… will probably not be found in this post.
That’s because I DON’T KNOW ANY OF IT YET. I’m sorry! God, stop looking at me like that. New to this. Still finding my feet (among all the Twisties wrappers.)
Look, pregnancy is something that I, like many of us, spent most of my life actively trying to avoid; my information on it relegated to how it happens (“sex”) and how it ends (“a baby”).
But now that I have been lucky enough to have scored my sweet little uterus tenant, I am suddenly and acutely aware of just how much I do not know about this strange, mythical new world. I imagine it’s much the same for those who have recently taken up neuroscience, competitive wind sailing or Minecraft. That’s not to say I am not learning. I have my books, I have my body pillow on order, and I am missing sashimi more than you will ever really understand, to be honest. But the beauty stuff? The stuff that I am good at in Real Life, (similar to Pregnant Life, but with smaller bras and more wine), it hasn’t just immediately manifested.
I’ve picked up a few things, of course. I ask a lot of questions, especially when getting beauty treatments and when in the company of mums who have a vested interest in that stuff, and some of it is obvious. But a lot of it is NOT obvious. Like spray tans, for instance. Are we allowed to get them or not? I had an organic one and wore a face mask, just to be sure/paranoid. (The answer is below, for the record.)
I can’t help thinking there are a lot of unnecessary precautions in the world of pregnancy beauty, and that common sense, as always, should prevail. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to ask you all to throw up your beauty beauty tricks and tidbits in comments below, so that we can all learn, together, at once, united in lower back pain and nausea. (Just on nausea, which I was slammed with all-day for the past three months but am finally seeing the end of, I think sugar definitely makes it worse. Ditto too long between meals/snacks. Also my hunch is that pregnancy can definitely exacerbate it.)
Here’s what I’ve gleaned so far:
I wrote a huge post on this recently, which I urge you to read if you haven’t already. Hyperpigmentation can become a real bitch during pregnancy, due to hormonal changes and an increased sensitivity to UV. Your best chance is to use a pregnancy-safe pigment inhibitor, followed by a physical or mineral sunscreen, (zinc or titanium dioxide based) each and every day. Also, a wide brim hat, and sunglasses. IT’S WORTH IT. It’s only going to be harder to shift once your hormones return to normal, so you may as well try to keep a lid on it now. Tight lid. Screw top. Vacuum sealed. Sticky tape on the sides.
At home I use: Aspect Pigment Punch OR Aspect Vitamin C serum (less active than Pigment Punch), followed by O Cosmedics Mineral Pro during the day, and the serum plus a lovely thick face cream at night. (I have heard from another pregnant beauty ed that Aspect’s Exfol L is great, too.)
In salon: I am keeping up with my occasional lactic peels. (I go here, Brooke is unreal.) AHAs are fine through pregnancy, but lactic is the best bet, being the most gentle. My skin is glowing, which is terrific for people thinking you have the “pregnancy glow” when really you’re sleeping terribly and engaging in a diet more suitable to a stoned teenager. Just be mindful, if you do go for a peel, that your skin may be more sensitive due to hormones, and it may actually make the pigmentation flare up, (and return swiftly) so do small patch tests and low solutions to begin, and have a full “I’m with child!” consultation with the therapist.
The standard avoid list…
- Things with irritants and toxins. Skin can be more sensitive when you’re preggo, so go easy on it.
- Products with more than 2% salicylic acid (found in a lot of acne treatments), also known as BHA. Small amounts, such as in a cleanser once a day, or a spot treatment are fine. If in doubt, switch to AHAs, which will have a similar effect but are deemed totally safe.
- Vitamin A, Retinol, retinoids, retin-A, retinoic acid, Retinol Palmitate, Retinyl Palmitate etc.
- Soy products, which can aggravate your pigmentation.
- Oil of Bergamot, for the same reason.
STRETCH MARK PREVENTION
Every woman has her swear-by-it stretch mark preventer, but I really swear by mine. I do! I stand next to it and yell obscenities each morning. Hilarity aside, as long as you are using something on your stomach, hips, thighs, back and bum, you will help a lot. That’s not to say all products are created equal… Share your pick below, obviously, and stop hogging all the non stretch marks.
Before we do that though, the best piece of advice I’ve received is to keep up with the lotions/oils/butters post birth as well. Don’t drop the ball just cos you dropped a baby.
I use: Gernetic Synchro, (I got my facialist Natasha – who, wait for it – swears by it) to snaffle me the bucket/salon size as it is generally used as a face cream… which I use it for, as well) and a special belly butter made for me by my dear friend at Sodashi, Megan Larsen. HOW LUCKY I AM. I also use (this might be the most frustrating list of products in history) a dreamy body oil that is not yet on the market but will be early 2014 and will blow any socks off you happen to be wearing. Ideally you would alternate between oils and creams, because the skin is made of and needs both moisture AND sebum/oil.
Others use: Check comments below for evangelical ideas from women who have actually HAD a baby, but I know that The Body Shop and Palmer’s body and shea butters rate well, as does Weleda’s stretch mark oil.
DHA, the ingredient that marks your skin in spray tans is considered safe, however, you should cover your schnoz and mouth while you have your spray tan to prevent inhalation, so check your salon has face masks available. Also, maybe wait til you’re in your second trimester to salon spray.
Not approved or recommended. The definitive jury is out on its effects on the baby, due to not enough research, but why on earth, wind or fire would you risk it. Also deemed unsafe while trying to conceive, breastfeeding and flying planes.
LASER SKIN TREATMENTS
Not advised. Nor are depilatory creams, due to heightened chance of allergy. Guess it’s back to waxing, ay bro.
One of the joys of pregnancy is being allowed to leave early when dinner parties are dull. Another is gingivitis, AKA inflamed, sore, bleeding gums and manky breath. Cute. I saw my dentist last week and it was a godamn blood bath. Horrible. Definitely see your dentist at least once during up duffery, and absolutely brush, tongue clean, floss and mouthwash daily. (Cause we all have two hours to get ready, yah?) Important though. Bad breath is about as alluring as month-old sushi.
I use: My Philips Sonic Airfloss (read my review here, it is AWESOME and excellent for floss-haters), toothbrush, Listerine Zero (no alcohol, means no drying out of the mouth) and a shitty tongue scraper I bought from the chemist.
There are lots of (around 798,982 at last count) conflicting reports regarding what you can and can’t do with your hair when pregnant, but generally the guidelines are to wait until you’re in your second trimester (you know, the one when you can stomach more than white toast and walk up stairs without gasping for breath), opt for highlights rather than tints, so as to avoid scalp contact (things like balayage are great, because the highlights begin at the mid-lengths) and go for semi-permanent colours rather than permanent to avoid ammonia. I had my hair coloured recently and sacrificed exactly nothing in terms of its appearance by using these techniques.
Okay. Time to pop an Elevit/a hairband around the button on my jeans.
What are your pregnancy beauty tips and favourite products? For the love of leg veins, tell us.