Simple habits for healthy skin during pregnancy and beyond
As I near the third trimester of pregnancy, hormonal shifts, and change in seasons has compelled me to take greater care of my skin. Adopting a minimalist approach to caring for my face and body has helped me cultivate a series of small practices that fit into even the busiest days. Over the years, I have learned that simple is best for caring for my skin. Committing to just a few holistic practices ensures that I can keep up with my habits in the long-term.
If you're anything like me and like to track your habits, finding an app (like today) or logging your habits in a daily journal may help to establish new behaviors over time.
My simple habits for healthy skin during pregnancy
Drink 2 - 3 L of water every day.
Our skin is our bodies largest organ, and just like any other part of the body, it is made up of cells. Like every other cell in the body, our skin cells are composed of water, and without enough water, our organs will not function at their best.
It is often recommended that the average adult drink up to 8 glasses of water per day. Keeping to this habit ensures our digestive and circulatory systems function properly, which in turn supports our bodies' ability to detoxify naturally.
When our inner body is healthy, it shows on our outward appearance. In fact, recent studies have revealed that drinking just two cups of water can increase blood flow to the skin, which gives it an even tone.
Side note for expecting mums: According to the Institute of Medicine, pregnant women's bodies demand more water than the average adult. With this said, pregnant women (myself included) should drink at least ten 8-ounce glasses of water per day. When you're breastfeeding, that daily intake should increase to thirteen 8-ounce glasses per day. Dehydration can lead to lower levels of amniotic fluid, which can influence the baby's development, lead to preterm labor, and affect breast milk production. Dehydration can cause deficiencies in vital nutrients for the health of the pregnant woman and the developing baby.
Believe me when I say I know how hard it can be to drink enough water, especially when a little human is pushing on your bladder. I like to infuse my drinks with herbs and produce to keep my tastebuds interested. Try experimenting with a squeeze of lime, a few sprigs of mint, crushed raspberries and or sliced cucumber.
Seek 10 minutes of sunlight a day.
Vitamin D is a hormone that communicates with your other hormones, making it especially essential to naturally balance hormones. Our bodies need the sun's light to naturally synthesize vitamin D, which in turn supports skin regeneration, helping to evade premature aging and minor irritation.
Eat a varied diet of whole foods, with an emphasis on quality plants and proteins.
Pregnancy has been a chance for me to consciously re-evaluate my diet and abandon any self-imposed dietary restrictions to ensure my body receives the full range of nutrients needed for my child's healthy development. Eating everything in moderation, with an emphasis on quality plants and proteins, has not only benefited the health of my growing baby but has also improved my overall "glow".
Every week, I try to consume a mostly plant-based diet abundant in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole-grains, and plant oils. Five to six times a week, I alternate between bone broth, organic meats, and wild salmon at lunch and/or dinner to ensure that my body receives a variety of different proteins and amino acids that help with the development of babies' muscles, bones, and organs. It is the naturally occurring vitamins, essential fatty acids, and collagen within my diet that keep my skin looking elastic and supple.
Don't over-cleanse - focus on quality, not frequency.
Use a high-quality, non-abrasive cleanser in the morning and evening. Look for non-toxic alternatives that don't strip the skin of its natural oils. If your skin is overly sensitive and most cleansers dry it out, try cleansing with a blend of jojoba Simmondsia chinensis L. and apricot Prunus armeniaca L. seed oil (1:2).
During summer I like to keep hydrosols (floral waters) in the fridge for a refreshing and healing mist that comforts while it hydrates the skin. My favourites are rose otto Rosa damascena L. and calendula Calendula officinalis L.
Moisturize two to three times a day with an emollient balm or plant oil.
Emollient simply means a deeply-penetrating moisturizer that softens skin by preserving the skin's natural moisture. Many natural waxes, butters, and high-quality plant oils possess emollient properties. Right now, I love using Jera's Simply Balm, and a home blend of sweet almond Prunus dulcis L., macadamia Macadamia ternifolia L., and jojoba Simmondsia chinensis L. oil (2:2:1) that I massage onto my face and bump in the morning and evening.
Despite popular belief, you don't need to sweat to reap the benefits of movement. If I've learned anything during this pregnancy journey, even the lightest of activities like gentle walking and yoga can help to stimulate circulation that does wonders for your outward complexion.