In honor of today, June 21, being the first official day of summer, here’s an overview of pregnancy skin issues and how to address them during summertime.
Pregnancy hormones are blamed for the sudden eruption of acne blemishes that appear in the first trimester. During the summer months, though, warmer weather causes you to sweat more, have more difficulty staying hydrated, and the combination of perspiration and potential over-production of oils in the skin to compensate for dryness increases your chances of clogged pores.
How to adjust your skin care to cope with pregnancy acne in summer:
Facial cleansing: If you’ve been cleansing once per day, you may need to up it to twice per day, especially if you wake and find that you’ve been perspiring overnight. Similarly, if you’ve been using a cream-based cleanser for pregnancy acne during the winter months into spring, now may be the time to find a pregnancy acne wash that’s going to have more sudsing action. With more oil and perspiration on your face in the summer, you need a cleanser that’s up the increased effort.
Options: Let’s Be Clear Facial Cleanser, Acne Cleansing Facial Wash, Organic Fruit Face Wash. After using your pregnancy face wash morning and evening, pat skin dry and apply an appropriate toner to help balance your skin's pH (for pregnancy acne, our choice is Calm pH Toner). Then, apply your moisturizer followed by sun block.
Moisturizing: Cold weather and indoor heat can dry skin, requiring a heavier moisturizer. During warmer weather, it may be time to switch to a lighter moisturizer. If you find pregnancy acne getting worse in the summer, try a lighter moisturizer.
Options: Truth Be Told Skin Brightening Serum, Organic Bearberry Skin Brightening Moisturizer, Organic Dew-Luxe Moisturizer, Healthy Glow Facial Hydrator.
Hydration: Pregnant women are told to drink at least 64 oz of water daily. In the warm summer, when you’re perspiring more, do your best to get this up to 80 oz. Not only will this help support your body’s increased blood production, but you’ll also help your skin by flushing out toxins that will be trying to get out one way or another. If you don’t flush them out, they push their way out via the skin.
The Mask of Pregnancy
Dark spots or patches that appear on the forehead, cheeks and nose are common for women any time of year (read "The Mask of Pregnancy" to learn more). But, since that hyperpigmentation, known as melasma, is caused by exposure to UVA/UVB rays, your chances of developing the mask of pregnancy increase during summer when you’re more likely to spend time outside and when sun’s rays are stronger.
How to prevent and minimize the mask of pregnancy:
Preventing the mask of pregnancy: For better protection against the mask of pregnancy during the summer months, wear hats! Also, be sure to wear a pregnancy sunscreen daily and to re-apply it at least twice per day. Prevention is the easiest, most effective way to deal with hyperpigmentation, because fading the dark spots is harder to do safely during pregnancy.
Options: Protect & Reflect SPF 30 Sunscreen, Organic Anti-Aging Mineral Sunblock SPF 30, Anti-Chloasma Facial Sunscreen SPF 25
Minimizing the mask of pregnancy: For help fading dark spots of the mask of pregnancy that are already appearing, natural skin brighteners that contain citrus oils are the safest bet (do NOT use any brighteners that contain hydroquinone).
Options: Truth Be Told Skin Brightener, Organic Bearberry Skin Brightening Moisturizer and Lucid Brightening Face Serum for Melasma are all natural pregnancy facial products that may be used to help fade hyperpigmentation.
By the second trimester, pregnant women usually start to experience some irritating itchiness. And by irritating, I mean, it drives you crazy how much your belly and your skin itch! In some cases, the itch precedes PUPP, pruritic urticarial papules and plagues, a pregnancy skin condition that may have to be treated by your doctor with hydrocortisone or other medication. In most cases, however, the itch is a result of overall skin dryness, the intense stretching that’s occurring and, once again, hormones.
In the summertime, this itch can get worse because of your increased perspiration. Belly panels or elastic waistbands on your belly, or under it, collect perspiration and the combination of the elastic plus sweat make the itchiness insane.
To cope with itchy pregnancy skin in summer:
Hydration: As mentioned above, aim for 80 oz of water daily. Keeping your body hydrated from the inside will help your skin immensely.
Moisturize: Lotion, cream, butter or oil…whatever your preferred method of body moisturizer is, use it twice daily. Or, use two types of product—oil in morning, butter at night, for example—to keep your skin lubricated. Some pregnancy lotions actually contain anti-itch ingredients such as chamomile or calendula extract in them to directly address the itchiness.
Options: Extreme Mama Body Crème, Earth Mama Body Butter, All Day Moisture Body Lotion, and Oh Baby! Belly Butter.
Clothing: Some fabrics really exacerbate itchy skin. Synthetics such as rayon, elastane, Spandex, acetate, acrylic can all worsen the itch factor. Try to wear cotton, cotton jersey, bamboo or linen clothing. These natural fabrics are more breathable, softer and gentler to your sensitive skin.
Cleansing: Do you know that using soaps and some body washes can strip your skin of its natural oil? The reason this matters is because skin’s natural oils help lubricate, support stretching, and prevent itch. Many body washes contain alcohols, sudsing agents, artificial fragrances and other chemical compounds that may not only be unsafe for your body and baby, but they’re so harsh and irritating to sensitive, pregnant skin—and on top of that, they actually dry out your skin! If you’re suffering more itchy skin during your summer pregnancy, try switching your body wash to a natural pregnancy body wash that’s formulated for both baby safety and more comfortable pregnant skin.
Options: Mandarin Crème Organic Body Wash, Orange U Spoiled Organic Body Wash, Pampered Pregnancy Body Wash, Happy Mama Hand to Toe Wash.
Other treatment tips: lukewarm baths (hot water dries your skin!) with either oatmeal, baking soda, or vinegar might help relieve intense itching, too.
It’s really common in late pregnancy for legs, ankles, and feet (and hands) to swell. Add summer heat to this natural tendency and you have a recipe for pregnant Franken-feet and cankles.
How to cope with swelling, or pregnancy edema in summer:
Topically, you can help promote circulation in your feet and legs with foot and leg rubs with mint-based lotions or gels that help stimulate circulation and offer a cooling sensation to boot.
- Walking briskly for 10 minutes up to 3 times a day (with your doctor’s ok)
- Spend some time elevating your feet
- Avoid crossing your legs
- Lie on your side for a while each day
- Swim (with your doctor’s ok)
Thanks for reading and sharing,