Haven't had a killer zit since high school? Well, now that you're pregnant, you may get "zitty" once more. That's right, your pregnancy complexion may not be as glowy as you expected, and you can (as always) blame hormones for it. During the first and second trimesters, you will get surges of the androgen hormone, which can trigger breakouts. Progesterone at the beginning of pregnancy can also cause your glands to secrete for oil, clogging up pores and causing bacteria build-up. Ugh, am I right? The upside, though, is that pregnancy acne is temporary and clears up once you are farther along and your hormones balance back to normal. But since none of us want to have a glow coming from rashy, pimply bumps, let's figure out what we can do about it.
Here are 7 tips to improve pregnancy acne.
1. Make your own mix with essential oils. Lavender, clary sage, jojoba and tea tree essential oils have the ability to release stress and balance hormone levels. They're also gentle on the skin and, unlike your regular cleanser, won't dry your skin out, which is especially important during the winter months. If you do want to stick with store-bought cleansers, make sure to read the ingredients and opt for those that do not have parabens and sulfates, and try to incorporate essential oils into your skincare routine, after washing your face.
2. Moisturize with Coconut oil. Coconut oil is known for hydrating and soothing the skin. It is very gentle, and one of the best times to apply it on your face is just before you sleep. Consider using cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil for a nighttime moisturizer.
3. Hydrate. We can't stress this enough, but drink. drink. drink. Lots of water, that is. Not only will it hydrate your skin, but it will also keep your overall body hydrated. It's especially important if you incorporate exercise into your routine and are exposed to warmer climates, which will make you sweat more.
4. Make a DIY face mask. Both oatmeal and cucumber are soothing and cooling for the skin. Cucumber contains a high amount of silica, which is a mineral that keeps our connective tissue together and keeps it strong. Try a homemade treatment with this facial mask recipe. Clay also has antibacterial properties and can be used to rid the body of toxins and metals. Mix a teaspoon of bentonite clay with water until it forms a paste and put on your face. Keep on for 20 mins, and rinse with warm water.
5. Create a good sleep routine. Healthy sleep patterns have a positive impact on your entire pregnancy health. But what if you don't sleep well? When you are sleep deprived, your skin suffers as it doesn't "rest" and regenerate. As a result, it tends to secrete more sebum, which can up your chances for breakouts. So make sure you sleep 7 to 8 hours, and foster a healthy sleep environment: soft lights, no TV for at least 30 minutes before bed, and no electronics and social media in the bedroom. Insta-mom, we're looking at you.
6. Eat well. Nutritional deficiencies are associated with skin problems, including acne. And since pregnancy puts an additional drain on your body, it's important to ear even more nutritious, wholesome foods to counter that. Up your vitamin A intake with cold liver oil, egg yolk and pastured butter. That will boost cell turnover and improve your skin overtime. Eat fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C to help with collagen production and skin elasticity, as well as with breakouts. Zinc has also antibacterial properties, so don't skimp on red meat and shellfish -- just make sure that everything is cooked well and follow ACOG recommendations. Whatever you do, try to avoid processed foods that contain refined sugars.
7. Put probiotics on your face. Topical probiotics come in the form of creams, serums, and sprays. They are designed to maintain a healthy skin micro-biome. Probiotics help increase the number of good bacteria while decreasing bad ones. This can thus help clean your pores and clear your skin of blemishes. You can either mix a capsule of probiotics with coconut oil (for extra moisture) or use naturally fermented yogurt directly on your face!
Have you had experience with pregnancy acne? If so, share the remedies that have helped you in the comments below.