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.

Three Common Skin Care Mistakes That Will Cost You

Three Common Skin Care Mistakes That Will Cost You

Three Common Skin Care Mistakes That Will Cost You

I know you’re trying-you cleanse daily, use a retinol night cream and you even looked into using a broad-spectrum sunblock because you want to go that extra mile in really protecting against free radical damage from the sun’s rays. You really do care about your skin. In a sense it seems you may be doing everything right to keep your skin looking radiant and smooth.

With all the emphasis on social media and the current trend “selfies” it’s no wonder why we try so hard! On a deeper note, self-confidence is priceless and though it first needs to come from within, our skin care and lifestyle is a reflection of it.

But just in case you have doubts, I want to share three common mistakes I see my clients make that can really be costing you a lot more than you think.

1. Removing your makeup correctly.

Let me just use myself as an example-I wear makeup daily. I’m an aesthetician; I work in an office environment where my face needs to be presentable. And let’s just say as a woman, I spend a considerable amount of my hard earned money on skin care. Having this in mind, I notice at night when I go to wash my face and remove my makeup, as I pat my face dry with a towel, I notice makeup residue on my towel!

What does that tell me?

My cleanser didn’t get it all off! This means the night cream or exfoliant I decide to use will not penetrate and will serve me no use.

So I decided to try something new, and have already begun to see improvement in my skin, the best part that its super simple! Before I go to wash face at night, I use a makeup remover wipe and proceed my normal cleansing routine. It’s a small but important step that makes all the difference.

2. Switching products too soon.

We live in a fast paced world-we get impatient if we’re at the stop light for more than 32 seconds, we flip out when our WIFI isn’t fast enough and we give up our diets because we’ve been eating “perfect” for the last three days and still haven’t lost a pound! Okay… so maybe I exaggerated a bit, I hope.

Either way, we end up bringing this vicious lifestyle into our skin care routine as well. We want that miracle cream that will give you results in the first 7 days.

But the reality is, the cell turnover process (life-cycle) of skin cells is 28 days, and that of collagen is much longer (about 4 to 6 months), so you need to be patient.

Bottom line, if you’ve invested in quality products, give them a chance, don’t give up too quick. This is especially important when using a retinol or “anti-aging product”. Time and commitment is the key.

3. Don’t forget the eyes!

This actually should be at the top of my list because it’s the most often forgotten step in skin care. The skin around the eyes is so thin and delicate, and believe it or not, it’s where we show a lot of our age.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to them.

For example, when removing eye makeup, don’t stretch or rub the skin, this can cause wrinkles. Instead, use a cotton ball with your favorite eye makeup remover and hold it on the eye for a few seconds and gently wipe off.

Second, break out the over-sized shades! They aren’t only to make you look fabulous but they can really make all the difference in protecting our eyes from the sun’s damaging UV rays. Look for shades that offer more than 95% UV protection. Lenses that offer 100% UV protection may be labeled “UV400.”

Last but certainly not least, EYE CREAM is a must. You may think,”I use moisturizer on my entire face, including my eyes”, but the truth is, the skin round your eyes is much different than the rest of your face. It’s much thinner, wrinkles easier and is a lot harder to restore once the damage has been done. So my advice on this would be, to come about it in a more preventative manner. Botox is great for wrinkles around the eyes but wouldn’t it be nice to wait another 5-10 years before needing it? A good way is to use a hydrating, antioxidant-enriched eye cream.

So save money, time, and youthfulness with these simple steps. Which one have you mistaken in the past? Please share with us.


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.

Exfoliation… How Often is Too Often?

Exfoliation… How Often is Too Often?

Exfoliation… How Often is Too Often?

Let’s face it, we all want beautiful glowing skin and it’s no military secret that exfoliating our skin is the way to get there. The question is,” How often is too often?” In this article, I will share a few tips that will help you determine what is the best exfoliating routine for your specific skin care needs.

First off, let me just say that there is no one miracle exfoliating treatment that works for all skin types. It just doesn’t work that way–we are all unique individuals made with different skin types, colors, textures and so on. There are many factors to keep in mind when choosing an exfoliant such as what time of year it is or what type of skin you have—even how old you are. How often you exfoliate depends on your skin type and condition, but as a general rule, one to three times a week is a safe frequency.

Basically it is a process of finding out what works best with your skin. As long as you don’t over-dry or over-sensitize the skin, you are on the right track. Remember DON’T OVERDO IT!

So how does exfoliating work?

There are two ways to exfoliate the skin–one method is mechanical, the other is a chemical, both are very affective to improve the skin.

Mechanical exfoliation is essentially a scrubbing action at the skin’s surface and includes physical scrubs, brushes, sponges, washcloths, and microdermabrasion. This is great for most skin types but should be avoided by those with active and inflamed acne or very sensitive skin. Always be careful when choosing a scrub. Many contain ground nutshells, coffee bean, apricot kernels, or something of the like. These sharp abrasives can cause microscopic tears in the skin, leaving you with a compromised barrier function of the skin. Look for the terms “spheres” or “beads” in the product name or description; these are rounded and gentler to the skin. Mechanical exfoliation is best for:

  • Normal skin
  • Combination skin
  • Dry skin
  • Oily skin
  • Aging skin

Chemical exfoliation loosens the glue that holds skin cells together, allowing them to be sloughed off the skin’s surface with ease. Examples are alpha hydroxy acids, beta-hydroxy acids and retinoids. Chemical peels performed by a skin care professional fall under this category with a variety that covers pretty much every skin type. Mature skin types are often better off with chemical exfoliation, because the skin tends to be more dry and thin, and chemical exfoliation won’t cause any scratches in the skin’s surface.

Enzymes, a type of chemical exfoliation—I like to think of them as little pacman that break down the layer of dead cells. Papain (Papaya), Bromelain (Pineapple) and Bacillus Ferment all eat away at dead skin cells, revealing the healthier skin underneath. (Keep this in mind the next time you have irritated gums after eating pineapple…you have just exfoliated your mouth!)

The Benefits of Exfoliation:

* Improves skin texture (smoother & softer, helps maintain hydration level of the epidermis – definitely a huge help to makeup application, it’s always important to start with a clean canvas!)

* Reduces the look of dark spots on the skin and wrinkles.

* Eases deep pore cleansing, extractions, product penetration, and more effective delivery of ingredients into the skin. * Increases cell turnover rate – and brings new cells to the surface faster.

* Exfoliating the body can prevent ingrown hairs that happen during shaving or waxing *Exfoliating the side of the arms can improve Keratosis Pilaris(heat bumps).

Now for the real question, How often is too often?

Exfoliation delivers a tighter, firmer, smoother look and feel of skin. Because of this, many of us get a little carried away: an over-zealous approach that can actually reduce skin’s vitality and make it more vulnerable to damage from UV light (sunlight). Over-exfoliation triggers an inflammatory response, leading to a compromised barrier of the skin that won’t function properly, a sensitized skin condition, and premature aging.

Red flags when over exfoliating:

•    Noticeable dehydration

•    Patchy areas of dryness

•    Skin tautness

•    Redness and itchiness

•    Increased sensitivity

•    Inflammatory acne and irritation

If you’re showing the signs of over-exfoliation, speak with a professional skin therapist as myself, we can prescribe a calming cleanser, and a protective moisturizer to start the recovery process. Sun protection is a must: wear a sunblock with physical UV blockers Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide that won’t irritate skin.

After skin recovery, begin exfoliating with a gentle exfoliant. If you desire a more intense level of exfoliation, ask your skin therapist what fits you best. Pair a gentler regimen with professional exfoliation treatments from your skin care professional to enjoy smoother skin without the undesirable side effects.

Bottom line, whichever skin type you have, embrace it and know that you can be confident in your own skin.  These tips I shared with you will help you reveal its full potential and continually improve the look of it.



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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