|Baby bump at 32 weeks; photo by my talented BFF Mariya.|
I am stressing all this because I'm sure all women, especially of child-bearing age, have heard pregnancy horror stories left and right, be it from well-meaning family members or anxious friends. Personally, after hearing all these accounts and retellings, it almost seemed to me like it was impossible to feel well and enjoy being pregnant - like things were bound to go downhill at some point or another. I only knew of one friend whose pregnancy experience has been overwhelmingly positive - ONE! If you've been considering having a child (or children) some time in the future but are worried about how your body will handle growing another human; please don't be. There's no way to predict what your personal experience may be, and feeling stressed and anxious over it certainly won't make anything better. I don't think there's any guarantee one way or another - sure, it's good to keep in shape and practice healthy habits beforehand, but as to specific symptoms etc... We really can't know until we get there. I was in fact quite resigned to the fact that I may be feeling awful when pregnant, and I was also worried about being able to conceive due to some medical history I won't bore you with - but all of that stress and anxiety turned out to be completely unfounded and unnecessary. Pregnancy CAN be healthy, enjoyable and happy; let's all try to remember that.
When it comes to the actual products I've been reaching for, I have not bought a single anti-stretch mark cream or belly balm or any of those other lotions and potions geared specifically towards pregnant women. As far as I know, stretch marks are genetic anyway, and while moisturizing your body can go a long way towards minimizing them/ making them heal faster, there's no proven skincare ingredient to completely prevent them or have them disappear. So I didn't bother paying more just to have a product labelled for pregnancy, and instead have been using lotions I've already had in my stash, as well as my new favorite body oil, the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Usage Dry Oil* ($45 for 100ml/ 3.3 fl. oz spray bottle at us.nuxe.com and Ulta, smaller sizes also available - the Limited Edition bottle in the photo looks full because it's my second one; my husband also uses it as a beard oil). It smells heavenly of sweet tropical florals and absorbs quickly into the skin, sealing in moisture. I have also been using the Prodigieux Shower Oil* ($15 for 200ml/ 6.7 fl. oz, here and here) from the same range, which feels nourishing on the skin and gives excellent slip for shaving. It also makes my skin look very luminous thanks to all the luxurious golden shimmer :) I have tried using coconut oil as well but felt like it was a bit too heavy for me, whereas most regular body lotions are currently too thin/ lightweight. I think for me personally, body butters and oils are the way to go.
skincare routine here.
The only acne/ skin texture I have been somewhat struggling with during pregnancy has been on my chest - and, uhm, belly. I had had congested pores on my chest before getting pregnant as well, but I feel that for the first 4-5 months, it unfortunately got worse. I just tried not to pay too much attention to it, made sure I was washing that area thoroughly every night and extended all of my facial exfoliants all the way down my neck and chest, and after those 5 months, it has pretty much all cleared up - either thanks to my efforts or just a spontaneous shift in hormones. But now that I've been acne-free, I have noticed a different issue - lots of tiny little skin tags all over my mid-section. They're so little that they eventually dry out and get scrubbed off anyway, but they're just... a bit strange and slightly annoying, especially if I mindlessly scratch one by accident. I do hope they go away post-partum :)
In terms of hyperpigmentation or melasma, which are also common concerns in pregnancy, I have not noticed anything out of ordinary. I am quite fair and naturally prone to freckles and hyperpigmenation anyway, so I have been making sure to apply lots of high SPF sunscreen on my face and chest (Mentholatum Sunplay SPF 50+ Super Block PA++++, reviewed here) as well as other exposed areas of my body (Neutrogena Sensitive Skin SPF 60+) any time I go outside, and I try to limit my sun exposure as much as possible. So far, I don't think my existing dark spots have gotten any worse or that I have got a lot of new ones, although I am always somewhat more freckly in the summer - that's just hard to avoid completely with my coloring. Speaking of pigmentation, I do have quite a visible linea negra on my belly, but thankfully it's not super dark - just a tan color, pretty much exactly the shade of my freckles. I'm sure it will fade completely a few months after delivery.
In general, I have not been very particular about avoiding lots of specific ingredients in skincare (or even my food aside from the obvious ones like alcohol or raw meat). Sure, I've put away all of my retinol and salicylic acid products for the time being, but I haven't been scrutinizing INCI lists looking for ingredients some people deem toxic, or irritating to the skin. I pay a lot of attention to ingredients any time I shop for skincare anyway, so I feel like I've done my due diligence regardless of pregnancy. There's lots of fear mongering out there and many pregnant women make the decision to switch to natural/ organic/ green beauty products, believing they're much better for them and safer for the baby. However, reality is a little more complicated than that - especially that the natural beauty market isn't in fact regulated by law in the United States. What I'm saying is - just do your own research.
Land of Lorp and Allison from 10am Beauty for listening to my rants on Twitter and giving lots of helpful preggo/mama advice. And lastly, thanks to Nuxe for providing me with ample amounts of Huile Prodigieuse to smear all over my watermelon belly :) Just a few more weeks to go, you guys!!!
|Some of the K-Beauty brands & products you can score at the Peach & Lily Sample Sale.|
Disclaimer: Products marked with an asterix (*) were press samples I received from the brands' PR for review consideration. I purchased everything else myself. All links are non-affiliate. All opinions are 100% honest and unbiased, no matter if the products featured were purchased with my own monies or provided free of charge. Thank you for reading!