Try these ideas for healthier, softer skin.

By Lisa Schweitzer
October 03, 2005

Skin care for pregnant women is really essential. Focus on the basics, and follow these easy tips.

Cleansing: Start with a gentle cleanser. Dr. Amy Newburger, MD, a Westchester dermatologist, recommends using a nonresidue or glycerin-based facial cleanser. If your skin is ultra dry, then she suggests washing with a soapless rinse-off cleanser that's mild and moisturizing. Wash your face no more than twice a day to prevent overdrying.

Moisturizing and sun protection: The most important addition you should make to your skin-care routine during pregnancy (and beyond) is a moisturizer with at least SPF 15, and with broad spectrum protection (that works against both UVA and UVB rays). Dr. Newburger explains that during pregnancy, elevated hormone levels trigger the multiplication of pigment cells, which can cause facial blotchiness, or "the mask of pregnancy." Using sunscreen daily -- rain or shine -- is the best way to avoid this discoloration. If you know you're going to be out in the midday sun or at the beach, protect yourself with a sunblock of SPF 30 or higher. Look for lotions and creams with the ingredient Parsol 1789 or Avobenzone on the label.

Acne and oil: If your skin is oily and/or acne prone, you'll probably experience your worst breakouts during the first trimester of pregnancy. The safest way to treat these breakouts is with a product that contains glycolic acid, alpha hydroxy acid, topical erythromycin (prescription only), or witch hazel. Generally, most dermatologists don't recommend the use of topical retinoids (such as Retin-A or Differin) or salicylic acid -- check product labels for ingredients. While these ingredients haven't been linked with birth defects, when there's no conclusive evidence one way or the other, it's best to err on the side of caution.

Quick and easy makeup: When it comes to wearing makeup during pregnancy, stick with the less-is-more philosophy. It's faster and easier. All you really need to put your best face forward are few multipurpose products. A foundation stick that doubles as concealer is great for covering under-eye circles and blemishes, and for evening out skin tone. Chubby pencils are foolproof for smudging on eyes, lips, and cheeks, and they won't take up much room in your bag. If you're the kind of person who won't leave the house without lipstick, make sure it's moisturizing and contains sun protection. For a polished look, finish up with a coat of washable, waterproof mascara and you're ready for the day.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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