Sharing my experiences is a crucial aspect of my role as a skin therapist.
I am passionate about discussing the various encounters I have had, whether it be in the clinic while conducting therapies for my patients or on my own skin. However, in 2023, my life took a beautiful turn as I became a mother. This new chapter has not only enriched my personal life but also enhanced my professional expertise. Now, I can share insights on skin therapy for pregnant women from two unique perspectives – that of a practicing cosmetologist and that of a mother.
When it comes to determining which treatments are suitable during pregnancy, the journey begins with understanding the condition of the body and the skin.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy lead to alterations in both the epidermis and dermis. Let’s explore some of these changes:
Firstly, there is a significant increase in estrogen levels. Estrogen receptors can be found abundantly in the dermis, specifically on fibroblasts. This increase in estrogen stimulates the production of essential components like collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. Consequently, the skin becomes more supple, hydrated, and radiant. It is no wonder that many pregnant women boast a healthy and glowing complexion.
Secondly, progesterone levels also rise during pregnancy. This hormone plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy pregnancy, but it does have an impact on the skin as well. While the exact effects may vary from person to person, some women may experience changes such as increased oil production and the subsequent development of acne. This is due to progesterone’s influence on sebocytes, which leads to intensified sebum production and, indirectly, the growth of anaerobic bacteria.
Furthermore, there is a substantial increase in prolactin levels during pregnancy, reaching up to ten times the usual amount. Prolactin binds to receptors on sebocytes, further enhancing sebum production. For certain women, this hormonal shift can result in inflammatory conditions and the onset of acne or Rosacea.
Lastly, the increase in melanotropin (MSH), a pituitary hormone, also plays a role in pregnancy. MSH triggers the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin coloration. If a pregnant woman exposes herself to the sun without adequate protection, such as SPF 50 sunscreen, the risk of developing pigmentation rises.
In conclusion, understanding the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy is essential when determining appropriate treatments.
By recognizing the shifts in estrogen, progesterone, prolactin, and melanotropin levels, we can tailor our skin therapy approaches to meet the unique needs of pregnant women. As a cosmetologist and a mother, I am privileged to offer insights and guidance in this area, ensuring the well-being and confidence of expectant mothers.
Taking into consideration the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and the importance of providing nutrients to the developing baby, the skincare goals for pregnant women are as follows:
1. Nourishing and hydrating the epidermis: Skincare products and treatments should contain ingredients that nourish and moisturise the outer layer of the skin. It is important to note that nourishing the deeper layer of the skin, known as the dermis, is not necessary during pregnancy as the required nutrients can be obtained through a balanced diet.
2. Preventing pigmentation changes: One of the key focuses in a Beauty Plan for pregnant women should be preventing the development of permanent pigmentation changes. These changes can significantly alter the appearance of the skin, and the risk of their occurrence is higher during pregnancy.
3. Regulating sebum production: Due to hormonal changes, pregnant women may experience an increase in oiliness on their skin, which can lead to inflammation. To address this concern, skincare products with sebostatic properties should be introduced.
Which treatments are considered safe for pregnant women?
Safe treatments for pregnant women involve the use of ingredients that primarily target the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin. Safe treatments include macro-molecular chemical peels and “white cosmetics.” Macro-molecular chemical peels include azelaic and almond peels, which have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, a brightening peel using lemon peel and a moisturizing peel with lactic acid can be used. “White cosmetics” refer to products rich in micro-elements such as algae and clays, as well as moisture supplements like ceramides and essential fatty acids. Antioxidants in the form of vitamins (vitamin C, E) and plant extracts (resveratrol) are also beneficial in these products.
Which procedures should be avoided during pregnancy and why?
When it comes to cosmetic procedures during pregnancy, the top priority should always be the safety of both the mother and the developing child. Therefore, it is crucial to steer clear of any procedures that involve the use of devices like ultrasound, lasers, and RF. These methods can potentially have negative effects on the fetus, making them contraindicated for pregnant women.
Additionally, it is advisable to refrain from injectable procedures such as needle mesotherapy and micro-needle Dermapen, Botox or fillers. These treatments have the potential to cause inflammation, which can trigger an improper response from the immune system. As a result, it is best to avoid them during pregnancy to ensure the well-being of both the mother and the baby.
Furthermore, there are certain components commonly found in cosmetic therapies that can pose a risk to pregnant women. Low molecular weight chemical peels, resorcinol, and vitamin A derivatives, including the widely used retinol, fall into this category. Vitamin A derivatives, in particular, have been classified as teratogens, which means they can be harmful to the developing fetus. Studies have demonstrated that excessive intake of vitamin A can lead to congenital defects.
To prioritise the safety and health of both the expectant mother and the unborn child, it is essential to avoid these procedures and components during pregnancy. By doing so, we can ensure a smooth and worry-free journey for both mother and baby.
When selecting cosmetic treatments and skincare products for expectant mothers, it is crucial to consider the hormonal shifts that occur during pregnancy. These changes involve a rise in estrogen, progesterone, prolactin, melanotropin, and subsequently, the specific requirements of the skin. These requirements encompass adequate moisturization and nourishment of the epidermis, along with safeguarding against the emergence of any pigmentation issues. It is important to note that active ingredients cannot penetrate the dermis, which houses the blood vessels connecting the skin to the placenta. Hence, ensuring safety becomes the fundamental aspect to priorities when devising a Beauty Plan tailored for pregnant women.