Recently published in Spa and Clinic magazine
How far along in your pregnancy are you?
22 weeks at the time of writing this. I am due on the 17th of April 2020 (my birthday!)
How has your skin changed throughout? Positive and negative effects so far?
I have noticed quite significant changes to my skin during my pregnancy journey.
I didn’t notice much in the first trimester aside from my skin feeling dull and lackluster due to my morning sickness. I did get a few comments that I looked “grey” which I assumed was not a good thing.
I am lucky to have very healthy, clear skin normally. I invest in regular treatments and I am strict with my home care routine so this held me in good stead for pregnancy. The majority of skin changes has been driven by hormones and I am noticing an increase in hormonal congestion and breakouts along my chin and jawline.
Knowing this is due to my increased levels of oestrogen and progesterone and also some dietary changes (I normally do not eat much dairy and now I am drinking milk in my coffee and tea as well as yogurt daily, as well as more sugar due to cravings), reassure me a little and I am just going with it.
I am lucky to not have experienced any hormonal pigmentation or melasma. We are coming into summer and I have not had my regular BBL and laser treatments so my natural freckles are becoming more noticeable and a few old sunspots have reappeared.
As I settle into the second trimester I have noticed a nice plumping of my skin and my skin is now getting those “pregnancy glow” comments from friends, family and patients. I am retaining more moisture and my skin is pinker thanks to the increased blood flow through my body.
Overall despite a few negative setbacks with my breakouts, pregnancy skin is certainly a positive experience and with my ongoing commitment to my skin care I think I can maintain that “glow”. The hardest part has been stopping some of my favourite treatments and products.
How much has your skincare routine changed?
My skin care routine often changes however the most noticeable change has been my break up with my vitamin A. I was using PCA Intensive Brightening Treatment with 0.05% retinol which was really helping lighten my pigment and sun damage, and I was loving the results. Stopping this has contributed to some of my breakouts as well as pigment coming back.
Otherwise, I am continuing as normal. I am a little more vigilant on what I am using and why. Before pregnancy my skin was in good condition and now I am actively managing a few things such as the congestion and pigment.
I have started using more AHA’s to exfoliate when I am congested (Lactic acid is my preferred as I cannot use Salicylic acid) as well as implementing non-hydroquinone tyrosinase inhibitors to prevent further pigmentation over summer.
My current product of choice is Ultra MD Ultimate Brightening Serum as well as a 6% Niacinamide and PCA C and E Advanced for my vitamin C and antioxidant boost. I would not normally be using all of these products regularly but now they form a part of my daily routine.
What are your favourite products and treatments to use on yourself now? Anything you’re steering clear of now?
There are certain products that must be avoided in pregnancy such as any form of Retinol due to the risk of malformations in the foetus which has been demonstrated with oral Isoretinoin. Although the risk is small, these topical formulations have not been studied in pregnant women so we cannot guarantee safety. So best to avoid.
The other product that must be avoided is Salicylic acid in high concentrations.
My favourite products I am using currently are my Vitamin C which is packed with antioxidants, assists with my pigmentation and helps to deliver a firming effect. My favourite product is PCA Skin C and E Advanced. I am also using a lot of Hyaluronic Acid and Niacinamide to maintain my skin’s barrier and hydration levels. My favourite products for this are PCA Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum and PCA Vitamin B3 Brightening serum.
Another little secret product I love is PCA Ex-Linea Smoothing Serum which is packed with peptides working to soften fine lines and wrinkles. It is my replacement for my anti-wrinkle injections while I am pregnant and breastfeeding.
I have been having regular treatments in my clinic, Youth Lab. Primarily to help manage the increased congestion and breakouts I was having, but to also maintain my skin and continue with my positive ageing regime.
I cannot have any laser, light or radiofrequency based treatments such as BBL or our Halo laser as these are not recommended in pregnancy and I am also avoiding all injectables such as anti-wrinkle injections and dermal fillers. Unfortunately there have been no clinical studies due to ethical considerations into the safety of injectables treatments during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. A physician will not treat a pregnant woman so I will certainly not treat myself.
I thought I would miss my dermal fillers a lot more but with my weight gain and increased blood flow I have noticed a nice facial fullness and feel I look better and more youthful than before I was pregnant as I was quite thin and this showed in my face!
My go to in-clinic treatments currently are most definitely clinical peels. We have such a wide variety so I am letting my therapists go mad on my skin. I love a nice mandelic acid peel and enzyme peels and in a few weeks will be trying the Cosmedix Deep Sea peel for a non-chemical resurfacing (which will target my pigmentation and skin texture).
Have your pregnancy & experiences with your own skin changed the way you communicate/consult/treat clients?
I can sometimes seem a bit unrelatable to my patients, often getting comments such as “but your skin is perfect”. I invest heavily in my skin care and treatments and have done since my early 20’s so it is no wonder I have good skin in my 30’s.
However, I am now facing a few little skin battles of my own and can see and feel how my patients do. I feel self conscious with the break outs and frustrated when results don’t work instantly, despite knowing better.
A woman’s body is incredible and even more so in pregnancy. The do’s and the don’ts while pregnant can be a little overwhelming, particularly when it comes to your skin care regime and what treatments to have.
My consultation and treatment planning for my patients has not changed but this journey has certainly given me a new perspective and I now feel I am more relatable to many of my patients.
As a Cosmetic Physician who specialises in injectables and laser, and gets regular treatments herself, not having these as an option currently means I am exploring other treatment modalities and pushing the boundaries on these to deliver better results.