Skin Changes with Pregnancy

Skin Changes with Pregnancy

Let me just start off by saying CONGRATULATIONS! Odds are, if you’re reading this you’re probably pregnant, if not, well… welcome to you too. Pregnancy is a beautiful time in a woman’s life but it is also a time of many transitions, all from your sleep cycle to your finances and everything in between. As many of you know, your body goes through a lot of changes, and your skin is no exception. Let me share just a few of the many changes you may deal with.

 “Pregnancy Mask” or Melasma

When pregnant, your body produces more hormones, which causes an increase in your pigmentation. Nearly 50% of pregnant women show some signs of the “pregnancy mask”. Skin becomes blotchy and uneven. Medium to dark skin tones are much more prone to get these spots due to having more pigment (melanin) in the skin to start with. Woman on contraceptives may also suffer from this because of the high levels of hormones they receive to prevent pregnancy.

Although there really is no way to prevent the “Pregnancy Mask”, you either get it or you don’t, there are measures you can take to reduce the intensity of it.

First off, use sunblock. This is a tip you can follow and see lifelong benefits if you stick to it on a daily basis–pregnant or not. When one gets a tan, it’s actually our body’s defense mechanism, by producing more melanin (the pigment that gives our skin color); it protects us from the sun’s harmful rays. By doing this we are giving our body yet another reason to produce this “pigment” resulting in blotchiness.

Protecting your skin from ultra violet lights can greatly reduce the look of sun spots and even fight premature aging.

The areas of increased pigmentation will probably fade within a few months after delivery and your skin should return to its normal shade, although the changes never completely disappear in some women.

There are a number of treatments and products that can definitely improve what may be left post pregnancy. Check out my article “Dark Spots AKA Hyperpigmentation” for tips on treating this problem.

“Pregnancy Glow”

I don’t know about you but I’ve always wondered if that whole “pregnancy glow” thing was legitimate. Is it people just trying to be nice because of all the weight gain I’m going through or is there a real reason behind this glow??? Turns out, the glow is the real deal!

When pregnant, your body produces 50% more blood, resulting in more blood circulation through your body. This increase in blood circulation causes your face to be brighter. Your body is also producing a high amount of hormones that cause your oil glands to work in over drive, leaving your face shiny.

So enjoy the glow, it’s real and it’s beautiful. Make sure to use a mild cleanser twice a day and if needed, an oil free moisturizer to prevent going from glowing and fabulous to oily and acne prone.

Oily—Acne prone skin

So let’s just say this “glow” comes with its pros and cons… Although the pregnancy gives a nice sheen to the skin, this sheen can get a little out of control and cause breakouts and clogged pores. You might find that at least some of the tried and true beauty products you relied on to keep your skin glowing before pregnancy are unsafe to use while your baby is on board.

If acne worsens, avoid products that contain benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or any of the retinoids. Instead, try sulfur-based topical products, as well as those containing glycolic acid or alpha-hydroxy acids, you can also try an exfoliating scrub, followed by an oil-free moisturizer with an SPF of 30 or more.

If all else fails, and your acne is making you miserable, contact your dermatologist to see what you can use that would be safe for the baby.

Stretch Marks

The reality is, if you have them, you’re in good company. About 90% of women will get stretch marks sometime after their sixth or seventh month of pregnancy, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Stretch marks are tiny tears that occur in the supporting layers of tissue under your skin as it’s pulled tight to the limit during pregnancy. If your mother had stretch marks, then you’re more likely to have them too, since genetics plays a role. Rapid pregnancy weight gain can also make you more likely to get them so try gaining the weight at a slower pace.

Try keeping a well-balanced diet, rich in anti-oxidants such as vitamin E, C and of course omega fatty acids to keep skin healthy and supple. Also, keep that belly and any growing areas such as thighs, buttocks and breast very well moisturized. Bio-Oil, cocoa butter, almond oil, egg oil, shea butter, and wheatgerm oil are popular and effective choices for moisturizing skin during pregnancy. Though they may not completely prevent them, it will help.

It’s especially important to moisturize to help with the intense itchiness that comes while stretching for our little bundles of joy!

The good news is that stretch marks usually become considerably less noticeable about six to 12 months after childbirth. The pigmentation fades and they generally become lighter than the surrounding skin (the color will vary depending on your skin color), but their texture will remain the same.

Even better news is you are much more likely to improve the look of them if you treat them post-partum while their fresh! Yes, there’s hope to get them even lighter! Retin-A is very effective to improve the look of stretch marks along with in-office microdermabrasion, chemical peels or laser treatments. Certain treatments and products are not safe while breast feeding so make sure you let your skin care professional if you are.

Despite the effects that come with carrying a child in your womb, we must work on not letting that distract us from the true beauty of it. Pregnancy is a miracle in itself and an amazing part of life. Enjoy it, invest in your health by taking good care of yourself through the pregnancy, to be able to take better care of your little one once he or she is born. Do your part to help prevent some of the skin issues that may come in the process. We are blessed to live in a time where we have many options to improve some of the not-so-pleasant changes.

Living with Acne

Living with Acne

Living with Acne

Acne is problem all of us have faced at one point or another in our lives, whether it was an occasional breakout or two or wide spread acne all over the face. One thing I’m sure we can all agree with is that it can be a very frustrating battle. In my experience, I have found that some of our acne flare ups  are due to things that can simply be avoided.

Before I move on, let’s go over the 4 types of acne:

Grade 1:
This describes skin that is beginning to show the typical first signs of acne: greasiness, open blackheads, sometimes in large numbers, and a few spots. There is no inflammation.

Grade 2:
Spots may be larger, usually red and/or filled with pus, with signs of black heads and white heads (comedones). There is slight inflammation of the skin. Breakouts will appear more often and breakout activity is more apparent.

Grade 3:
The skin is now obviously inflamed and reddened. The usual signs of acne, such as red and yellow spots and comedones will be present but far more widespread and inflamed. Papules and pustules appear in larger numbers. Severe acne usually affects other regions, such as the neck, chest, shoulders, and/or upper back, in addition to the face.

Grade 4:
The most serious form of acne, but luckily not very common. The usual signs of acne, such as red and yellow spots and comedones, will be present, but far more widespread and very angry looking. Someone with this type of acne will often have large cysts. A cyst is a pus-filled spot over 5mm in diameter. There are numerous comedones, papules, pustules, and nodules, in addition to cysts. There is a pronounced degree of inflammation and breakouts are severe. Cystic acne is very painful.

While people who suffer from acne grades 3 and 4 will be better off visiting a physician’s office for a more in-depth treatment, I believe all can benefit from these tips I will be sharing.

1. Make an appointment with your skin care specialist.

This is great way to see if you would be a good candidate for a chemical peel. Peels can help dry up the excess oil in the pore, reduce inflammation and help reduce the look of any acne scaring you pickers may have.
There are several types of peels that an acne patient can benefit from so it is very important to see a professional to see what best fits you as an individual.
Deep cleansing facials are also very beneficial to help keep those clogged pores from becoming inflamed.

2. What are you using at home?

This is the place many go wrong. Whether you’re using the wrong products for your skin type or you are simply overdoing it, I have found in my experience as an aesthetician that it’s usually one or the other.

For example, I would say most of my client base is middle-aged women and many of them suffer with acne as an adult. I find many of them go straight for the acne products they would have used or have used as an adolescent. But take in consideration the fact that as a middle-aged individual, your skin is much different from that of a teenager.

As we age, our skin becomes thinner, drier, and odds are, has undergone damage from the sun, pollution and other external factors. Therefore, the aggressive acne cleansers and treatments we used in our teens can simply aggravate our acne.

For an adult, who may have breakouts but areas of dryness as well, try a using a mild foaming cleanser during the day and a salicylic wash at night, this will help to keep the skin clean without overdoing it.

For a teen, who most likely has more oily skin overall, using the salicylic wash both day and night should be fine. Avoid harsh scrubs that can irritate the skin and worsen breakouts.

Using a light moisturizer with an SPF of at least 30, paired with a spot treatment that contains salicylic, benzoyl peroxide or tea tree oil will also help.

Again, I would highly recommend seeing a professional who can evaluate your skin and customize a skin care regimen for you.

Digging deeper …

There are internal factors that can also cause breakouts such as stress, hormone imbalance for example peri-menopause, and even certain medications. All of us have busy lives and to say “don’t stress” is almost like saying don’t blink, its a natural response our body has when under pressure, which for some of us, happens more often than others. However I will say, find what works for you, there are different ways people cope with stress, some by exercising, others with music and still others with simply finding a positive friend to vent to. What ever you decide to do, make time for it. Stress causes harm in so many different levels.

As for the hormone imbalance and medication, that’s way out of my league, lucky for me I work for Dr Mowett who’s expertise is in hormonal balancing and dermatology. This could make a significant improvement in your skin, set an appointment with her to see if this would fit you. When it comes to medications, ask your doctor if there are any side affects that could cause acne flare-ups if so, there may be an alternative treatment.

3. NO PICKING YOUR SKIN OR ANYONE ELSE’!!! (that includes friends, siblings, or partners)

If you develop a pimple or nodule do not pop or squeeze these legions, your skin will take longer to heal. Picking will only cause inflammation resulting in post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark spot) and spread bacteria. There is a time and place to get those comedones out and it should be done after exfoliating and applying steam to the skin to soften the pore. The best way to extract (not pick) a black head without breaking the skin and causing a scar is with a simple technique, “spread, rock and roll” the comedone out.

If it doesn’t slide right out after you have exfoliated and applied steam it’s time to make an appointment with your skincare specialist for a deep cleansing treatment.

4. Stay out of the sun.

The sun’s ultraviolet rays can increase inflammation and redness. Some acne medications may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Limit your time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Whether you have pimples or not, always apply sunblock with SPF 30 or higher at least 20 minutes before sun exposure. Look for “noncomedogenic” on the sunscreen label to make new breakouts less likely.

Although these tips may not solve all your acne concerns, I hope it provides you with a better understanding of acne and acne management. From what I have seen firsthand, they can definitely help. I encourage you to try them and let me know how it went.

Iris Hernandez

How Do I Choose the Right Cleanser for My Skin?

How Do I Choose the Right Cleanser for My Skin?

How Do I Choose the Right Cleanser for My Skin?

We’ve all been there, standing in the skin care isle of our local drug or department store, looking completely confused and frustrated. “I mean, does it really even make a difference what cleanser I use? Will it really help improve my skin?’ Many of you reading this may be thinking,”I’ve tried so many and still have yet to find my perfect, year-round cleanser.

The truth is, there is no “perfect” year-round cleanser. Our skin changes with age, environmental factors and stress. As a result, so will our skin care regimen.

So does it really make the difference? Of course! Choosing the right cleanser for your skin type and condition will help your products penetrate deeper; give you a clean canvas for makeup application and last but not least, aid in our ultimate goal, which is of course, to stay looking beautiful and young FOREVER! Okay maybe not the last part but-hey, a girl can dream. Either way, cleansing can definitely help the aging process come at us in a much more graceful manner.

That having been said, the key to finding the correct cleanser is identifying your skin type and condition and the difference between the two. Your skin type is something that you’re born with. Some skin conditions are caused by external factors like the weather, incorrect products used on the skin, and even certain in-office skin treatments.

Skin Type

Normal skin is hydrated and tends to be clear and even-toned. It also tolerates exfoliation and more aggressive skincare ingredients

Oily skin is caused by overactive oil glands. It has a shiny appearance, enlarged pores, and acne is a primary concern.

Dry skin experiences flaking, itching, and dullness. Dry skin does not produce enough oil. Cold weather and harsh conditions make symptoms worse.

Combination skin, this is when some parts of your face are oily while others are dry or sensitive. You may you have heard of the term T-Zone. This refers to the forehead, nose and chin, the area of the face that is usually oil while the rest of your face may feel dry.

Sensitive skin reacts to products or the environment with redness and itching. It is often experienced from birth. Commonly seen in people with Rosacea.

Common Skin Conditions

Aging Skin: Dry skin and wrinkles are caused by sun exposure and decreased oil production. Signs include enlarged pores, loss of elasticity, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone.

Acne Prone Skin: Excess oil and excessive cell production lead to clogged pores and breakouts.
Acne includes blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, and pimples. Acne can affect all ages but is more common in adolescents.

Hyperpigmentation(dark spots): Sun exposure is the primary cause of pigment changes. Hormone-induced hyperpigmentation causes dark patches on the forehead and cheeks. Past acne and other trauma may result in dark spots.

Rosacea: This condition causes persistent blushing and flushing. Rosacea may lead to broken blood vessels and pimple-like lesions on the cheeks and nose.

Dehydrated Skin: Dehydrated skin is rough, itchy, and flaky.
It does not maintain proper levels of hydration and the lack of moisture makes wrinkles more visible.

Sensitized Skin: Sensitized skin is not something you were born with, rather a condition produced by an internal or external factor. For example, some antibiotics, diseases, and even in-office clinical procedures can cause your skin to be more sensitive. Many times it is red, inflamed, and itchy. Harsh ingredients can also sensitize the skin.

Now that we have covered skin types and conditions, its time to identify where you’re at.

Here is a little “layout” for you to go by when choosing your cleanser.

Oily/Acne: For oily complexions, the best types of cleansers are oil-free options that usually come in gel form. Be sure to look for acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide if you’re concerned with breakouts. Avoid harsh scrubs as well.

Combination/Normal: With combination skin, look for cleansers that contain glycolic acid or lactic acid, this will help keep skin hydrated and exfoliated.

Dry Skin/Dehydrated: Dry skin lacks oil. For drier skin types, look for milk, cream, or oil cleansers that will help you wash away impurities without stripping your skin of necessary oils. Dehydrated skin lacks water therefor look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid to help bind moister to your skin.

Rosacea/ Sensitized/ Sensitive: For this skin type, it’s best to lean towards calming and soothing ingredients like aloe, green tea or oatmeal. Stay away from fragrance, and the less ingredients you see, the better.

Aging: Look for cleansers that contain retinoid, glycolic acid and vitamin C to help remove the dead cells that may usually take longer to slough off with aging. Make sure it doesn’t strip your skin and leave it feeling tight though, that’s a sign you have overdone it.

I hope this article helps you on your search for the right facial cleanser. Keep in mind these are just a few of many ingredients you can choose from. Everyone has different skin, and when dealing with skin conditions, I highly recommend to see a Skin Care Specialist as myself get a deeper look. Together we can work to achieve beautiful and radiant skin. Good luck guys!


The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The Aesthetic & Wellness Center is not responsible or liable for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or products that you obtain through this site. After reading articles, watching videos or reading other content from this website, you are encouraged to review the information carefully with your professional healthcare provider or skin care specialist.

The Truth About Chemical Peels

The Truth About Chemical Peels

Lets face it, we’re not getting any younger and neither is our skin. As and aesthetician I have come across many who are after the latest “miracle cream, treatment or home remedy”, to make their skin look radiant and rejuvenated. Honestly, I have found many of these products and home remedies to be more hype than anything. No shame ladies, it’s in our nature, we want to stay beautiful—we can’t help it!

So what does work???

One treatment that does tend to work is called a chemical peel, and unlike a lot of procedures it doesn’t try to hide behind its name. A peel is just that. Chemical peels have been around for ages. Since the days of ancient Egypt, people, such as Queen Cleopatra have been using chemical exfoliation methods, also known as chemical peeling, to rejuvenate their skin. The original chemical exfoliant was lactic acid, an active ingredient of sour milk that was used in milk baths as part of an ancient skin rejuvenation regimen.

They work by taking advantage of a natural biological process that is constantly at work in our bodies; it sheds the outer layers of the skin to produce new ones.

I’m sure many of you reading this are having flash backs of Samantha from “Sex in the City” when she had her experience with chemical peels but I will just say, unless you are doing a deep peel performed by a medical professional then you have nothing to worry about (those peels are much deeper). Although I must say, despite the down time you may have, the results they deliver are beyond worth it.

The skin is the largest organ of the human body. It also happens to be the most exposed. Which means it takes a good beating daily. From the sun’s damaging rays to the pollutants in the air and other elements, our skin has it bad and it needs some loving!

“Am I a good candidate???”

There are several different types of peels to choose from making them great for most skin types. They work to improve the look of fines lines, wrinkles, acne, sun spots scars and the overall tone and texture of the skin. Peels work to promote collagen production and cell renewal as well.

Superficial peels or “Lunch time peels” are commonly known as glycolic, salicylic, lactic and fruit acid peels. These work by speeding up the renewal process on the top layer of the skin (epidermis). They are quick and easy treatments. There is usually no downtime and most people go back to work with little or no makeup. These peels gradually show great results after multiple treatments.

Medium depth peels such as TCA work a little differently in that they penetrate more deeply, getting to the dermis (bottom layer of skin) to remove the top few layers of the skin where many blemishes, sun spots and imperfections reside.
Medium peels create a “wound” (think sunburn) that allows the new skin to come through, but all this hard work your skin is doing requires some downtime from you. But trust me, the benefits are worth it. Medium depth peels do everything a superficial peel does, but is more effective at treating sun damage and because it goes deeper into the dermis, is more effective at stimulating collagen to tighten the skin.

Deep peels penetrate several layers of skin and cause a second-degree burn of the skin. They are used only on the face. Phenol is usually used for this type of peel. Deep peels may not be used on darker skin types because they can burn the skin or cause hyper or hypo-pigmentation and at times, can scar the skin. Even in lighter-skinned people, phenol peels—or any type of deep resurfacing– can damage the skin. A deep peel can be done only once in most cases and usually requires two to three weeks of down time.

Deep peels can only performed by an experienced physician (I know, that’s comforting).

There are a few things to have in mind if you are considering getting a chemical peel done. The single most important thing is you must be willing to wear sun block and avoid direct sun exposure for at least two weeks after having the peel done. Because of the exfoliation, your skin will be extra sensitive to the sun.

A few more things to keep in mind…

* You don’t have to “peel” with a peel.

* Visible exfoliation (flaking) is a symptom of the treatment. Everyone is different. Some may flake in certain areas on their face, some may flake all over and some may not flake at all.

* Cell renewal takes place in the epidermis (top layer) and dermis (second layer), regardless of the amount of visible flaking.

* Peels give best results when done in a series of multiple treatments.

* Consultation with a Skin Care Professional is a must prior to a chemical peel!!!

* Home care products are essential for providing desired results. We do the treatments; you do the maintenance– they go hand in hand.

* Be sure to discontinue any Retinol/ Rentin-A products at least one week prior to treatment.

* Wear an appropriate sun-block for your skin type daily to protect and prevent future damage.

So the truth about chemical peels is this… They are safe and effective when performed by a Skin Care Professional. They are a brilliant breakthrough in skin care since the day they were discovered. Try it for yourself; give us a call when you’re ready. We look forward to hearing from you.


The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The Aesthetic & Wellness Center is not responsible or liable for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or products that you obtain through this site. After reading articles, watching videos or reading other content from this website, you are encouraged to review the information carefully with your professional healthcare provider or skin care specialist.

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