I have to admit that my regular skincare routine mostly focused on facial skincare. I am pretty lazy and low-maintenance, so I am a bit embarrassed to say that I neglected body care for so long! I am lucky that I don't have major skin issues; my face is dry, with oily eyelids, and my body is very dry and prone to flaking during the winter months. When I am lazy I usually skip body cream but pregnancy has changed my skin in so many ways, and I realized that I have to take better care of it to nourish it from within and on the outside!
Once I found out I was pregnant I googled ingredients that I need to be cautious of. I found a handy list and I went through all my skincare and eliminated products (or gave them away) that contained any one of these unrecommended ingredients:
retinoids, tretinoin, salicylic acid, hydroquinone, pthalates (DEP diethylphthalate), formaldehyde (bronopol, DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, hydroxymethylglycinate, imidazolidinyl urea, quaternium-15, 5-bromo-5-nitro-1,3-dioxane) and oxybenzone
What was left of my facial skincare was a mix of natural, clean beauty, Pithy Apothecary products (of course!), and some Asian beauty products.
My skin has remained quite dry, with a few pimples that pop up occasionally. Many acne treatments use salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, and I didn't want to use either so I ended up not using any acne creams. I haven't been going out much during the pandemic so if it's just a few pimples I figured I could live with it!
My facial skincare routine:
If I am wearing makeup, I use micellar water to remove it, and then I double-cleanse by using our Pithy Apothecary Purifying Clay Cleanser. It cleanses the skin very gently and sometimes I leave it on for an extra 2-3 minutes as a face mask. I love that it's all natural and leaves my face super soft.
I then spray my face with the Pithy Apothecary The Botanical Tonic while my face is still a bit damp. I use my hands to pat the toner all around my face so it absorbs faster. I have another one in my purse so I can mist my face during the day if I feel dry or if my face looks tired. It smells so amazing, the champa flower extract is so soothing and the chrysanthemum extract actually calms down some redness. This is an all-natural toner so it's really only good for 6 months. Because of this I am very generous with the usage because I want to make sure I use it all up! You can even put it in the fridge if you want it to feel extra refreshing.
I use the Ere Perez Quandong Green Booster Serum or the Klairs Midnight Blue Youth Activating Drop interchangeably, usually about 2-3 drops, and I pat it all over my face. I feel that it helps boost my skin with extra nutrients to help with moisture and elasticity. I pick the serum depending on my mood!
I use 2-3 drops of the Pithy Apothecary Active Herbal Elixir, which is hands-down my favourite face oil! I spread it all over my face, with my hands lightly smoothing the oil in wide arcs that start from the middle of my face to the other edges, always with a lifting curve that doesn't drag down my skin.
I love using my gua sha tool for massage; it helps me with my circulation in the mornings, and at night it feels super relaxing when I unwind. I actually own all the Pithy Apothecary Natural Stone Gua Sha colours and I pick them depending on my mood for the day. I use the edges and curves on my face and neck while my skincare products absorb in nicely.
On days when I feel extra dry, I apply a small scoop of cream like the May Coop Raw Concentrata Night Cream. It's very rich and thick and made with 80% maple water, so I like to especially use it at night.
Before I put makeup on I always use sunscreen. The one that I am using right now is the Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen which has a SPF 50+ and doesn't pill under my makeup. This is actually one of my favourite sunscreens and I found myself repurchasing this year after year. I always wear sunscreen even when I am indoors and on cloudy days. It's recommended to use two finger lengths of sunscreen for your entire face.
Two or three times a week I use the Aina Mask by Honua Hawaiian Skincare. I like browsing The Detox Market sometimes if I am out of something or if I want to try something new and support other indie brands. I am actually really enjoying this mask, and I find that it makes my skin glowy and radiant. It's made with the Hawaiian super plant, Kalo.
During my early pregnancy (about 8-10 weeks) I developed a very itchy rash that had symptoms very similar to the PUPPP skin rash, but my OBGYN wasn't completely confident to diagnose it as PUPPP since that usually happens in the third trimester. She told me to check with my family doctor, and I ended up with a prescription for steroid cream. I was a bit reluctant to use steroid cream, but I felt so itchy and the rash was spreading fast all over my belly and on my sides up to under my arms and top of my shoulders. It even affected my sleep as I kept wanting to scratch late at night, and my skin felt extremely dry and irritated. I felt so miserable and wasn't sure how I would last for the next few months! What I found worked for me was to use the steroid cream in moderation on the spots that were active (the rashes that were red and bumpy) and then apply body oil and cream at least 2-3x a day. I have been diligent with this throughout my entire pregnancy thus far and while it does flare up at times it has been much more manageable! The rashes and scars that I had in the beginning have lightened up a lot, and I don't have much of a linea negra but suddenly in my third trimester a whole span of stretch marks have appeared across my belly. I also sprouted more hair on my belly (hormones, perhaps?). Another interesting pregnancy skin symptom I had was that the bumpy chicken skin on the back of my arms that I had for the entirety of my life has disappeared.
My bodycare routine:
I use a dry brush about two to three times a week, and I start with my feet and my legs, and my hands and arms, brushing in light circles all the way to my heart.
I moisturize morning and night (after my shower, when my skin is still slightly damp) and in between when I feel itchy. I spot-apply my prescription steroid cream to the itchy/rashy areas, wait a little while for it to dry a bit, then I combine the Odacité Jasmine Whisper Body Oil and the Uriage Xémose Lipid-Replenishing Cream in my palm and slather it all over my body. Recently my friend gifted me the Eucerin Eczema Relief Body Cream, which I've tried for the past three days. I am really liking it so far as well and I apply it on top of the most itchy areas. Another cream that I have been using on my belly is the Earth Mama Organics Belly Butter, which contains borage oil, shea butter and calendula. It's quite emollient, but the bottle is a bit small so I only use it on my belly instead of the rest of my body.
Thanks for sticking around and reading to the end of the post! These are just my personal recommendations during my pregnancy, and everyone's skin and journey is very different. These are the products that I thought worked the best for me and I welcome any questions! I hope that this can be a bit helpful to anyone who wants to read up on pregnancy skincare routines. This is my first baby, and I felt super anxious about everything in the first trimester so I tried to do a lot of research in the beginning. I am now in my 35th week so only a little bit more to go before I can welcome my son into the world!