The beginning of motherhood is a beautiful and delicate time, and the thing to really focus on is doing what you can to take care of yourself. Sometimes the skin doesn’t act like we want it to act, and at the same time, these changes are a temporary state which can ebb and flow throughout pregnancy. Taking a nutritive bath, or going for a walk and calming the nervous system is just as important as picking the right skincare products.
Often people discover organic skincare during pregnancy because they’re clued into learning that conventional skincare isn’t indicated for use during pregnancy. It’s a beautiful time to make lifelong changes to diet and lifestyle and to think about the products and ingredients we’re using in our everyday life.
If you’re finding organic skincare because you’ve recently become pregnant, welcome to the clean beauty movement! This is usually a moment when people make big changes to their lifestyle permanently and what they find is that organic skincare is nutritive, with milder scents. Our skincare tends to be easier on the olfactory senses! The gentle nature of our skincare allows the skin to be more balanced during pregnancy through hormonal shifts.
What to avoid during pregnancy
The Botnia products that we suggest you might want to avoid during pregnancy and breastfeeding are our Daily Face Wash and Toner, which both have willow tree bark (a natural form of salicylic acid). Salicylic is related to aspirin and some women avoid it during pregnancy. Other products we include as a contraindication for pregnancy are our Balancing Oil Cleanser and Clarity Oil because they contain meadowsweet, which historically was used in the very first version of aspirin, and there is evidence that it can cause uterine contractions.
You may also wish to avoid Wisdom Oil during pregnancy because it contains clary sage essential oil, which is contraindicated for pregnancy because it also has the potential for causing uterine contraction. We include this contraindication out of an abundance of caution; there are about 5 drops of clary sage essential oil per batch (~70 bottles) so it is a very tiny amount and the risk is minimal.
However, breastfeeding causes oxytocin to be released into your bloodstream, and this hormone causes the contraction of all smooth muscles and helps your uterus contract back into its pre-pregnancy shape and size. So during the postpartum period, uterine contractions and cramping are helping your body heal, so a very tiny amount of clary sage essential oil won’t hurt and might even help that process along.
Hormones during pregnancy and their effects on your skin
Hormones play a vital role in pregnancy changes, and it’s essential to understand how they can affect your skin before, during, and after pregnancy. One of the most significant hormonal changes is the increase in estrogen levels, which can cause your skin to produce more oil, leading to breakouts and acne. On the other side of the coin, progesterone levels rise, causing your skin to become more sensitive and prone to irritation.
There’s also melanocyte-stimulating hormone, which can cause hyperpigmentation or darkening of the skin. This may result in the appearance of the “mask of pregnancy,” which is a darkening of the skin on the forehead, nose, and cheeks, also known as melasma, which can be distressing for many expecting mothers.
How to care for your skin before, during, and after pregnancy
As you plan your pregnancy, it’s a great time to start a skincare routine that includes a gentle cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen. Avoid using harsh products or treatments that can irritate your skin, such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion.
For pregnant mamas:
This is such a tender moment in life where you want to also show your skin tenderness and find ways to offer it gentle nourishment. During pregnancy, you’ll want to avoid making too many changes in your skincare as your body is already going through many new shifts. Avoid active ingredients and over-exfoliation. For a simple, hydrating pregnancy-safe regimen:
Rose Water Toner
Eye Cream - used all over the face as a moisturizer
Renewing Face Wash (Botnia hack: combine with Soothing Repair Mask when you need a more hydrating, cooling cleanse)
Rose Water Toner
Replenishing Facial Oil (focus on massaging into skin)
Soothing Repair Mask as a 15 minute weekly treatment for hydration. If experiencing hormonal breakouts, use the Fix Zit Mask 1-2 times per week as a spot treatment with the Soothing Repair Mask. Pro-mama-tip: For quick application, mix both products together in your hands and apply straight up to save on time.
For postpartum care:
After giving birth your estrogen levels drop, which can affect the production of elastin, collagen, and hyaluronic acid in the skin. Postpartum skin is usually very dehydrated. If you’re breastfeeding, all of your nutrients are going to the baby. When nursing, your body loses an additional 700 ml per day of water through breastfeeding since breast milk is composed of about 90% water. During this time, adrenals are also low and you’re not sleeping well and craving salt/sweets which in return is causing more stress on your body, which equals more stress on the skin. The main focus is hydration!
Rose Water Toner
Rose Geranium Hydrosol sprayed over Hydrating Serum
Eye Cream (For mamas who have scent sensitivities, our Eye Cream also has no added EOs and can be used as an all over face cream too!)
Restorative Face Cream
Renewing Face Wash
Rose Geranium Hydrosol
Restorative Face Cream
Soothing Repair Mask – overnight depending on your skin type and how dehydrated your skin feels, you can slug up to 2-3 times a week. Here are our tips for slugging with our Soothing Repair Mask
Skin type notes:
If you have an oilier skin type, the Gentle Cleanser helps to balance the skin as well as remove makeup and SPF at the end of the day. The Renewing Face Wash is indicated for those targeting pigmentation in the skin. You can definitely use both cleansers to target different needs or even try mixing them together to see how your skin feels.
Body care during pregnancy and post-birth
Don’t forget to treat the rest of your body! The Epsom salts in our Relaxing Bath Salts are an incredible pain reliever from the muscle pain you experience from the physical birth of your baby.
Besides melasma and acne, other common skin changes during pregnancy include stretch marks, varicose veins, and dry, itchy skin. As your baby grows, your skin stretches, which can cause stretch marks, especially on your belly, breasts, hips, and thighs. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause your skin to become dry and itchy, especially around your belly and breasts. Using nourishing body products can help reduce or prevent stretch marks.
Start with a large scoop of our Luminous Body Scrub in the palm of your hand, working from feet upward and from chest downward in circular motions, concentrating on rough or dry patches of skin and always working toward the heart. Rinse clean. If you have an extra moment of time before you bathe, you can use the scrub all over on dry skin (preferably over a rug so you don’t get any scrub on the floor) and then hop into the shower or bath.
After your shower or bath, apply the Body Cream all over, taking extra care to massage the areas of stretch marks to help stimulate circulation to these places on your body.
Remember, be patient with yourself and your skin during this time. It may take several months for your skin to return to its pre-pregnancy state. You are beautiful and amazing, and your body is doing incredible things. Take care of yourself and your skin, and enjoy this special journey!