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Pregnancy skin changes

Those pregnancy hormones have a lot to answer for! Make-up and skincare expert Abby Ireland sheds light on how to handle your changing skin type

You thought you’d left them behind in year nine after a bout of teenage acne, but – surprise! – now you’re pregnant, your raging hormones are back with a bang. It might be that your usually dry skin has become oily, or you’re suddenly sensitive to a moisturiser you’ve been using for years. But it’s really no surprise if your skin feels out of whack when hormone and lifestyle changes play a huge part in how it looks on the outside.

Coping with these changes during pregnancy and postnatal doesn’t have to be a never-ending battle. It just means updating up your current skincare regime to suit your new type. Luckily, make-up artist and beauty expert Abby Ireland has some handy advice for every skin type, including how to tackle those unexpected whiteheads.

Help my skin is now… sensitive!

Why? The increase in your blood circulation during pregnancy means your skin might be more sensitive and prone to redness

“Bringing your skincare back to basics is the best way to combat sensitive areas – both in the amount of products you use and the ingredients in them. However, if you usually take your make-up off with wipes, now’s the time to step it up to a gentle cream cleanser, which are far less stripping. Wipes may seem convenient when you’re busy or have a newborn on your hands, but a cream cleanser doesn’t have to be more time-consuming. Simply apply then wipe away with a soft flannel or muslin cloth.

“You can also use a face cloth and warm water to very gently exfoliate without further irritation – you can do this in the shower. As a final step, choose a hydrating moisturiser to help ease discomfort.”

Help my skin is now… dry!

Why? Hormonal changes and moisture loss as you transfer fluids to your baby can leave skin feeling dry and flaky

 “Consistency is key when it comes to helping those dry and dehydrated areas. It may take 3-4 weeks, but you’ll notice a difference if you stick to a good routine. Micellar water is a quick and easy way to cleanse on a daily basis, then add a face scrub 2-3 times a week in the shower as part of your morning cleanse.

“Moisturising is essential when you have dry skin. If you often forget to moisturise, a good trick is to keep your moisturiser by your toothbrush in the bathroom. You’ll see it twice a day as a reminder. Use a 10p-sized blob and massage into your skin carefully, starting with the cheeks first, then your T-zone, then down your neck. If you find this absorbs easily, repeat with a second layer.”

Help my skin is now… oily!

Why? Hormones or stress can cause your glands to produce more oil

“Help oiliness by introducing a double cleanse at night. It’s a great way to get skin squeaky clean. The first cleanse removes any oil and make-up and the second gives a thorough clean. Try a micellar water and cotton pad for the first step and a cleansing milk or lotion for the second step.

“After cleansing, the next step is toning. Think of a toner as the start of your moisturising step rather than as part of the cleansing, as a good toner will actually help moisturise. Just because you have oily skin, it doesn’t mean you need to scrimp on moisturiser. Instead, choose one with a lightweight formula and thoroughly massage in. If you suffer from an oily T-zone, take a tissue afterwards and blot it on your forehead and down your nose. Lastly try a deep cleansing mask once or twice a week to help purify your skin.”

Help, my skin is now… spotty!

Why? Thanks to hormones, the extra sebum your skin is producing can block pores and this causes blemishes

“Spotty skin needs similar care to oily skin. Try to double cleanse at night, and don’t avoid moisturiser. Instead, apply moisturiser all over and then use a cotton bud to the area where you want to remove the cream and add a targeted spot treatment.

“And what do you do when it come squeezing those whiteheads? Using a hot cloth or flannel can help remove any surface whiteheads when you wash your face. If it hasn’t and the spot is ready to pop, take a clean tissue and gently squeeze the edges. If it’s not ready, leave it well alone. It will go in its own time and you won’t damage your skin.”

Help, my skin is showing signs of ageing!

Why? Under eye circle may appear darker during pregnancy – not to mention the nights of broken sleep after your little one arrives. Dehydration can also lead to fine lines.

“A good regime is key, and can make a huge difference. Avoid foaming cleansers and gels and instead use gentler creams and oils for cleansing. The eye area can be one of the first places to show signs of ageing, so add an eye cream to your routine. Apply this before your moisturiser by patting it in gently with your ring finger.

“Look for face creams with skin-friendly ingredients like vitamins, which help nourish ageing skin. Lastly, never underestimate the difference an SPF can make. You’ll probably be thinking about a high SPF for your baby when they arrive, but you should use a separate SPF on top of your morning skincare too. Even on cloudy days, UV rays can still get through, so you should wear an SPF all year to protect your skin.”

Note: It’s recommended you avoid products containing retinol during pregnancy, a common ingredient in anti-ageing products. Always read the label whether you’re buying new skincare or checking your existing products. Read more about suncare in pregnancy.

Like this? Find out more about natural skincare ingredients for pregnancy and new mums.