Some women find that their skin 'blooms' during pregnancy, but unfortunately just as many find their skin is negatively affected by the flood of pregnancy hormones and oily and spotty skin is a frequent complaint of mums-to-be. If you are unlucky enough to find your reflection replaced by that of an awkward teenager, then try out these tips for coping with the excess oil and take what little comfort you can from the fact that oilier skins generally age better than their drier counterparts, with fewer wrinkles.
A common mistake in dealing with excessively oily skin is to over-cleanse with frequent washing and harsh cleansers, such as those containing alcohol. This will just strip the skin of its natural oils and so prompt even more oil production - the opposite of what you want to achieve. If you have spotty pregnancy skin then don't wash your face more than two or three times a day and use only very gentle cleansers.
Fight fire with fire
It may sound counter-intuitive, but using a natural oil-based cleanser can work well with spotty and oily skin, as 'dirty' sebum dissolves into the oil to be carried away but the skin isn't stripped of its natural oils. Many skin-care lines do oil-based cleansers, but using a plain, natural oil will work just as well. Jojoba oil is a good match for your skin's sebum, and a high-grade olive oil from the supermarket shelf will also work well. To cleanse with an oil massage a small amount of oil into the face and then remove with a clean face cloth or muslin and hot, but not too hot, water. Adding a few drops of lavendar essential oil will both avoid the salad smell if you're using olive oil and act as a natural antibacterial agent. High quality natural oils don't come cheap but as very little is required per wash they work out as quite good value over time and you can get quite small bottles if you just want to try. If you're trying oil as a cleanser for the first time then give yourself a week or so to see the difference. It won't work for everyone but many women swear by it.
If you like to use a toner then again, avoid ones containing lots of alcohol or other harsh ingredients and stick to something gentle but effective, like witch hazel based toners.
Using face masks
Using a deep-cleansing face mask once or twice a week may help to remove the congestion that can cause spots, but be careful to choose one with natural ingredients that won't strip your skin of its natural oils. Clay and mud-based masks work well for oily skin, drawing out excess oil and dirt gently without drying out the skin. You can either buy a ready-made clay mask, most skin care lines do them, or ask at your local chemist for powdered clay that you can mix with water and other ingredients of your choice to make your own fresh mask.
Treatment from within
For treating from within make sure you're drinking lots of water for a start as this is one of the best beauty treatments going for oily skin: It's boring but true. For pregnancy you should in any case be getting a well-balanced diet: your pregnancy raises your requirements of many vitamins and if your intake falls short particularly with B-vitamins and iron, then the shortage may be reflected in oily and lacklustre skin. Eating plenty of green leafy veg and fresh fruit as well as nuts, grains, whole rice and wholegrain breads should help keep your vitamin intake up.
Check here for more information about general diet and nutrition in pregnancy.
There's a lot of fuss about oil-free skincare and make-up products for oily skin, but the important thing to be sure of is that you don't use any petroleum-based oils (the cheapest and so most commonly used) on your skin. Pure, natural oils in moisturisers won't block your pores and cause congestion in the same way. Emollients used in moisturisers can also block pores, so if you have oily skin then you're better off opting for a moisturiser with a lotion consistency, rather than a thick cream.
Although you might want to cover up any spots well, a thick, heavy foundation can also block pores and aggravate spots. Here's where a lighter, oil-free formula makes most sense but do check on the packaging to find out what is meant by oil-free.
Share tips and tricks
If you've found effective ways of controlling oily skin in pregnancy then why not pass your tips on to other ThinkBaby members on the forum thread below.