Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Quest for the Glow: What to do with crazy, bipolar pregnant skin

I think that everyone hopes that pregnancy will make them feel miraculous, vibrant, and of course will come with "the glow."  Even though we've heard many things to the contrary, we all hope we will be that one person that we know of who was absolutely gorgeous, glowing, healthy and seemed happy and perfect while pregnant.

Image from Cycle Beads . com

Before I even missed my period or knew I was pregnant, I knew something was way haywire with my skin and hair.  All of the sudden I felt like I was balding, I had horrible dandruff (even dandruff shampoo didn't fix it), my face was so dry and yet so broken out, my chest and back were way more broken out than they had ever been even in teenage years.  I was "glow"ing!  Ha ha!

It took a while, but I finally was able to adjust my skin care routine to compensate for the changes in my skin.  Also I believe my hormones may have calmed down a bit.  I still have dry skin with some flakes in my scalp, but I have been able to balance out my skin.  I no longer have dry sore skin and blemishes due to my skin trying to even itself out.

When I first got pregnant I was using Clearasil Cleanser and I was loving it.   It turned out to be too drying for my pregnant skin.  I tried using Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser, but it was almost too gentle and yet not moisturizing enough.  I don't know if that really even makes sense, but my skin was not getting clean and also was still too dry.

I then decided to try my body wash bar soap, it's Olay Ultra Moisture with Shea Butter.  I was getting desperate and had heard in the past that some people really liked using Dove Beauty Bars to wash their face with.  I knew this would help with moisture and would hopefully also get my face clean.  It worked!  I'm still using this today, morning and night to wash my face.

Moisturizer:  I also began searching for a better moisturizer for my poor skin.  I had been using L'oreal Active Daily Moisture, which worked fine on my pre-pregnant skin, but now I needed something more heavy duty.  I started using a travel size Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion with Dimethicone Skin Protectant.  Side note:  in the health care field we use DSP lotions or barrier creams when someone has skin that is damaged and needs a protective barrier to heal.  This was a much stronger moisturizer, but it didn't play nice with make-up.  I had to start using it just at night.  I still use it every night.

Somewhere in all of this, I read a post by Miss MaskCara about how to apply make-up to cover blemishes.  She concluded that it was much easier to camouflage and cover blemishes with darker skin tones.  I have very fair skin and agreed that yes red blemishes do stick out much worse on a white canvas than they would on a more golden or beige canvas.  I started using Jergens natural GLOW FACE with sunscreen for fair to medium skin tones.  I actually feel like the formula of this lotion also helped with my skin's overall condition.  I feel it helped even out my tone by slightly moisturizing, helping with flaky skin, and by not overdoing it, helping with the breakouts.  I started using this once a day in the morning with the Aveeno moisturizer at night.

All of these changes were made slowly.  This process took me about a month or so to perfect.  Remember you are working with your skin not against it.  Also it takes your skin up to 6 weeks to adjust to changes in your skin care routine.  I decided to treat the dry skin first as I believed the acne was my skin's reaction and compensation for the dryness.  So instead of freaking out about the breakouts and trying to get rid of them, I tried to take better care of my skin so it could heal and balance itself.  In my personal experience with acne, this approach always works better than trying to kill, zap or clear the breakouts.

So remember, not too many changes at once.  Try to figure out the root of the problem and what your skin is lacking and address that.  Try something for at least about a week and then move onto something else if needed.  (unless of course it is obvious that whatever you are trying is harming your skin).

Me with much happier skin :)