Thursday, 31 March 2016

How to Acheive Glowing Skin During Pregnancy

This is my second pregnancy. My first was plague by irritated, bumpy skin in the third trimester and horribly inflammed, rashy and acne-prone skin throughout the first year postpartum. I was miserable.

I am now 37 weeks pregnant and baby could come any day now. And my skin? It is smooth, glowing and possibly the best it has ever looked. I could probably count all the pimples I've had this whole pregnancy on two hands.

Every pregnancy is different so this could just be a fluke, however, I don't believe that's the case at all. A lot of the healing I did to my gut after years of antibiotic abuse has paid off. Because of the nature of the supplements and diet I was on, it was something that had to happen between pregnancies (Berberine is contraindicated during pregnancy and while breastfeeding).

This might seem really discouraging to a pregnant woman landing on my blog because their skin is going nuts and they want to do something about it RIGHT NOW, so I want to add all the things I've been doing this pregnancy that I think have really helped my health, my skin and likely my baby too!

Supplement a healthy diet with whole-food vitamins 

I take Green Pastures fermented cod liver oil/butter oil daily (cinnamon tingle gel). The omega-3s, easily bioavailable Vitamins A&D and Vitamin K2 (butter oil) are great for skin and essential for my baby's brain and eye development. During my last pregnancy I took omega-3s only. I'm sure they were beneficial to a degree, but that was before I knew about the healing benefits of whole-food supplements over synthetic or processed varieties.

I also take magnesium citrate for regularity and muscle function. This has helped mediate those painful leg cramps that crop up during pregnancy.

To make sure I'm getting enough heme iron, vitamin B12, vitamin A, choline and other essential nutrients for baby's growth, I take dessicated grass-fed liver tablets (Perfect brand). No matter how I cook it, I can't stomach the flavour of liver, so the dessicated version is a good solution to eating it every week.

Now that I'm past 36 weeks and on my midwife's recommendation, I've started taking 1,000 mg of Evening Primrose Oil daily to ripen my cervix and get my body ready for labour. This was the one supplement that helped my skin in my last pregnancy too. It's great for hormone regulation as well and is something I continued after the birth of my son. It is important, however, to make sure that you have a good balance of omega-3s in your diet to counteract the high content of omega-6s in EPO which promote inflammation and can contribute to acne.

Drink Red Raspberry Leaf Tea daily in the third trimester

After 28 weeks, my midwife said I could start drinking Red Raspberry Leaf Tea daily. I love the taste of the chilled tea with the juice of one lemon wedge and find it a very refreshing way to start my day. I also find it really helps my skin and reduces inflammation. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea is recommended during late pregnancy as a uterine tonic to shorten labour, but it is also highly nutritious and a good source of magnesium, iron, potassium and B-vitamins. I also drank it daily while trying to conceive as it potentially boosts fertility. Wellness Mama has a good run down of the benefits of RRLT. I will continue drinking RRLT after baby comes and likely for the rest of my life!

Moisturize with oils 

Last pregnancy, I had to stop using my regular Oil of Olay Serum as my skin was reacting to it. Since overhauling my skin care routine when I was diagnosed with Perioral Dermatitis to include more gentle, natural cleansers and oils, I have noticed a big decrease in the oiliness and dryness of my skin (hello, combo skin!). I would attribute this to ending the cycle of treating my skin with nasty and harsh chemicals.

I've been moisturizing for the past year with Rose Hip Oil and I love it. It is packed with Vitamin E, essential fatty-acids, Vitamin C and is light-weight and easily absorbs into my skin.  It is great for smoothing wrinkles and treating hyperpigmentation. For all the skin troubles I've had, I have minimal hyperpigmentation. I'd attribute that partially to the Rose Hip Oil.  Rose Hip Oil needs some help to absorb fully and quickly into the skin, so I'd recommend using a toner prior to application. I use Kosmea Rosewater Mist and give my face a few spritz before following with four drops of the oil. My skin has normalized and is no longer oily nor dry.

I'm washing my face with animal fat

Grapefruit and Lavender Luxury Cleanser
For the past four months I've been cleansing my face primarily with a tallow-based cleanser from The Sweet Living Company. This company is based in my hometown and uses tallow rendered from my grass-fed meat supplier. It doesn't get more local than that!

What is tallow, you ask? Glorious fat! Yes, I am washing my face with animal fat and it's awesome. The tallow in the cleanser I use is made by slowly heating the suet (fat) of grass-fed cows. The result is a high-vitamin oil that is high in Vitamin A, D, K, E and B12, and essential fatty acids that nourish skin.

The cleanser I use is made of tallow whipped with castor oil, and grapefruit, lavender and sweet orange essential oils. It uses the oil-cleansing method to dissolve makeup and dirt from your skin. Since switching to this cleanser, my skin has felt so soft, moisturized and smooth. I no longer feel like I'm stripping the oils while trying to reduce blemishes.

Cut down on sugar consumption. Eliminate it completely. 

This one I've really struggled with. I'm a sugar-addict and though I've been trying really hard this pregnancy to eliminate it completely, I haven't done the best job. I did give up refined-sugar for Lent and was fairly good at avoiding all chocolate and candy, although I did give in and have a muffin or scone from time to time. Sugar is a prime-culprit and if you're struggling with acne this pregnancy, you should probably cut it out completely from your diet. Your skin and baby will thank you!