Learn the beauty products to avoid when pregnant.
Skin Issues During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, surging hormones cause a number of changes to the body, including blotches on the skin and acne. “If you’ve never had acne before, now is the time it will erupt all over your skin,” dermatologist Dr. Jessica Wu says.
A problem many women face during pregnancy is that many skin products are not safe for them or the baby because they have tetracyclyn or Retin A. “If you take tetracyclyn, you’ve got to stop it, otherwise your baby will have gray teeth,” Dr. Wu says.
A safe solution is the Belli Skincare line of products, which are specially tested and pregnancy safe. They were developed by Dr. Jason Rubin in 2002 and are the only skincare line that offers teratology screening, which produces a higher safety standard that guards against ingredients with even remote links to birth defects.
Belli’s pregnancy line offers products that help with stretch marks, acne, chloasma, dry skin and swelling. They also offer products geared towards post-birth mothers and babies, with the same safety requirements. The products can be found in high-end maternity and baby boutiques, in many OB-GYN offices and online.
Unsightly Stretch Marks
Stretch marks, or striea, are linear dermal tears or scars that occur when the skin is subjected to progressive stretching. “It’s a true injury, it’s a true scar,” dermatologist Dr. Harold Lancer says.
Treatments are determined by the color and intensity of the scarring. Ethnicity and skin type also plays a part in how the marks are treated, and laser treatments may not be the best option for everyone. “Stretch marks may not be a life-threatening event, but you have to be careful in the approach,” Dr. Lancer says. “If the approach isn’t right, the scars from treatment are worse than the stretch marks.”
Stretch marks can be minimized with creams, microdermabrasion or a fractional CO2 laser. The laser uses wavelengths of light to stimulate new growth of collagen, which helps raise depressed skin and lighten stretch marks.
While olive oil and cocoa butter are popular home remedies for stretch marks, they are not very effective. Creams with retinoic acid can invigorate and bring the skin back to life.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Drew Ordon and aesthetician Kelly demonstrate the new Purigenix collagen facial, safe for baby bellies! The treatment utilizes soluble succinylated and ionized collagen that penetrates and integrates easily into the skin.
Masking MelasmaWear lots of skin protection because the high levels of estrogen increase a woman's chance of developing melasma, an embarrassing skin problem also known as "the mask of pregnancy." Melasma causes the skin's pigmentation to darken on the cheeks, forehead, chin, upper lip and the bridge of the nose due to an increase in melanin, the primary determinant for skin color. The problem is often triggered by hormones during and after pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy, birth control pills and sun exposure.
Model, TV personality, Co-CEO of ModernMom.com and mother of four Brooke Burke reveals that for nine years, she has been dealing with melasma. "This really hit home for me," Brooke says. "This is something that I haven't really addressed publicly. "I have mastered the art of covering it," she adds.
In an act of solidarity, Brooke removes her makeup to expose her melasma.
"There are all kinds of changes — physiologic and hormonal — that go on in pregnancy," OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson says. "These changes are reflected in your skin, either from stretching or stretch marks, or from pigmentation [issues]. But, there are two [itching sensations] that you really want to distinguish [between], because one is absolutely normal, and one has effects on the baby."
Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy, or PUPPS, is a rash that commonly occurs while carrying a baby. Symptoms include small, red itchy bumps and hives that appear on the abdomen but can spread to the thighs and breasts later in pregnancy. PUPPS is harmless and will usually go away within two weeks of giving birth.
"[To treat PUPPS], you can use things like an oatmeal bath or antihistamines. You can put corn starch in water and make a paste to put on there, and sometimes your doctor may even recommend steroids," Dr. Lisa says. "I had [PUPPS], and the thing is that you scratch so much that you can't even sleep."
Cholestasis of pregnancy, is a more serious rash that usually appears in the third trimester and can have adverse effects on the baby. Cholestasis occurs when bile gets trapped in the mother's liver. The bile acids enter the bloodstream, can affect the fetus and result in a stillbirth. Cholestasis causes itching, often on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, and can also cause jaundice, a yellow staining of the skin. The itching can spread to the trunk of the body, as well.
"If you have cholestasis of pregnancy, you actually have to have the baby monitored during the pregnancy, as opposed to the PUPPS," Dr. Lisa says. "So your doctor should always [determine], if you're having itching, whether it's the benign PUPPS or if it's the cholestasis."
Many women opt to undergo a tummy tuck after giving birth in an effort to regain their pre-pregnancy belly. Pregnancy can sometimes cause diastasis recti, a separation of the left and right abdominal muscles. No amount of exercise can repair diastasis recti; surgical intervention is required.
Diastasis recti cannot always be avoided; however, Dr. Lisa recommends that women exercise their abdominal muscles before they get pregnant and minimize weight gain during pregnancy.
• More on tummy tucks and cosmetic surgery.