First, let me just say, pregnancy isn’t easy, and it’s different for every single woman. Some of my friends loved being pregnant; some didn’t. I’m writing this seven months into the journey, and as of now, I’d consider myself in the latter group. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very grateful for the fact that I’m creating a tiny human (I can’t wait to meet her!), but I have not had an extra pep in my step, and despite how many people tell me “You’re glowing,” I don’t see it.
That said, I’ve been very diligent with my skin-care routine. Here are five products I’ve been loving in my prenatal rotation.
I’m prone to melasma, and I know it can wreak havoc during pregnancy due to surges in hormones, so I have been trying to ward it off as best I can. A big part of the battle is avoiding the sun, which I’m pretty good at, but the other piece of the puzzle is using vitamin C and other brightening ingredients.
This creamy serum contains the brand’s proprietary vitamin C ester, plus two additional forms of vitamin C, giving it the power-packed potency my skin needs. Additionally, when you mix vitamin C with vitamin E and ferulic acid, you get even more antioxidant protection and skin-perfecting benefits, which has been proven in studies. I also love the warm, citrusy scent that has a bit of an addictive quality to it and hasn’t bothered me at all. The price tag is a little high, but the tiny bottle has lasted me months, and I probably apply more than I need (I also do my neck).
Beginning in my first trimester, I noticed my skin was reacting to certain products I was testing in a way it wouldn’t have pre-pregnancy. This was especially true for acids—pregnancy-approved ones like glycolic, lactic, citric—and products with multiple acids. It took some trial and error to find formulas that worked for my skin.
At the same time, I was looking for a gentle moisturizer, as not to disrupt my skin anymore, and I learned about this new one from Tata Harper, a brand I already adored. It’s made for sensitized skin, and the texture is light, creamy and luxurious. Though it’s fragrance-free, it does have a botanical scent from the natural ingredients, but I love the way it smells and it didn’t bother my sensitive pregnant nose whatsoever. It also layered well over my vitamin C serum.
During pregnancy, it’s advised not to use chemical sunscreens (those with active ingredients like avobenzone, etc), and instead, go for those with physical/mineral sunblocks like zinc and titanium dioxide. Admittedly, I did use chemical sunscreen a few times throughout the last seven months, but this mineral SPF 30 has been my daily go-to.
As is the case with most zinc sunscreens, it takes a few extra rubs to blend it in completely, but it gives my skin the prettiest sheen and the white cast fully disappears. I also very much appreciate the addition of hydrating squalane, which makes me feel like I’m getting more out of this necessary step in my routine. It also comes in a new jumbo size, which will last you forever (well, until it expires!).
Pixi Glow Peel Pads ($22)
As I mentioned before, topical acids can be tricky during pregnancy. But, I quickly learned that I needed them in my routine in some capacity to exfoliate away dead skin and keep breakouts at bay. (Having to wear a mask does not help with hormonal breakouts along the jawline, but luckily mine haven’t been so bad.) What I found after some experimenting is that peel pads worked well for me—better than leave-on masks, which often made me really red.
Though salicylic acid is typically a no-go for pregnant women, the American Academy of Dermatology says it can be used infrequently in concentrations lower than 2 percent. I love salicylic acid for managing breakouts, so I chose a cult-classic peel pad with a low dose, and I only use them when I need them. One little pad makes a big difference!
Nighttime skin repair does not change when you’re pregnant. If anything, I’d say it’s more important because your body is in overdrive in many ways (you’re creating a human!).
This serum-oil contains a trifecta of healthy-skin ingredients, including vitamin C (I’ll take as much as I can get), bakuchiol (a plant-based retinol alternative that helps with line-smoothing, etc. at a time when you can’t use retinol), and melatonin, which also possesses antioxidant properties to fight free radicals. It’s a win-win-win for bedtime beauty.
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