Lamaze-ing skin

All you need to know about pregnancy skincare. Becoming a mother is a watershed moment in a woman's life and handling all the changes means reviewing skincare for your changing body and the health of the baby. Skincare that is part of your usual routine is not right for pregnancy and since there isn't a specific certification for pregnancy safe products this is an especially important time to explore clean beauty-

Here's what to watch out for  

1.  Retinol - this is widely prescribed anti-aging and anti-acne ingredient that is also available in lower concentrations over the counter. While retinoinds always increase photo sensitivity they are associated with birth defects especially orally and even topically since the small concentrations can meaningfully affect a tiny foetus. 

2. Sunscreen  - mineral sunscreens using active ingredients like Zinc oxide and Titanium Dioxide are especially worth investigating when you are pregnant as chemical filters even when they are pregnancy safe are not as suitable for sensitive skin and Zinc has double benefit of soothing skin. In case you suffer from melasma (dark skin patches)  you can consider natural active ingredients like sandalwood that reverse sun damage. 

3. Exfoliants - during pregnancy it's important to ease up on chemical exfoliants in particular like beta hydroxy acids which orally are associated with birth defects. Alpha Hydroxy Acids are safer but best avoided and a gentle physical exfoliant or with a simple clay mask because increased skin sensitivity is common. 

4. Soy - melasma is worsened by soy's estrogenic effects and also some essential oils like bergamot so the less you do the better. 

5. Anti-acne  - pregnancy related acne needs a topical antibiotic rather than any traditional product as it is hormonal and benzoyl peroxide and salycilic acid and retinoids are best avoided. 

6. Makeup - mineral makeup is best especially since it lets skin breathe and minimizes pregnancy acne. 

Less is more is really the most important takeaway for pregnancy skincare and leaves you more time to spend preparing for your baby!