 2 children age 2.5 and 1

Row 5: 1 child age 1.5, 1 child age 1.5

Row 6: 2 children age 3 and 10 weeks, 2 children age 5 and 3

Row 7: 1 child age 1, 2 children age 2 and 6 weeks

Row 8: 3 children age 8, 3 and 7 months, 2 children age 2 and 6 months

Row 9: 2 children age 4 and 3 months, 2 children age 4 and 3

Row 10: 1 child age 5 months, 2 children age 4 and 3,

Row 11: 3 children 6.5, 4.5 and 19 months, 3 children age 8, 6 and 4

Row 12: 1 child age 6 months, 2 children age 4 and 2.