We’ve all heard about that pregnancy glow, right? The way mums-to-be just have that certain radiance about them. While part of this new look might be caused by happiness and excitement the cause of this glow is mostly due to fluctuations in hormones and blood flow. Unfortunately for many women, these pregnancy hormones can aggravate pre-existing conditions like eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis making it a challenging and frustrating time in some ways.
This month’s blog was inspired by the overwhelming feedback we received on Mother’s Day this year. So many mothers, mums-to-be and even caring daughters (on their mom’s behalf) shared their pre and post-natal skin concerns and challenges with us via Facebook and Instagram.
The responses we received made us realise that many of you are having the same struggles with your skin during, and even after, pregnancy. In fact, a number of these skin concerns are driven by hormones and other factors and can be an issue for people of all genders and ages.
Hopefully, our explanations, tips and suggestions for some of the most common skin issues faced during this period will help many of you to get your skins behaving again, even if you don’t have a bun in the oven.
For the sake of this discussion, we have divided the specific skin challenges into three different areas:
- Hormone-related (things like pigmentation and acne)
- Pre-existing (if you have underlying skin issues thanks to environmental or genetic factors)
- Pregnancy-specific (skin changes associated with pregnancy)
Just a few of the comments from our social media. We could literally fill an entire page, but you get the picture.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Judging from our “highly sophisticated” survey (ahem, us asking REAL moms for their honest feedback on social media) we have narrowed down the most common pre and post natal skin concerns to the following:
- Irregular pigmentation
- Acne or breakouts
- Dryness or dehydration
- Dullness and uneven skin texture
Let’s look at each of these a little more closely.
Irregular pigmentation, hyper-pigmentation, and melasma (also known as “the mask of pregnancy”) are thanks to hormones triggering certain melanocytes in the dermis to over-produce melanin. Depending on the severity of this reaction you end up with one of the three types of pigmentation mentioned. The melanin produced then pushes up to the skin’s surface, usually around the forehead and nose.
For the more intense forms of hyperpigmentation and melasma, we recommend treatments with a deeper reach, such a micro-needling, peels and laser combined with our GF1 Aftercare post-treatment for rapid healing.
For milder forms of pigmentation, our GF2 spray is an ideal, non-abrasive treatment. Both products (GF1 and GF2) are completely safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women as they have no impact on the endocrine system. Our GF2 is not a skin lightener in the traditional sense. It contains our medical-grade hypochlorous acid, which is your body’s own immune molecule. This intelligent molecule works to correct the level of pigmentation in the skin to its intended level, as dictated by your DNA, and will gradually restore the skin to its original, natural, undamaged skin tone. Irregular patches of pigmentation due to hormones, and darkening of the skin due to sun damage, will be gently and gradually resolved with regular use.
2 Acne & breakouts
Just hearing the word breakout is enough to make your heart sink. We all know that feeling when you wake up in the morning and discover one or more protruding mounds on the face. The first question that springs to mind is “how can I deal with this?”
Although acne has several causes, and there are just as many types of treatment, there are two common denominators:
- blocked sebaceous (oil) glands
We have spoken before about the skin’s microbiome and how there are good and bad bacteria in and on the body. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, much like those that happen during puberty, cause the sebaceous glands in the skin to go into overdrive and produce too much oil. This in turn affects the pH level of the skin creating a breeding ground for the wrong kind of bacteria, in this case, C. acnes. The bacteria in turn cause inflammation and infection – which all manifests as acne.
Luckily the HOCl in our GF2 spray can differentiate between good and bad bacteria, helping to mitigate any overgrowth of the wrong kind of bacteria. It is also a strong anti-inflammatory with healing properties, helping to soothe the skin and heal any irritations. GF2 helps to normalise the pH on the skin to the correct, slightly acidic level. This in turn creates the correct environment for the microbiome on the skin to again flourish, which then helps to protect against an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the future.
3 Skin dryness or dehydration
We know that for many moms, and those that are expecting, the skin is very often drier and more dehydrated than before. This can often be due to a lack of sleep (a vital time for the skin to replenish and restore itself), drinking less water (or your body just needs more than your normal intake) or a side-effect of breastfeeding.
The saying goes that new moms should “sleep when the baby sleeps” but this is often easier said than done, especially if you have other family members that need your care and attention. The result is that your self-care routine pretty much goes out the window and is replaced by baby care and simple survival mode for the rest of the time. This can often leave you forgetting to drink enough water for your body’s needs, which is then further exacerbated by breastfeeding demands. A good rule of thumb is to have a nice large glass of water while your baby is feeding. Keep a jug or bottle in the nursery for these times.
When your baby is older you will find yourself racing all over to the house trying to prevent the world’s next greatest stunt act from happening – so at this stage its an idea to carry a BPA-free plastic or stainless-steel water bottle with you, so you remember to meet your body’s water needs.
Once you get past the breastfeeding days you will be tempted to relax with a cup of coffee or a relaxing glass of wine in the evening when baby is asleep. Just remember not to neglect your water intake, and that both coffee and alcohol are diuretics, which means that they will dehydrate the skin even more. A reminder that moderation is key.
Our recommendation here is to keep your skincare routine simple. Wash your face with a mild, liquid cleanser, pat dry and spray on our GF2 Skin Rejuvenation. GF2 does help to restore the hydration of your skin over time. For those days when your skin is feeling a little drier, we recommend following the GF2 spray (once it has dried on the skin) with a serum containing vitamin C, aloe vera or hyaluronic acid for a little extra moisture.
4 Dullness or uneven texture
Textural changes in the skin can be due to hormones but are often also caused by lifestyle changes like increased stress, a lack of exercise, irregular sleep, and yes, low water intake. Unfortunately, these lifestyle impacts are pretty much unavoidable for most parents in the real world.
Our GF2 formulations (yes, we have one for Dad too) can help protect your skin from the ageing effects of the environment. The active ingredient in GF2, namely hypochlorous acid, has been shown to halt and undo inflammageing (ageing in the skin caused by inflammation). We cannot stress enough that maintaining your skin routine, even when tired or stressed, is important. Not only for the appearance of your skin, but we also know that self-care is a great way of decreasing stress. We tend to feel better and more relaxed when we know we are doing something for our physical and mental health.
The bottom line is that if you are struggling with the skin concerns mentioned above we recommend our GF2. Spray on, wait for it to dry, take a deep breath in…. and, exhale.
Do you have a question about a specific skin concern we haven’t addressed? Let us know on email.