Holistically Healthy

Solve the 5 worst skin offenses during pregnancy holistically.

Holistically Healthy

Hormones are amazing. They enable us ladies to become pregnant in the first place, given that they are the body's chemical messengers. They also are the culprits in some of pregnancy's less charitable contributions to our skin in the 9 months leading up to birth. The good news is that the vast majority of pregnancy-related skin woes will disappear post-birth. But in the mean time, there are some lovely herbal remedies for alleviating their presence here and now. (I'm writing these recommendations both as a pregnant woman and as an herbalist who makes skincare products.) 1. Acne. As if exhaustion and bloating weren't enough to think about, acne of pregnancy can be an unfortunate curse for some women. Your hormones can cause your natural sebum (human skin oil) production to go into overdrive (as happens during puberty). This in turn can lead to plugged pores, infection and oxidized papules. Simply put, blackheads and pimples, along with an oily sheen can make your hard days much worse. NOTE: Because of serious risk of birth defects, the anti-acne prescription drugs, such as Accutane and Retin-A, cannot be used during pregnancy (and we don't think those should ever be used anyhow). How to holistically help: Avoid abrasive exfoliants; pregnant skin is too sensitive for these. Milder, oatmeal-based facial scrubs (like Sow Your Wild Oat) can help unplug the oily pores, and are much kinder to sensitive skin. Help balance your oil production by using a seed and fruit derived facial oil mixed with a hydrating mist for sensitive skin (Nourish & Replenish Oil works well, as does our Sense & Sensitivity Mist for expectant Mommas.) When a blemish does pop up, never squeeze it, which can cause infection and further inflammation. Instead use an activated charcoal clay spot treatment (Clear Complexion Clay) mixed with naturally anti-bacterial oil (Cow Fart Juice) to draw out pus without drying out the surrounding skin. Try to keep make-up to a minimum, but if you can't get away from wearing it, be sure to completely remove it at night. Try double cleansing with a light oil (NO EVIL) to give your pores a breather at night. 2. Itching. As your skin stretches to accommodate your growing babe, itchiness is an unavoidable side-effect. Even if your skin isn't visibly dry, it's probably begging for some moisture to alleviate this discomfort. Some areas can become dry and flaky, especially during the cold months; others may itch because of a prickly rash, which can show up out of nowhere. The worst spots for this are, of course, the abdomen, but also on hips and thighs. Additionally, anywhere clothing is tight can cause irritation (like bra bands and waist bands). How to holistically help: Treat yourself to some lingerie specially developed for pregnancy and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! We use a combination of products depending on the type and location of the itch. For all over body, try a goat milk lotion which is light and silky -- our Vitality Body Lotion keeps dryness at bay, especially in the winter months. Specifically for Momma's baby belly, Momma Moon Massage in a Bottle keeps the abdominal skin supple and hydrated. Avoid wearing polyester and other synthetics that don't breathe well and can cause rashes and sweat irritation. Stick to cotton, linen and wool if at all possible. 3. Stretch marks. This one is every expectant momma's worst fear. Anytime someone’s body grows quickly, they’re at risk for stretch marks, so the fact that your baby is growing exponentially in there puts you right in the high-risk zone. Of course, not every momma-to-be gets stretch marks. Ask your mom if she got stretch marks to see what the chances are that you will, since it is a genetic predisposition. Try to gain weight slowly throughout the 9 months. Inevitably, in the last trimester when baby is formed and putting on weight, your own weight gain usually accelerates. Cut out the Ben & Jerry's after 8 p.m. for slower gain. (Note: the author does not practice what she preaches. At 8 months, she is crushed if she doesn't get her nightly treat after a long day of baby-growing.) How to holistically help: Gentle exfoliation of your belly, breasts, hips and thighs can help. Our Newfangled Ideas Coffee Body Scrub will additionally help with cellulite that commonly accompanies sudden weight gain. And keeping skin moist while it grows is your best bet towards minimizing the damage. A long-used traditional botanical oil for exactly this problem: Rosehip Seed Oil. We source and bottle a beautiful 100% Organic Rosehip Seed Oil from wild thorny rose bushes which are native to and grown in Chile. It's also wonderful for scars and slowing wrinkles and other aging of the skin. 4. The pregnancy mask. So you think a nice tan will make you feel better about your bloated waistline? The sun has become your enemy for the next 9 months, specifically starting in your second trimester. Brownish spots called chloasma can appear anywhere on the face, but are seen most commonly on the forehead, upper cheeks, nose and chin. Yup, hormones estrogen and progesterone are the culprits. They stimulate the melanin cells in the skin to produce more pigment which can result in a splotchy tan. How to holistically help: The best way to avoid this is to avoid the sun. We urban hippies have embraced the big floppy hat look and keep our faces covered while outdoors. But if you insist on a sunscreen, the only safe type to use during pregnancy is the physical or mineral blocks – these are the ones made with either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which make you look like an old-school lifeguard. Chemical sunscreens can enter the bloodstream and potentially affect the fetus. NOT worth the risk! (Probably best to avoid those even when not pregnant.) You can still get your vitamin D by letting the sun touch your arms, or taking off your hat for a few minutes a day (only 10 minutes of sunlight gives you all the vitamin D you need). 5. Super Sensitivity. Rosiness is a common hormonal effect – the "glow" that everyone talks about. If that's all you're suffering from, count yourself as blessed! Your skin is much more delicate while you are growing a baby than it normally is. Perfumed lotions and chemicals may cause irritation, not to mention nausea. Even your old anti-bacterial hand soap can now prove to be a risk. You certainly don't want any triclosan, parabens or fragrance entering your bloodstream and possibly affecting the baby. Avoid scrubbing your skin, even your hands, especially in hot water, which can weaken your barrier to the outside world and cause micro-tears. How to holistically help: Go get a box. Put everything in your beauty cabinet that has ingredients that you can't pronounce and don't recognize in the box. Stow it somewhere until after you have the baby. If you want to go back to it afterwards, fine, but at this point, chemicals are not a good idea. We recommend using a naturally anti-bacterial hand soap, and having it available for everyone to use when they enter your house post-birth. (Our Clean & Green castile soap with amazing essential oils also fights germs.) Try to use all natural products, escape from toxins and embrace a holistically healthy regime that you will want for your new little love. For more information on herbal products and services, check out Brooklyn Herborium. Triangulator image via Brooklyn Herborium. Botanicals image source.

In This Article

    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    With fall in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in outside-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Wooden doll stroller

    Janod wooden doll stroller

    Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


    Detective set

    Plan Toys detective set

    This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


    Sand play set

    Plan Toys sand set

    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


    Water play set

    Plan Toys water play set

    Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


    Wooden rocking pegasus

    plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

    Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


    Croquet set

    Plan Toys croquet set

    The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


    Wooden digital camera

    fathers factory wooden digital camera

    Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


    Wooden bulldozer toy

    plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


    Pull-along hippo

    janod toys pull along hippo toy

    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


    Balance board

    Plan Toys balance board

    Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


    This post is brought to you by Staples. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

    One of the biggest changes in my household once my daughter started homeschooling was that, suddenly, everything and everyone in our home had to start pulling double duty. While I was used to wearing a lot of hats (mom, wife and WFH employee, to name a few), suddenly our dining room was also pulling shifts as a classroom. My laptop was also a virtual teacher. Our living room hutch was also a school supply closet.

    If I didn't want my home to be overrun with an abundance of clutter, I had to find products that could multitask. Here are 10 products that are saving this WFH + homeschooling mama right now.

    Stylish storage cabinet

    Whether I need a place to keep the printer or just want to keep crayons and colored pencils organized, this pretty cabinet provides a mixture of exposed and hidden storage without clashing with my living room decor.

    White board calendar + bulletin board

    With so much on our plates these days, I need a visual reminder of our daily schedule or I'll forget everything. This dry erase version makes it easy to keep track of Zoom meetings and virtual classes—and I also love using the corkboard to display my daughter's latest work from art class.

    Natural Recycled 3-Ring Binder

    From tracking our curriculum progress to organizing my family's paperwork, I can never have enough binders. Even better, this neutral version is pretty enough that I can display them on the bookshelf.

    Bamboo storage drawers

    The instant you start homeschooling, it can feel like you're suddenly drowning in papers, craft supplies and more. Fortunately, these simple bamboo drawers can be tucked into the cabinet or even displayed on top (seriously, they're that cute!) to keep what we need organized and close at hand.

    Laminated world map

    I love this dry-erase map for our geography lessons, but the real secret? It also makes a cute piece of wall decor for my work space.

    Rolling 7-drawer cabinet

    When you're doing it all from home, you sometimes have to roll with the punches—I strongly recommend getting an organizational system that rolls with you. On days when both my husband and I are working from home and I need to move my daughter's classes to another room, this 7-drawer cabinet makes it easy to bring the classroom with us.


    From our first day of school photo to displaying favorite quotes to keep myself motivated, this 12"x18" letterboard is my favorite thing to display in our home.

    Expandable tablet stand

    Word to the wise: Get a pretty tablet stand you won't mind seeing out every day. (Because between virtual playdates, my daughter's screen time and my own personal use, this thing never gets put away.)

    Neutral pocket chart

    Between organizing my daughter's chore chart, displaying our weekly sight words and providing a fits-anywhere place to keep supplies on hand, this handy little pocket chart is a must-have for homeschooling families.

    Totable fabric bins

    My ultimate hack for getting my family to clean up after themselves? These fabric bins. I can use them to organize my desk, store my oldest's books and even keep a bin of toys on hand for the baby to play with while we do school. And when playtime is over, it's easy for everyone to simply put everything back in the bin and pop it in the cabinet.

    Looking for study solutions for older children? Hop over to Grown & Flown for their top picks for Back to School.

    Work + Money

    29 last-minute family Halloween costumes you can pull together NOW

    If your little one is going as a lion, coordinating is as easy as breaking out the khaki!

    Here's how Halloween unfolds in most households I know: Mom spends weeks—even months—planning the perfect costumes for little ones. Then Halloween creeps up and they realize they need an outfit to coordinate with the kids' get-ups. What's a mom to do?!

    Thankfully, there's no need for fear or pressure: There are so many ideas for parents that are easy to make and still super clever.

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