You’re blissfully pregnant and the changes you’re experiencing are all positive signs of a healthy, growing baby. But it’s not all glowing skin and pregnancy photo shoots for everyone. If you’re not sporting that flawless pregnancy glow you were hoping to, that’s completely normal. There are a number of reasons why some of us experience a pregnancy glow and some don’t. Let’s explore.
HORMONES AND YOUR SKIN
It all comes down to those pesky hormones, the main culprit being estrogen. Naturally, this is a time in your life when you are a slave to your hormones. They’re up and down like a yo-yo, and your mood might follow suit. With so much happening within your body right now, there’s an adjustment phase where you’re struggling to balance these hormones. And if morning sickness isn’t bad enough, your skin might show the signs also. The surge in estrogen can be responsible for hyper-pigmentation, breakouts, unwanted hair growth, and even rashes.
WHY DO SOME WOMEN GLOW?
During pregnancy women tend to retain fluid and gain a small amount of weight. Any increase in volume of the face can lead our skin to appear plump and therefore more youthful – some women will love this and understandably some won’t! There’s also an increase in blood supply and as we feel warmer than normal this leads to a natural blush – a flushed cheek. This combination of bouncy, pink skin, can appear to make a woman glow – provided they don’t suffer from any of the following symptoms.
At the other end of the spectrum is the dreaded pregnancy breakout, and even worse, acne. While this is not the most common pregnancy symptom it does happen. Similar to how some women breakout at certain times during their menstrual cycle (hormone related), this is something that rears its head most commonly in the first trimester. Essentially, estrogen and progesterone are the culprits here. In short, the higher level of hormones can stimulate the sebaceous glands which means we have more oil and more congestion. If this increase in oil isn’t controlled, breakouts can occur. DMK recommends: If you previously suffered from breakouts and acne, stick with your regime with the exception of vitamin A products – these are not recommended during pregnancy and nursing. If you are not a sufferer of breakouts or acne and this is the first time you are experiencing this, speak to your DMK technician to discuss options for treatments and home care utilising botanical-based products which will help to balance the oil production in your skin.
While pre-pregnancy you may have been able to mix and match your skin care products, during pregnancy this may be different for you. It’s likely at some point during pregnancy you will experience some sort of sensitivity – yes, even to products you’ve been using for years. The reason your skin may be reactive to specific ingredients is the increase in blood flow. During this time it’s best to stick to ingredients that are anti-inflammatory and calming products to avoid any adverse reactions. DMK recommends: DMK’s Beta Gel is a beta glucan based serum designed to calm redness in the skin, while boosting the immunity of the skin. A healthy, strong skin, will react better to changes within the body and hormone fluctuations.
While itchy skin during the third trimester is common due to the stretching of the skin there are several rashes which are pregnancy-related, and while they may appear quite alarming, they are completely normal. Pregnancy-related rashes include AEP (a red raised rash), PEP (red itchy bumps often located near stretchmarks), and Pemphigoid Gestationis (itchy raised blisters on the abdomen) which is the rarest of the three conditions. While hormone-related, these rashes should be looked over by a medical professional. If you had an existing case of eczema or psoriasis pre-pregnancy, chances are it could escalate during pregnancy. Again, it’s best to limit products due to the heightened sensitivity of the skin due to the increased blood supply to the skin. DMK recommends: Speak to your Dr if you are experiencing any sort of concerning rash. Avoid synthetic clothing, Beta Gel and Actrol Powder are an excellent combination for any of these skin problems.
As the skin stretches, the skin can become dry. Dehydrated skin will lead to itching and can increase the chances of developing stretchmarks. The stretching of the skin across the stomach can lead to a frustrating itch. This can be soothed with topical oils and moisturisers to calm the sensation temporarily. Ensuring the hydration of the skin remains optimal an essential fatty acid, and regular moisturising will alleviate the frustration. DMK recommends: DMK EFA Ultra is recommended to boost the hydration levels within the skin which will help to plump the skin, while giving your hair and nails a nourishing boost. To enhance the immunity of the skin, allowing it to defend itself from the elements and hormone fluctuations we recommend DMK’s Beta Gel accompanied by the moisture boosting combination of Herb & Mineral Mist, Seba-E oil and Hydroloc to lock maximum amounts of moisture in the skin, keeping it nice and elastic so it can stretch further without tearing.
“Stretchmarks are a common part of pregnancy. Some women are prone to them and will likely have noticed them pop up as early as puberty, and some will never see a silvery line on their body ever. Lucky them!”
While pregnancy-related pigmentation is more common during the summer months, it can occur at any time and unfortunately, it appears most commonly on the forehead and underneath the eyes. It’s so common it even has its own nickname with professionals referring to it as “the mask of pregnancy”. Interestingly the science behind why women develop pigmentation on the face is the same as the darkening of the line that appears in almost all expectant mothers down the centre of their abdomen, due to the increase in estrogen. When you expose this hyper-pigmentation to the sun it then becomes permanent, also know as chloasma and melisma, this is extremely common. While most hormone-induced pigmentation will begin to fade during the months post-birth, the melasma can remain present – meaning it can reappear during consecutive pregnancies and via sun exposure. DMK recommends: To combat this, we recommend preventative measures to inhibit melanin production. Firstly, a daily sunscreen is very important, a broad spectrum sunscreen designed to protect the skin DMK Soleil Defence SPF50+ is best. In addition to this, Melanotech Drops and Super Bright at night is a powerful way of suppressing and preventing the hyper-pigmentation and brightening the hyper-pigmentation throughout the pregnancy, prevention is better than cure.
Stretchmarks are a common part of pregnancy. Some women are prone to them and will likely have noticed them pop up as early as puberty, and some will never see a silvery line on their body ever. Lucky them! Pregnancy can be the first time they rear their head for some as the body goes through so many changes. Stretchmarks are caused due to the weakened connective tissue due to the surge in estrogen in the body. They are in fact micro tears in the skin. Initially they can appear red and be quite apparent, however, over time they will fade and can appear to be an almost silver-colour. The darker the skin, the more noticeable they are. DMK recommends: Keep the skin moist and supple to avoid tears and improve elasticity. If your skin is feeling dry, and itchy, it’s a sign to increase hydration and go one step further and take an essential fatty acid supplement such as DMK EFA Ultra to boost hydration within the skin. Never fear there are DMK treatments to revise stretchmarks after your bundle of joy has arrived.