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The LOOKFANTASTIC Pregnancy Report – How to look after your skin when you’re expecting

The LOOKFANTASTIC Pregnancy Report – How to look after your skin when you’re expecting
Team LF
Writer and expert1 year ago
View Team LF's profile

When you’re expecting, the world of pregnancy do’s and don'ts can be overwhelming. And during this time in your life, it’s important to stay stress free and confident with your pregnancy-safe choices.

That’s why the team here at LOOKFANTASTIC have conducted extensive research into the world of pregnancy and skincare, creating the ultimate Pregnancy Report to guide and advise expectant parents in the world of safe ingredients, trends, celebrity pregnancies and products. Not only that, but we advise how to combat each trimester's most common skincare concerns, and which TikTok pregnancy trends are worth knowing about!

 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Pregnancy Skin Ingredients

When it comes to pregnancy there are a lot of things you can’t eat, drink and use, so why would it be different for products we put on our skin? We have researched into the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy and skincare to reveal the ingredients you should avoid when you’re expecting.

While many of these ingredients and products are popular in regular beauty routines, Aruj Javid, group pharmacist has highlighted which ingredients to be wary of when pregnant and what products they can be found in.

“I recommend that women check the skincare products they have been using pre pregnancy, as there are a number of ingredients in everyday skincare products that are deemed unsafe for use during pregnancy. If you’re expecting and want to make sure your skincare is pregnancy safe, I have compiled a list of some ingredients to be wary of.”

  • Beta hydroxy acids such as; Salicylic acid and tropic acid can be harmful during pregnancy so best to stray away from these.
  • Hydroquinone is a lightening agent found in acne scar treatments.
  • Keep away from propyl, butyl, isopropyl, isobutyl and methyl parabens, as these can be harmful when you are expecting.
  • Retinols are great for revitalising skin but are considered dangerous to use during pregnancy so stay away from vitamin A, retinoic acid, retinyl palmitate, retinaldehyde, adapalene, tretinoin, tazarotene and isotretinoin.

In addition to these ingredients, in general Aruj recommends not using any products or ingredients you are unfamiliar with or have not used before, to reduce the risk of having an adverse reaction. And always consult with your doctor if you’re unsure!

Despite having to avoid some ingredients, there are still plenty of beauty products you can use safely while pregnant. We’ve researched pregnancy-friendly skincare ingredients that you know and love, meaning you can still keep up your skincare routine while waiting for your little one to arrive!

Here are the pregnancy safe skincare ingredients and tips Aruj recommends:

“If you still want to carry on with your skincare routine during pregnancy, there are plenty of products and ingredients that are perfectly safe to use, in particular; vitamin K, B3 and C.”

Revitalising ingredients

  • Vitamin K - Improves blood circulation, which in turn helps to reduce inflammation and calm redness
  • Vitamin B3 - Also known as niacinamide, is an antioxidant and is good for acne prone skin
  • Green tea - Anti-inflammatory ingredient, decreases redness and inflammation.
  • Vitamin C - Encourages the production of collagen and elastin, decreasing the look of pigmentation and/or acne scars.

Tips for Dry Skin and Stretch Marks

  • Drinking lots of water
  • Use hyaluronic acid
  • Take peptides
  • Use coconut oil for moisturising, this perineum oil contains coconut oil and is great for improving skin elasticity around the perineum ahead of labour
  • Use cocoa butter for moisturising

Sun Protection Products

Aruj Javid, group pharmacist says: “Mineral-based sunscreens that protect the skin by forcing the UV rays to bounce off of the skin’s surface are recommended during pregnancy to decrease the chance of pigmentation and skin conditions such as Melasma. In particular, sun cream, including; zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are perfectly safe while you are pregnant.”

The Must Have Pregnancy Products for 2022

If you’re expecting, but don’t know where to start with skincare, we’ve analysed internal data for all of our pregnancy related products online - so you know exactly which are most loved by expectant parents! These popular products are designed to ease you along your new journey of being a parent and will make transitioning back into your new life an easy, stress free process.

1. Mama Mio Pregnancy Gummies

Our internal data shows Mama Mio Pregnancy Gummies are the most popular pregnancy product! Rich in Folic Acid, these gummies are designed to support your body while you try for and carry a baby. The gummies contain vitamin C, vitamin D3, vitamin B12, vitamin E, biotin, zinc and vitamin K1, all the nutrients you need to keep your body healthy while you are pregnant!

2. Pregnancy Boob Tube

Another popular product from Mama Mio is their Pregnancy Boob Tube. Enriched with aloe vera and shea butter, this product helps to soothe soreness caused by an increase in hormones and ease tension in the breast area.

3. Pai Skincare’s The Gemini Stretch Mark System

Pai Skincare’s The Gemini Stretch Mark System is another popular product amongst those expecting.  This product acts like an elasticated waistband for pregnant skin, helping to restore comfort and hydration. Packed with the omega and vitamins a pregnant body needs, this oil and cream duo is also fragrance free to prevent irritation occurring on your delicate stomach.

4. Elvie breast pump

The Elvie breast pump is another popular pregnancy product for new parents. This breast pump is the first of its kind, it is silent and wearable meaning it fits perfectly into your modern life. The breast pump is wire free, tube free and lightweight allowing you to pump while going about your daily routine.

Trimester Based Skincare Concerns And How To Treat Them

Researching into the world of skincare and pregnancy, we found that each trimester often brings a different skin concern to be aware of. As part of the Pregnancy Report, we’ve discovered what skin concerns you can expect when you’re expecting while giving you our group pharmacist, Aruj’s expert opinion on how to prevent and treat them.

Trimester one

Melasma

A common skincare concern in the first trimester is Melasma. Melasma is when the skin develops brown or grey freckle-like spots and patches on the face. Often called ‘the mask of pregnancy’, Melasma is common in women expecting, particularly in the first trimester. Monthly searches for ‘Melasma’ are at 27,100 and searches for ‘Melasma’ are up by 100% in the past month. Aruj suggests using high SPF to prevent worsening of Melasma and using ingredients such as vitamin C to reduce dark areas of pigmentation caused by Melasma. If you have more sensitive skin or just prefer natural alternatives we recommend using black tea water. This should be dabbed on with a cotton ball and can lighten and soothe pigmentation caused by Melasma.

Hormonal acne

One of the most common skincare concerns in the first trimester is hormonal acne. This is due to the increase in your hormone levels when you first become pregnant. This fluctuation of hormone levels increases the skin's production of natural oils, which in turn clogs the pores and causes breakouts. These breakouts tend to be located around the chin and cheek area of the face and can be sore to the touch. The average UK monthly searches for ‘Hormonal Acne’ are at 8,100, showing just how common this skin condition is.

Aruj suggests using products containing benzoyl peroxide to reduce inflammation, unclog pores and kill bacteria that causes acne. Other natural alternatives suggested by LOOKFANTASTIC experts are the use of witch hazel for hormonal acne. This ingredient is anti-inflammatory and is known to reduce the redness and minimise acne breakouts.

Tender swollen breasts

Tender and swollen breasts is another common symptom of pregnancy and can carry on throughout your first trimester. This is another symptom triggered by the fluctuation of your hormone levels when pregnant, you may have also experienced this when menstruating. The hormones oestrogen, progesterone and prolactin increase the blood flow to the breasts causing changes to the breast tissue, in preparation for breastfeeding.

Aruj suggests using a warm compress to help ease the tenderness and avoid wearing tight fitted clothing.

To help your body prepare for pregnancy, and for all your first trimester skincare needs, Mama Mio’s Trimester one bundle is sure to aid any side effects you’re experiencing early on in your pregnancy.

At the end of trimester one your baby should be around 5.4cm long and weigh about 18g which is about the size of a lime, which is also the size of a beauty blender!

Trimester two

Skin tags

Pregnant women can be prone to skin tags during their second trimester. This is due to hormone changes and although harmless some women express they can be painful. In the UK there are 60,500 monthly searches for skin tags, showing just how common this skin concern is! Skin tags are generally harmless and don’t need treating but if you are experiencing pain or discomfort you can safely have them removed.

Spider veins

Spider veins are a common temporary side effect of pregnancy and searches for the term are at 12,100 per month in the UK. Spider veins are swollen veins that are visible underneath the surface of the skin, although they are common during pregnancy, they typically shrink back down after giving birth.

Aruj suggests avoiding sitting or standing for long periods of time while pregnant, wear maternity support hosiery, elevate your legs periodically to help with circulation and avoid wearing heels where you can.

To help soothe your legs we recommend using the Mama Mio Trimester 2 bundle, this includes a Lucky Legs cooling gel infused with nourishing aloe vera to help ease symptoms of Spider Veins.

Sensitive and blotchy skin

During the second trimester skin can become sensitive and blotchy, this is due to increase in hormone levels and the stretching of your skin as the baby grows. With this said, if you have skin conditions like Eczema, these may be accentuated during pregnancy.

Aruj recommends using unscented products as fragrance can irritate the skin causing sensitivity. To soothe your irritated and blotchy skin we suggest using ingredients such as aloe vera, chamomile and shea butter to moisturise and protect your sensitive skin from worsening.

Oily skin

While the second trimester of pregnancy brings its own challenging skincare concerns, one positive change is your brand new glowing skin! We have all heard the concept of women’s skin ‘glowing’ during pregnancy and it is in fact true! During the second trimester an increase in hormones called androgens can cause the glands in your skin to grow and produce more sebum. This is referred to as ‘oil’ giving the look of dewy glowy skin. Embrace it and enjoy all the compliments while you can!

At the end of trimester two your baby should be around 36.6cm long and weigh about 875 grams! That’s about the size of a Cauliflower, which is also about the same size as a standard makeup bag!

Trimester three

Stretch marks

In the third trimester, you and your baby are both at your biggest, which in turn means you will likely have developed stretch marks. Stretch marks are completely normal and are proof of the incredible growth you and your body have undertaken to bring new life into the world. However, if you wish to minimise the appearance of these then Aruj suggests using products containing Internal 10 Centella, hyaluronic acid and oils such as coconut oil. These ingredients will nourish your skin, help prevent stretch marks and promote cell turnover.

The Mama Mio Trimester 3 bundle includes all you need for the final stage of your pregnancy, from a nourishing tummy butter to ease itching sensations and appearance of stretch marks.

Spider Nevus

Another common skincare concern in the third trimester is Spider Nevus. This is a collection of small dilated blood vessels that group at the top of the skin, which then appears as a small dark red/purple mark. It is often caused when your body is producing a lot of oestrogen, such as when you are pregnant. Once you give birth this skin condition will go away on its own over time, so no need to worry!

Varicose veins

Varicose veins are another common third trimester skincare concern. They are similar to spider veins that can often appear in your second trimester. The difference is varicose veins are raised, swollen blood vessels that twist and turn beneath the skin and Spider veins are much smaller blood vessels.

Aruj suggests to keep moving, avoid heavy lifting and wear compression stockings, to reduce the appearance of varicose veins.

At the end of trimester three your baby should be around 51cm long and weigh around 3.5kg! This is about the size of a Watermelon, which is about the same size as a hair waver.

Trimester four

Loose skin

Post birth bodies come in all different shapes and sizes. However, one common denominator can be loose skin. When your baby has been born you can often be left with excess skin from all the growing your body has had to do to accommodate the size of your baby! This may seem daunting to a new mother but your skin is made of elastin and collagen so will regain its natural form over time.

To help your body regain its shape Aruj suggests taking part in light exercise and drinking lots of water to keep your skin plump and hydrated! This will help support your body in its new stage of life and help your skin regain form.

Nail breakage

Due to your body experiencing a dramatic drop in hormones, your nails postpartum can feel brittle and weak. Pregnancy can often increase your nail growth so when your nails aren’t flourishing post partum, this can be super frustrating. Aruj suggests taking postpartum vitamins including biotin tablets and vitamin C, these ingredients are great for nail growth and encourage collagen production, in turn meaning stronger bones, connective tissue and yes, nails!

Hair loss and thinning

Falling Oestrogen levels can cause hair loss or thinning. This is often referred to as excessive hair shedding and isn’t seen as true hair loss, as once your hormone levels even out your hair should return back to normal. If you are looking for quick ways to reduce postpartum hair thinning Aruj suggests making sure you are being gentle when brushing, taking vitamins and eating a balanced diet and using hair volumizing shampoo to make your hair appear thicker in the meantime.

Skin texture changes

Fluctuation in hormones like oestrogen and progesterone mean your skin's texture may change. This means skin can feel dry and itchy after giving birth. Our experts recommend introducing hyaluronic acid and a deep moisturising treatment into your routine to keep your skin as soft and subtle as your new born baby’s!

Skin pigmentation

Another common postpartum skin concern can be pigmentation. This means you may start to see darker patches appearing on your face. We recommend using Vitamin C to tackle these dark patches and brighten up your complexion.

The Top 10 Most Influential Celebrity Pregnancies

In the last few years we have had some monumental pregnancies announced on social media, from the likes of Rihanna to Kylie Jenner, some of this decade's biggest celebs are starting the next generation of stars!

As part of the Pregnancy Report, we have discovered which celebrities' pregnancy influenced us the most by looking at what their following increase was during their pregnancy. We also researched what products they used during their 9 months to keep up that pregnancy glow, and how you can get the same effect at home!

Coming in as the most influential celebrity pregnancy we have Rihanna! This iconic celeb’s following increased by 8,255,621 during her pregnancy and we can only assume it is down to her impeccable pregnancy wardrobe and cool demeanour.

Following Rihanna as the most influential celebrity pregnancy we have Nicki Minaj in second place, racking up a huge 4,992,551 more followers while pregnant! Following shortly behind is Halsey in third place with an increase of 3,793,187 followers after announcing their pregnancy.

Ashley Graham comes in at fourth, with her following growing by 2,400,146 during her 9 months of pregnancy!

Ashley Graham is an inspiring plus size model that has been open and honest throughout her pregnancies, we think this is why her following grew by 2,400,146 during this time. The mother of three talked about her love for this budget friendly cream, Eucerin soothing skin balm during her most recent pregnancy. Ashley has said she found it perfectly hydrated her twin baby bump and prevented any itchy irritated skin that can be caused from the skin stretching during pregnancy.

Another recent pregnancy that inspired us was Little Mix star Perrie Edwards. She racked up a whopping 1,598,422 more followers during her pregnancy and we think this is down to her candid Instagram stories. On her social media Perrie expressed concern for her postpartum hair loss and asked any other recent mothers if they had experienced the same. This is a normal part of postpartum life and is often referred to as ‘excessive hair shedding’ due to falling Oestrogen levels. Although your hair will most likely thicken back up in no time LOOKFANTASTIC recommends using hair growth shampoos and serums to encourage your hair follicles to grow back at a faster rate.

Tammy Hembrow’s third pregnancy gained her a huge 1,683,133 more followers! This influencer has made a brand off being a fitness mummy and shows her following how to bounce back after having a baby, and it’s clearly working with her following increasing by over 1 and a half million just during the 9 months after announcing her third pregnancy!

Another Little Mix star, Leigh Anne Pinnock’s twin birth gained her a whopping 932,699 more followers! Not quite as many as band mate Perrie but still an impressive amount to say they kept their pregnancy secret for so many months!

Nabela received a huge 510,607 more followers during her pregnancy, that’s nearly a quarter of her whole Instagram following! With story highlights showing each trimester journey, we are sure Nabela’s following increase is from a surge of new mothers idolising Nabela’s candid, real and inspiring Instagram posts!

Emily Ratajkowski gained 448,813 more followers after she announced her pregnancy with Husband Sebastian Bear-McClard.

Stacey Solomon, mother of four, racked up a huge 314,084 more followers during her 9 months of her latest pregnancy. We can only imagine how many followers she has gained with all of her pregnancies combined!

 

Viral TikTok Pregnancy Trends

TikTok is the starting point of all brilliant beauty trends, so you won’t be surprised to hear that pregnancy skincare trends are also on the rise! Through research we have discovered the most popular pregnancy related beauty trends, what’s going viral and which ‘hacks’ actually work!

The hashtag #pregnancyskincareroutine has racked up a huge 38.5 million views with content creators showing us what products they think works the best for pregnant skin.

As mentioned, hormonal acne is a common side effect of pregnancy due to the drastic increase in hormones. So, it comes to no surprise that beauty influencers are sharing their tips and tricks on how to treat hormonal acne when pregnant. The hashtag #pregnancyacne has 6.5 million views, so it’s safe to say if you’re experiencing this pregnancy side effect, you’re not alone!

LOOKFANTASTIC recommends using the Australian Bodycare Spot Stick to tackle this. Developed for those with oily and blemish prone skin, this spot stick is perfect for pregnant women suffering with acne, it will tackle those breakouts using Tea Tree oil and reduce the visibility and redness of the acne.

Belly masks have become a huge trend on TikTok with views reaching 6.7 million! Belly masks are big sheet masks for your pregnant stomach, they provide deep moisture to prevent stretch marks and itching.

Itchy skin can be a common pregnancy symptom due to your skin growing and stretching when you are expecting. This has caused the hashtag #pregnancyitch to trend on TikTok and has so far raked in 29.9k views, with content creators showing viewers their go to products to ditch that itch!

We recommend Mama Mio Tummy Rub Butter to tackle your itchy skin, specifically made for pregnant women. This rich butter will not only stop the itching sensation caused by your growing tummy, but will also help prevent stretch marks.

 

Shop your Pregnancy Self Care Essentials at LOOKFANTASTIC

Pregnancy is a beautiful and life changing journey to embark on, but while you’re busy baby proofing your home, car, and everything in between, it’s important you take time to care for yourself, and your skin’s needs. To shop all of our mother and baby products from skincare items to breast pumps, browse the collection here.

Team LF
Writer and expert
View Team LF's profile
Our team of beauty experts cover everything from makeup to skincare, picking out the most effective products from the best brands and latest trends. Stay up to date on everything beauty with the LOOKFANTASTIC blog, and find all your essentials in one place.
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