Are you a mom-to-be or thinking of becoming pregnant? One of the best things you can do to pamper yourself is to indulge in some all-natural pregnancy skin care.
Before I ever became pregnant, I imagined having a near perfect prenatal diet full of green smoothies and hearty whole grains, and I saw myself sipping loose leaf tea after a relaxing prenatal yoga practice. Likewise, my skin care routine would be full of the loveliest plant-based oils and organic products. My wellness game was going to be on.
But then I actually became pregnant and quickly learned that whatever your expectations and intentions are going into the adventure of child-carrying, pregnancy has a way of doing its own thing. It’s like nature’s way of reminding you to be humble in the face of the truly big change around the corner. And humbling it was!
Within days of learning I was expecting, I discovered that my body was not amenable to green smoothies anymore—or anything that wasn’t a bland cracker. Within weeks, I needed medication that allowed me to keep water down. Needless to say, organic pregnancy skin care was the furthest thing from my mind during my first and second trimesters!
Don’t get me wrong—I was grateful for my pregnancy every step of the way. Oddly enough, my symptoms and the beloved person inside seemed completely unrelated to each other. (Thanks, momma hormones!)
Now that I’m in my third trimester, I’m eating greens (hooray!), no longer fearing downward dog, and indulging in a little pregnancy skin care. My facial care has admittedly been minimalist and inconsistent (there’s only so much energy to go around), but I’ve been pretty fastidious with body care.
Massaging my skin with various oils post-shower has proven to be a wonderful way to wind down in the evening, feel pampered without pulling out a dozen stops, and combat dry, tight skin—especially in the baby bump region.
The following are a few of the pregnancy skin care products I’ve been enjoying as I reach the home stretch of pregnancy. Whether or not you’re preggers, finding products that nourish you and that you feel comfortable with (and let’s be honest, that smell good) is always a win! Hopefully, these picks inspire you to give your skin a little TLC—whatever your reproductive state.
This oil blend is packed with skin-loving organic carrier oils—grapeseed oil, rosehip seed oil, and jojoba oil. It also includes apricot kernel oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, and evening primrose oil. Ylang ylang and geranium (which are generally considered safe for pregnancy when diluted in a carrier oil) give the oil a lovely floral fragrance—and it’s nice to feel a little feminine when you’re practically living in your husband’s t-shirts and boxers! Perhaps my favorite part of this body oil is that it absorbs quickly for something so emollient. This is no small thing when it’s summer in south Texas!
Genetics and hormones play a large role in whether or not stretch marks accompany pregnancy, growth, or weight gain. The marks themselves are the result of tearing collagen and elastin fibers, which are found in the second layer of skin. Thus, the current wisdom is that moisturizing the surface of the skin probably doesn’t address the root cause.
The good news is that stretch marks are physically harmless—they don’t indicate that there’s something wrong with your health! Many people embrace them as reminders of their pregnancy or womanhood. If you’re like Chrissy Teigen, you may even have an endearing nickname for them, like “stretchies” or tiger stripes.
The last thing any person needs to stress out about is preventing stretch marks or lamenting their appearance. That said, if you’re pregnant and your belly feels as tight as a drum…and dry and itchy, you can’t help but reach for a special belly product! I’ve tried a few during my pregnancy—one was so greasy it seeped through my T-shirts and another smelled so pungent, I couldn’t stand it!
Now that my little swimmer is packing on the pounds (or so the pregnancy apps tell me) and really stretching me out, I’ve been applying Soapwalla Resilience Pregnant Belly Oil every day—sometimes twice a day. The combination of carrier oils—jojoba, meadow foam seed oil, apricot kernel, sweet almond, coconut, rosehip, and black currant—makes my skin feel supple, and as the product name suggests, resilient! Even if no stretch mark miracle product exists, this stuff comes pretty close given how soothing and anti-inflammatory it is (plus, meadowfoam, rosehip, apricot, and black currant oils may help promote healthy collagen!).
Although “pregnancy glow” isn’t a complete myth, if you’re feeling fatigued or nauseated, it’s hard to feel like a glowing goddess. I’ve found that the best thing for my relatively stable complexion (courtesy of pregnancy) is regular oil cleansing. If I’m not wearing makeup, which is more often than not these days, I cleanse my skin with one of these gently exfoliating pads, massage my face with my fingers, and then rinse off any excess oil. No additional moisturizer needed! After this little massage/cleansing routine, I do feel like I’m glowing! (Psst…this routine is lazy evening-friendly!)
Some effects of pregnancy are quite welcome. One of my favorite pregnancy perks is stronger nails. Although I still paint my nails from time to time (gotta love those non-toxic brands!), these days my nails actually look pretty nice when they’re naked. I give them a little extra TLC with this ultra nourishing cuticle oil from French Girl. Crafted with argan, evening primrose, sea buckthorn, and tamanu oils, this roll-on blend makes my nails look manicured even when they’re not. (It’s generally a good idea to avoid trimming your cuticles because they protect your nails from infection, and this is especially true during pregnancy when your immune system is a little preoccupied!)
This lightweight lotion has a pleasant coconut scent that’s refreshing and not too heady (perfect for summer!). I particularly enjoy blending it with a splash of one of the body oils mentioned above for a customized moisturizer. It’s quite affordable, so I don’t feel guilty about slathering it on. Plus, Alaffia helps fund safe births in rural Togo, which is just awesome!
Are you a mom or a mom-to-be? What are your favorite pregnancy skin care products?
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Photo: Mary Hood Luttrell, Niu Body