Eleanor Pendleton’s Pregnancy Skin Care Routine

Ahhh, hormones. They’re a wonderful thing, aren’t they?

As women, our bodies are truly incredible beings. End of. We grow, we birth and we feed our babies – all using our bodies. During pregnancy, however, there are many changes we women may experience and our skin – our body’s largest living organ – is often on the receiving end. Here, Gritty Pretty’s editor-in-chief shares her personal pregnancy skin care routine.

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While the road to starting a family hasn’t been easy, I’m the first to admit I’ve been lucky with my skin during my pregnancy. And when, I say I’m one of the lucky ones, I say it because it’s true.

“It has been shown that 90 per cent of pregnant women will notice some sort of change in their skin: physiological changes, the common or expected skin changes in pregnancy; exacerbation or remission of pre-existing skin conditions, such as acne, eczema or psoriasis; and pregnancy dermatoses, specific inflammatory skin diseases that may occur in pregnancy,” explains medical and cosmetic dermatologist Dr Cara McDonald (she’s also mum to Felix, Claudia and Harrison).

So yes, I am fortunate to have good pregnant skin (salamat po, mum!) as it seems pregnancy has almost leveled out my monthly hormonal breakouts; experiencing less breakouts while pregnant as opposed to the monthly period pimples I would experience prior. Once the first trimester of morning all day sickness and nausea stopped at 14 weeks, I began to notice a visible increase in circulation during my second trimester. It was at this point that I began to notice that rosy flush or “pregnancy glow” as some refer to it, which is in fact caused by the 50% more blood pumping through a pregnant woman’s body.


While I’ve managed to avoid pregnancy acne, the noticeable change I have experienced is pigmentation. Being of Filipino-Australia decent, my skin has always been genetically prone to pigmentation but being pregnant has sent my sun spots into, well, overdrive. My skin has become incredibly reactive to UVA damage so I take extra precautions by wearing an SPF 50 daily and always wearing a hat and staying in the shade when I go to the beach. Throughout my pregnancy thus far, Ultra Violette Supreme Screen SPF 50+ has been my best friend (try Ultra Violette Clean Screen SPF30 Mattifying Mineral Sunscreen if you prefer a physical alternative); both formulas do not contain Oxybenzone, an ingredient which has been touted – not proven – to be a hormone disruptor). I have also started using Pigment Inhibitors such as Skin by Sarah Hudson P Pigment Complex Skin Brightening Serum to help lessen the dark spots that keep on darkening over Australian summer.

My current pregnancy skin care routine is this (in sequential order):


Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Cleansing Water
Sodashi Clay Cleanser with Lime
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence
Biologi Radiance Morning Serum
La Prairie Skin Caviar Eye Lift Serum
Estée Lauder Eye Cream Supercharged Eye Complex
La Mer Crème de la Mer
Ultra Violette Supreme Screen SPF 50+


Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Cleansing Water
Tata Harper Nourishing Cleansing Oil
Sodashi Clay Cleanser with Lavender or KORA Organics Tumeric Brightening & Exfoliating Mask
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum
La Prairie Skin Caviar Eye Lift Serum
Estée Lauder Eye Cream Supercharged Eye Complex
KORA Organics Noni Glow Face Oil, Go-To Skincare Face Hero or CHANEL Huile de Jasmin (when I’m feeling extra fancy)

In reality, I haven’t changed too much from my previous skin care routine. Three weeks ago, I swapped out my morning face serum for plant-based Biologi Radiance Morning Serum, which I’ve been really enjoying and but within that short time it hasn’t lessened the amount of pigmentation my skin has already developed nor do I really think it will help it budge either as we move into a hot Australian summer. But, it feels excellent on my complexion and I do think it has gives great hydration. At night, I have continued using my faithful Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum (because, well, hyaluronic acid!).

Other common skin changes include increased pigmentation on the face (melasma – yep, got it!) and abdomen (linea nigra – got that too!). The good news is: both will eventually fade after baby is born.


Oh, retinol – my dearly beloved. Oh, how I miss you Alpha-H Beauty Sleep Power Peel and HydroPeptide Nimni Cream.

During pregnancy, women should avoid using any prescription Vitamin A creams or products that target melasma, as Dr McDonald explains studies have shown they can negatively affect unborn children. Besides, as Dr McDonald sensibly notes, now is NOT the time to worry too much about anti-ageing. This is a special time, after all.

I’m genuinely happy to wear my new cluster of freckles (for now). Once I’m no longer breastfeeding, I plan on booking myself in for Dermamelan Depigmentation Peels at Melanie Grant Sydney to treat the hyperpigmentation/melasma my skin has developed during my pregnancy. However, I will be avoiding laser treatments such as IPL and microdermabrasion as some beauty experts (including Grant) believe heat itself can cause delayed hyperpigmentation post-treatment.



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