THE SCIENCE BIT To state the blinding obvious, pregnancy creates substantial changes in the hormonal system, which impacts metabolism, the immune and vascular systems–all of which can affect skin. “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).
WHAT YOU'LL ACTUALLY SEE Common skin changes include increased pigmentation on the face (melasma) and abdomen (linea nigra), stretch marks, skin oiliness, acne, and broken capillaries. Other women may see the famed ‘pregnancy glow’, which could be the result of increased circulation, sweat and oil production, but just enough to boost skin hydration and luminosity, notes Dr McDonald.
BUY THIS / BIN THAT “It’s more important to look for low-irritant or low-allergy products, and to target problem skin with ingredients known to be 100 per cent safe during pregnancy,” advises Dr McDonald. “For me, sun protection is the number one skincare product 365 days of the year, and my other essentials during pregnancy and breastfeeding (and every other day) include anti-inflammatory vitamin B3 (niacinaminde), alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to increase cell turnover, decrease congestion, and improve hydration, and a basic moisturizer to protect the face and body.” (Dr McDonald’s picks: Rationale Immunologist and Catalyst serums, La Roche-Posay Toleraine Ultra moisturiser and CeraVe body cream).