Changes to your skin and hair in pregnancy may take you by surprise.
It’s a truth not generally acknowledged that pregnancy can make or break your beauty routine. With all the changes going on in your body — hormones through the roof, increased blood flow — you may find your hair becomes thick and lustrous, your skin glows and your finger nails grow strong and shiny.
Then again, your hair may become dry and stringy. Acne, last seen in your teens, may re-emerge and (horrors) hair grows on your chin and tummy.
Skin pigmentation issues, sometimes known as the mask of pregnancy or chloasma, affects some women while others get the “linea negra” the dark line down the middle of their lower abdomen.
It’s un-nerving, to say the least, but, happily, these changes usually disappear once baby arrives.
Love your hair
A three-year study of 375 women involving international hair guru Philip Kingsley looked at how pregnancy affects hair. A third of participants found their hair improved, a third found their hair became drier and more difficult while the rest noticed no change.
During pregnancy, hair falls out much less than usual, making your hair seem thicker. But after you’ve had your baby you may find the rate of hair loss rises markedly. This is normal and won’t last. But if you’re losing lots of hair during pregnancy it might pay to get it checked out by your doctor.
Some women, though, find they have too much hair. Don’t worry if you get extra tufts in odd places (tummy, face or even nipples!) but try to avoid bleaching or depilatory creams because it’s unclear whether these are safe in pregnancy. Shaving, waxing or plucking is safer.
Be prepared for permanent hair changes too. For some, hair gets darker or curlier — it’s all part of the badge of honour in becoming a mum.
The volume of blood pumped around your body increases in pregnancy — some studies put it at a 45% increase — so it’s no wonder your skin may be described as glowing. At the same time the sebaceous glands are producing more oil, making acne more common.
Pregnancy hormones cause the body to make more pigment so freckles and moles can get bigger or darker. Brownish patches on the face are another pigmentation issue so arm yourself with a good concealer until that too passes.
Pregnancy is a perfect time to explore organic and natural skincare, particularly since it may well be safer for baby. At OHbaby! we’re pleased to see the range of organic make-up expanding. World Organic has just brought out a range that includes foundation (73% organic ingredients), blusher and eye shadow.
Meanwhile the availability of certified organic skincare is getting better all the time with products dropping in price.
It’s almost impossible to know in advance if you will get stretch marks but some say it’s hereditary — if your mum had them you could well get them. Either way, there are lots of delicious creams and oils out there to slather all over your body to help avoid those silvery lines.