If you are soon-to-be mom, a million questions must be haunting your mind right now. What skincare products should I use? What ingredients should I avoid? Is hair colouring safe? If this is your first pregnancy, it’s only natural to feel overwhelmed and confused. That’s why we brought in the expert to answer all your pregnancy-related beauty queries.
Award-winning dermatologist, Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta (@drgeetika on Instagram) answers 10 of the most-asked beauty questions all expecting moms struggle with. She is the founder of ISAAC Luxe (International Skin & Anti-Aging Centre) and has more than 13 years of experience in the field, so yes, you can trust her.
Read on as Dr Geetika answers all the beauty queries a mom-to-be could have during pregnancy.
BB: What is the safest way to treat acne during pregnancy?
Dr. Geetika: Retinol and salicylic acid are not advised during pregnancy. So if you have a few breakouts, clindamycin can be used topically. Load up on veggies and fruits, and focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle as much as possible. If your acne increases, speak to your dermatologist about a mild lactic acid peel.
BB: Can I colour my hair during pregnancy?
Dr. Geetika: While both permanent and semi-permanent hair dyes are no longer highly toxic, they still can be absorbed by the skin. I think a touch-up should be safe, but my suggestion would be to keep those highlighting and ombre sessions for later and just enjoy this period.
BB: How can I curb hair fall post-pregnancy?
Dr. Geetika: A dip in estrogen levels triggers telogen effluvium or hair shedding leading to hair loss after pregnancy. Most women experience hair thinning or extreme hair loss and it can last for two to three months. Load up on healthy fats as well as Omega-3-6-9 supplements. Change your hair parting to avoid hair thinning and stay away from chemical treatments or excessive heat. The idea is not to worsen the breakage.
If hair fall continues, you can try Platelet Rich Plasma or PRP wherein your own blood is used to regrow hair. PRP is a great option for thinning hair and is extremely safe. Plus, it's one session a month so you won't be spending too much time away from your baby.
BB: Is melasma really temporary? How do I deal with it?
Dr. Geetika: 80% of women experience hyperpigmentation during pregnancy due to hormonal changes. Blue or grey-brown patches usually found on the face, commonly known as melasma, are one of the most common worries of expecting or new mothers. It may be temporary for some expecting mothers, but needs more help if it doesn't go away post-pregnancy.
After a thorough medical and skin check, your dermatologist will customise your treatment, which could be a combination of laser therapy or peels along with topical creams like hydroquinone in a liquid, cream or gel format. You can also opt for laser toning, which can correct pigmentation that triggers a natural response in the body to produce more collagen and elastin.
BB: What are some skincare tips new moms should swear by?
Dr. Geetika: If you have just delivered, I think the key would be to strike a balance. Use pH balanced face washes, a low-potency Vitamin C serum and eye cream.
Do not skip sunscreen. Use physical sunscreens that leave a whitish layer when applied as they are safer than chemical sunscreens because they physically block sun rays.
Continue to massage your skin and use body butters and body oils to tone up your body. Also, limit your salt intake to avoid bloating.
BB: How can I deal with stretch marks at home?
Dr. Geetika: When it comes to stretch marks, you can start doing a few things at home like using topical creams and oils that help keep your skin hydrated. These include shea butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, hyaluronic acid, and other hydrating ingredients. Remember, most of the itching is due to dryness. Coconut oil and vitamin E capsules (along with any other plant-based oils) really help in curbing itching. These are especially helpful for people with very dry skin since oils take longer to absorb.
Red or purplish stretch marks can also be lightened with the use of hydroquinone ointments that should only be prescribed by a dermatologist or a cosmetologist. Apart from at-home treatments, you can also opt for non-invasive treatments for stretch marks. At ISAAC Luxe, we choose a three-method approach that includes laser treatment, peels and PRP (Stretchnil).
BB: Any skincare ingredients expecting and breastfeeding moms should avoid?
Dr. Geetika: Well, ‘gentle’ is the best word to describe your pregnancy routine. Try to avoid products with retinol, salicylic acid, Retin-A, retinyl palmitate, and benzoyl peroxide. If you are on an acne medicine, speak to your dermatologist and OB-Gyn. The usual humectants like honey, glycerin, urea as well as plant-based Vitamin C (in small concentrations) should be safe to use.
It’s important to keep your skin hydrated to avoid stretch marks, so make most of apricot-kernel, almond and coconut oil. Shea butter, moringa oil body butter and Brazil nut butter are great emollients too.
The best thing you can do is use gentle products and get regular pregnancy-safe facials that usually involve a clean-up, microdermabrasion and a mild AHA like lactic acid. Avoid professional treatments such as chemical peels with salicylic acid, Botox, and laser treatments.
BB: Any beauty myths moms-to-be should stop believing?
Dr. Geetika: Yes, many people still believe that drinking coffee can make your baby darker. Not only is that a myth, but it’s also colourism. It's high time we do away with such thoughts.
BB: Can you put together a skincare kit for a new mom?
Dr. Geetika: Shea butter, moringa oil body butter, Brazil nut butter as well as a bunch of cold pressed oils to keep your skin hydrated and some lavender essential oil to help mommies sleep better.
BB: How do I tackle dark circles caused due to sleepless nights?
Dr. Geetika: Dark under eyes are basically dark blemishes seen under the eyes. It is usually formed because of oxygenated blood under the eyes. You might have dark circles because of genetics, allergies, lack of sleep or sometimes even anemia. Its important to first do a complete medical check to rule out and work on any deficiencies that could be causing dark circles. Start by applying an eye cream to make sure your under eye is well hydrated. With a combination of an at-home skincare routine that may include eye creams, I would advise you to opt for the following treatments:
Chemical peels: There are a variety of AHA and BHA peels that help improve skin texture, pigmentation and dark spots around the under-eye area.
Microdermabrasion: A non-invasive procedure that uses tiny crystals or other exfoliants to help remove the superficial layer of dead skin cells. This helps minimise pores, boost blood circulation and reduce pigmentation.
Dermal fillers: Dermal fillers are injectables that are used to plump and hydrate skin and renew collagen and elastin that we lose over the years as we age. With hyaluronic acid, these fillers also help reduce dark circles.
Image courtesy: Instagram/drgeetika