How to protect and nourish your skin
You’ve just got over the dreaded morning sickness and you’re looking forward to that second-trimester‘ pregnancy glow’ that everyone talks about; except, instead of the radiant, flushed-face you’d hoped for, you’re greeted with spots, puffiness, and dry, dull-looking skin.
The reality is, the hormonal changes related to pregnancy can affect women in different ways. Thanks to the skincare experts at Clarins, you can still get the glow you were promised with these top tips, addressing some of the most common pregnancy complaints.
With more than 20,000 Google searches in the UK per month, you may be unsurprised to see stretch marks make an appearance on this list. These ‘tiger stripes’ - as we prefer to call them - are caused by rapid and sudden stretching of the skin, weight gain and major hormonal changes and tend to appear on the breasts, tummy, hips and thighs.
We believe they tell the beautiful story of your journey into motherhood, but if you are determined to prevent them, then it’s best to start early. First of all, hydration is your skin’s best friend, and will help keep stretch marks to a minimum. Applying moisturiser or oil two or three times a day - along with a body scrub once a week - can also make a difference and can also be a good way to enjoy a bit of “me time” while connecting with your baby.
Safety tip: avoid products containing any of these ingredients, which are not safe for use during pregnancy - retinol, formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasers, parabens, phthalates.
The very fragile skin tissue of the bust is often damaged during pregnancy. The skin loses its elasticity, leading to a loss of lift and firmness. Alongside a well-fitting pregnancy bra, it’s worth investing in a serum or gel and making it a part of your daily self-care routine, taking a few minutes to yourself to massage it into your skin until absorbed. A nipple balm is also a must-have if you’re breastfeeding, helping to avoid cracking and soreness.
The key to clear, healthy skin - whether pregnant or not - is a consistent skincare routine. Cleanse your skin both morning and evening, even if you do not wear make-up. In the morning, cleansing removes all the impurities secreted by your skin during the night, and in the evening, it removes make-up and any pollution particles that may have settled on your skin during the day. A good SPF lotion, serum and moisturiser will also make all the difference, with a face mask used once a week and an exfoliator used no more than twice a week to eliminate dead surface skin cells and impurities. The result? A clearer, smoother and more even complexion.
Facial puffiness is a normal part of pregnancy, and is a sign that your body is retaining extra fluids to help nourish your baby. As with many other skincare concerns, one of the main combatants is drinking enough water, along with a targeted eye cream and face mask. Jade rollers have become extremely popular over the past few years and help to increase circulation to the skin and encourage lymphatic drainage, which can help reduce puffiness.
Now, we’re not talking about a face mask here. Pregnancy mask is common in expectant mothers and takes the form of hyper pigmentation of the skin in localised areas: forehead, cheeks and eye contour. A result of the hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy, it can start to appear around the fourth to sixth month mark. Although it should gradually disappear after birth, you can protect the skin by using an SPF lotion on a daily basis - even in winter!
Tired, heavy legs
It isn’t uncommon during pregnancy to have heavy and slightly swollen legs. The best advice here is to sleep with your legs slightly raised, and during the day, try to stretch your legs out in front of you as much as possible and avoid crossing them. Wear loose clothing and ditch the high heels for a while, instead opting for comfortable semi-flat shoes that support the arch and ankle. There are a number of creams and oils on the market to help soothe tired legs, such as Clarins’ Energizing Emulsion for Tired Legs. Alternatively, apply cool water with a large sponge, from the feet to the top of the thighs, then raise the legs for a little while and relax. For the ultimate relaxation, treat yourself to a pregnancy-safe body massage, which helps to target some of the most common pregnancy issues.