I've recently started prioritizing my skin's health now that I've left my twenties behind. Specifically, I'm using a pretty complex six-step routine designed to make my skin look like I'm pre-baby instead of sleep-deprived and under-nourished. This skincare routine is still pretty new to me, since I couldn't use some of the key steps while pregnant. Did you know that some beauty treatments are contraindicated for pregnancy? I didn't, until I became pregnant myself!
"Contraindicated" means that the two things in question will cause harm when done or used together. For example, you shouldn't drink and drive; in other words, drinking is contraindicated with driving. Many things are contraindicated in pregnancy! No OB in their right mind will recommend you ride a rollercoaster while pregnant. Smoking cigarettes can cause serious birth defects, as can alcohol consumption. In comparison, a short session in the tanning bed might seem inconsequential. But once you consider that your skin is your largest organ - and it's porous - you might think twice!
Much of the beauty treatments people enjoy can continue on without interruption during pregnancy. In fact, I'd probably recommend you keep up with a good self-care routine! It can help you feel great even in those later months, when your body is swollen with a baby...and just swollen in general! A select few, however, should take a back seat for the baby on board.
Remember when I mentioned that skin is the largest organ, and a porous one at that? That means that whatever you put on your skin has the potential to enter into your bloodstream. Now, let's use science here - not every chemical can enter your skin's pores. But some can - and retinols are one of those chemicals. Commonly used to hydrate and fight acne, stretch marks, and wrinkles, retinols are a powerful tool in your skincare arsenal. The oral form of retinols is the only form that's been proven to have detrimental effects on the unborn baby, but most doctors will caution against using even topical forms.
Remember this gem from your teenage years? Well, I've got some mixed news here. It's safe to use this acne treatment sparingly in topical form. Dermatologist Dr. Neal Schultz recommends sticking with a low concentration - 1% to 2% salicylic acid as a spot treatment. If you still want that chemical exfoliation rather than a spot treatment, Schultz recommends glycolic acid. It's a better exfoliant, anyway, and totally pregnancy-safe!
Before you clutch those pearls, give me a moment to clarify! It's totally safe to use nail polish on your fingernails and toenails! Please, please, please - if you want to get a pedicure to treat yourself (or maybe because you can't reach your own feet anymore), do it! Just heed a few tips that are helpful anytime, but especially important during pregnancy. Avoid infection by asking for a sterilized pack of instruments. Refrain from clipping cuticles - they're easy to tear or damage and can lead to complications that are annoying and possibly dangerous to both mom and baby.
It might be time to lay off the hair dye for a little while. No matter if you spend the bucks to get salon coloring sessions, or you dye at home, try to hold off for the next 40 weeks. The chemicals in dye are harsh and can possibly permeate the skin barrier, entering the bloodstream and eventually making their way to the baby in the womb. If going au naturel with your hair color fills you with dread, perhaps try a highlight instead of a single-process color. The method of applying highlights means that none of the bleach or dye touches the scalp, so it's significantly safer for pregnancy!
Like all things in pregnancy, do your research, use caution, and make the best call for you and your family. Many of your favorite beauty treats are still on the menu! A mother doesn't have to feel frumpy the whole nine months - rock that glow, mama!
What other beauty treatments should an expectant mother avoid? Help me fill up the list on Twitter @pi3sugarpi3 with #PregnantAndPretty