Saturday, August 1, 2009

Skincare Safety for the Pregnant Ones

Swollen ankles, blistering back pain, restless nights, and bad skin. If it weren't for the over ecstatic joy in my heart, I would've have never gone out in public. The best attribute to my physiology was that glow. No, it's not a myth. Pregnant women actually glow. Okay...HAPPY pregnant women glow. Glowing made it easier to look in the mirror despite the acne and bruised bags under my eyes. I wish I knew about skincare what I know now. I knew what I needed to avoid (salicylic acid, retinol, most herbs), but I didn't know what I could use instead.

The following information is simply suggestive and based on personal experience. While these ingredients are usually topically safe, I am not a doctor so please consult yours for more specific details and recommendations.

What to stay away from and why:

Salicylic Acid -
What it does: In skin care products, this ingredient is added because it is strong enough to penetrate the skin's natural oils and clean out pores, exfoliate dead skin cells more proficiently than an abrasive, and reduce redness and inflammation.
Why to stay away from it: Being a form of aspirin, high doses can cause birth defects and complications. Most doctors will give the okay to use as a topical treatment as in face toners and cleansers. However, most first time mommies to be will take the extra precaution to avoid this ingredient.
What to look for on the label: Sometimes salicylic acid will be identified as beta hydroxy acid (BHA) on the list of ingredients
Substitutes: Tea tree oil, witch hazel, patchouli (Pogostemon cablin), and benzoyl peroxide are great for oily and acne prone skin. Use a manual exfoliant (facial scrubs, buffing bars) 3-5 times a week to keep skin uncongested.

What it does: A common ingredient in anti-aging skincare products, retinoids speed up cell renewal and prevent the destruction of collagen. In other words, super rapid exfoliation guarantees that your newest brightest skin is always at the surface, and protected collagen slows down the inevitable forming of wrinkles.
Why to stay away from it: In large doses, this form of vitamin A can cause birth defects and complications. Some doctors will give the okay to use retinol in over the counter products that contain retinol.
What to look for on the label: retinal, retinoid, retinyl, retin-A, Retinoic acid, retinyl ester, adapelene, tretinoin, Tazarotene, Retinyl palmitate, and Retinyl linoleate
Substitutes: Stay out of the sun as much as possible. Use an spf of at least 15 to keep your skin protected from sun damage. Use a manual exfoliant 3-5 times a week. Great anti aging ingredients include; beta carotene, vitamin a, zinc, vitamin e, neroli oil, green tea, rose hip, and patchouli (Pogostemon cablin).

Aloe Vera-
What it does: Medicinal Aloe is used to soothe cuts and burns. Aloe Vera extracts have antibacterial and anti fungal qualities to help speed up the healing process. In skin care, aloe vera is used to moisturize as well as kill acne causing bacteria.
Why to stay away from it: This strong purgative can cause serious birth defects including (although not proven) abortion. Topicals are fairly safe in moderation, but DEFINITELY ABSTAIN FROM ALOE VERA JUICE.
What to look for on the label: aloe barbadensis, curacao aloe and lily of the desert
Substitutes: rubbing alcohol, witch hazel, peroxide, tea tree oil, honey, grapefruit seed extract pineapple and eucalyptus

What it does: With vitamin E as a natural component, soy protects skin from free radicals, boosts collagen production and is an anti inflammatory. Skin appears brighter, more even toned and more radiant.
Why to stay away from it: Soy will not cause birth defects or complications, but it does make cases of melasma worse. Melasma, also known as the "Mask of pregnancy," is identified by dark discoloration of the skin. It usually goes untreated until post delivery due to the use of retinoids.
What to look for on the label: Lethicin, Phosphatidylcholine, soya, soya bean, glycine
Substitutes: If you have melasma, just avoid soy all together. Other that that, it's ok to use. Rice and milk are other great ingredients that help with radience and exfoliation.

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