Pregnancy is a beautiful time in a woman’s life. As her body gets ready to nurture and welcome the new life in the world, the skin, hair, and even the mood changes rapidly. Some women hardly notice any change in their skin or hair throughout the pregnancy but for most women dark circles, pigmentation, chapped lips, dull skin, brown patches on the skin, stretch marks, acne, spider veins, varicose veins, cracked heels, changes in nail and hair growth are very common problems. In some cases, women also experience itchy skin and small red bumps on the skin around the abdomen and thighs.
Every woman’s body reacts differently to the change in hormones that occur during and post-pregnancy. Some exercise faster growth in nails and in some the nails grow brittle and break while on the other hand, some women notice thicker hair growth around their abdomen, thighs, hands, and legs. Most of these problems are temporary and they go away after a few months of delivery, but while they are there they can be uncomfortable and cause irritation and stress, which is not good for the baby.
Before pregnancy booking, a high-end dermatology treatment would have been the perfect solution for getting rid of the problems, however during pregnancy using chemicals on the skin and hair and even ingesting them is not advised. The best way is to go to a good dermatologist and follow the skin and hair care advice they give and embrace the natural remedies.
Before we talk about some common treatments and home remedies for skin and hair, the first thing to be on the top of your schedule should be to eat and drink right. Include lots of green vegetables, fruits, healthy grains, nuts in your diet. Drink at least eight glasses of water and cut down on caffeine such as tea, coffee, soft drinks, and alcohol. The diet requirements of your body will change as the pregnancy progresses and therefore work closely with your obstetrician and understand what to eat and what to avoid. Weight gain is normal during pregnancy but it should be a gradual gain.
Skincare during pregnancy
Being vigilant about skincare during pregnancy will help you get rid of the dark spots, spider veins, stretch marks, and acne and acne marks more quickly post-pregnancy. Here is what you can do
- Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat every time you are outside. This will help prevent dark spots and protect the skin from harmful UV rays.
- Do not use products that contain salicylic acid/or retinol, Isotretinoin, and Oral tetracycline as they can cause birth defects in the baby.
- Switch to non-comedogenic and fragrance-free products in makeup and skincare.
- Remove your makeup every night before going to bed.
- Keep the skin around the abdomen and thighs and hips moisturized to avoid getting stretch marks.
- Wash your face with lukewarm water twice a day.
- Do not over scrub, instead use gently exfoliator or soft washcloth.
- Do not scratch, squeeze, or pull on any growth on the skin.
- You can use OTC products that contain Topical benzoyl peroxide, Azelaic acid, and Glycolic acid to treat acne but consult with your dermatologist first.
- Relax and don’t take the stress.
- Change your pillowcases and towels frequently
Here are some home remedies that you can use for common skin problems
- Use a cut potato to rub on your skin to avoid and treat pigmentation. You can mix grated potato with lemon juice and apply it as a face pack. You can use cucumber juice or lemon juice too.
- Apply some fresh aloe vera juice on the face, armpits, and private parts to treat the dark patches.
- Make a healing face mask by mixing papaya leaf powder, turmeric powder, aloe vera pulp, Multani mitti, and milk. Apply on your face and let it dry. Wash with water. This face back will increase the blood circulation and restore the glow to your face.
- Grind some almonds along with a few strands of saffron. Mix with milk and apply the paste on the pigmented areas. Let it dry and wash off completely. This mask will lighten the skin and even out the tone.
- Use sandalwood oil on the areas affected with stretch marks.
- Dip some lemon rind in turmeric powder and apply it on the itchy areas of the skin. Leave for a few minutes and wash off for instant relief.
- Make a massage oil by mixing 50 mL of sesame oil, 20 drops of lavender oil, 5 drops of neroli oil, and 10 mL of wheat germ oil. Use this on the stretch marks before going to bed.
- Regularly use ghee or Vaseline on your lips to prevent them from chapping.
- Rose powder and milk cream or coconut oil can be used to prevent cracked heels.
- Take 10ml of sandalwood oil and add 5 ml of rose to it. Mix well and add 20ml of wheat germ oil and 100 ml of sesame oil. Use this massage oil over the body and also only the nipple to prevent them from cracking and retracting.
- Mix some turmeric with homemade butter and apply it around your eyes.
- Use honey as an antiseptic to treat acne and bumps on the skin.
- Yogurt is a great natural detoxifier for the skin. Rub a thin layer on your skin and leave it on for two to three minutes. A yogurt rub will help remove dead skin cells, tighten the pores, and reduce the fine lines.
Haircare during pregnancy
The extra hormones that come into the play in your body during pregnancy can disrupt the natural hair cycle and elongate the active phase giving the appearance of thicker hair. In some women, the hairs become curly during pregnancy, and in some the texture of hair changes entirely. This happens to become pregnancy hormones that alter the shape of the hair follicle. Therefore before you apply anything to your hair you need to remember that it can get in the bloodstream and affect the baby. Here is a list of dos and don’ts for hair care during pregnancy:
- Take a break from hair styling during pregnancy. This means giving up on dyeing, highlighting, and perming. Keratin hair straightening etc. Just let the hair be a natural way.
- Avoid using any chemicals on the scalp. Don’t use over the counter hair treatments such as Minoxidil during or post-pregnancy.
- Opt for tip highlights or natural dyes if it is a must for you to get a hair treatment done.
- Keep your regular hair care routines of shampoo and conditioning as before. However, if you are using any prescription shampoos then consult your doctor about their suitability.
- Don’t comb your hair when wet.
- Avoid using tight hairstyles.
- Wash your hair regularly especially if you have an oily scalp.
Some home remedies for hair care during pregnancy
- Mix 4-5 tablespoons of aloe vera gel with two tablespoons of castor oil and one 1tbs of glycerine applied from scalp to the tip, leave for one hour, and shampoo normally. This will add strength and shine to your hair.
- Soak some fenugreek seeds in water overnight. Grind them into a paste and apply on your hair. Wash off normally. This will help in hair growth and also soothe the scalp.
- Boil some curry leaves in coconut oil and let it cool. Use this mix to apply on hair 1-3 hours before shampooing.
- Mix sesame oil with 1-2 drops of your favorite essential oil and massage on the scalp before shampooing. Different essential oils have different properties, lavender is good for hair growth, rosemary for increasing the thickness, and cedarwood helps them hair fall.
Pregnancy is a time to relax, destress, and enjoy the little wonders of life. By keeping a regular and healthy routine, you will be making it easier for yourself to do the post-pregnancy time too.
Written by Dr. Rinky Kapoor, Cosmetic Dermatologist & Dermato-Surgeon, The Esthetic Clinics (Views Are Personal)