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Pregnancy Skin Care

Practice proper skin care during pregnancy

For some women, pregnancy brings on the beautiful glow of healthy skin; for others, it means suffering through any (or all!) of a host of skin irritations and problems, making skin care during pregnancy an absolutely frustrating nightmare. And when choosing pregnancy skin care products, you have to consider not only what will be effective but what will be safe for your baby.

Belly itch is one common skin care complaint among pregnant women, and it can often be treated with a quality, unscented moisturizer and itch-relieving oatmeal soaks. Another, more formidable pregnancy skin care challenge is pregnancy mask, i.e., patches of discoloration on the face. This condition is worsened by sun exposure, so dedicated use of sunscreen is important.

But by far, the two biggest skin care worries for pregnant women, the two they are most likely to deal with and often most desperate to treat and prevent, are acne and stretch marks.

Acne Skin Care in Pregnancy

Thanks to the hormonal changes that pregnancy brings, acne plagues the faces of many expectant mothers, even those who have not had a breakout since adolescence. Unfortunately, pregnant women should avoid the ingredients found in many prescription and over-the-counter topical acne products -- ingredients like retinol (vitamin A), benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. On the other hand, creams whose acne-fighting ingredient is alpha hydroxy acid or a sulphur-based compound are safe to use in pregnancy.

Pregnancy and Skin Care for Stretch Marks

Up to 90 percent of women develop stretch marks during pregnancy. Stretch marks are caused by tiny tears in the skin, which occur as a result of the skin being stretched to its absolute limit as your body grows to accommodate your developing baby. They most commonly occur in the abdomen area, but they may also appear on the thighs, buttocks and breasts.

Creams that claim to reduce the appearance or incidence of stretch marks typically contain cocoa butter, wheat germ oil or lanolin and work by flooding the skin with moisture and nutrients that help repair the damaged collagen, thereby repairing the small tears. Alternatively, some women swear by the daily application of baby oil to their baby bumps to minimize stretch marks.

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