These are pink or reddish streaks that run down the abdomen. Stretch marks occur in 80 to 90 per cent of all pregnant women.
This skin change is referred to the mask of pregnancy. Dark, splotchy spots appear on your face due to increased pigmentation – a common hormonal effect caused by pregnancy. The most common areas affected are the forehead, upper cheeks, nose and chin.
Pimple breakouts and acne
And you thought your pimple days were behind you! The extra hormone secretion that occur during pregnancy causes oil glands to produce excess oil and can cause breakouts.
These are bluish veins that appear on your legs during pregnancy. They occurs because your body is compensating for the extra blood flow to the baby. If you have a family history of varicose veins, you’re more likely to experience them.
But there is hope! Here's what can you do to deal with these skin changes:
1. Moisturize with vitamin E oil
To minimize the effects of stretch marks and to reduce the itchiness of your stomach, apply vitamin E oil or lotion. It can be found in most health food stores and can be applied topically.
2. Opt for Vitamin C rich foods
Vitamin C is involved in collagen production and protects cells from free radical damage. Scientific studies found that when lab animals ate vitamin C-fortified food, their skin was better able to fight off oxidative damage. Boost your skin's vitamin C stores by eating plenty of vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Good sources include peppers (red/green/yellow), oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, lemons, and broccoli.
Page 1 of 2 -- Learn about the importance of Omega-3 fatty acids on page 2
3. Eat Omega 3 essential fats
In addition to helping boost brain function and development for your growing baby, omega 3 fats are also excellent for your skin.
Omega 3 fats can help to reduce the look of fine lines and increase elasticity of the skin. Food sources of omega 3 include oily fish like salmon and tuna, fortified foods such as omega 3 eggs, bread or juice, plus dark green vegetables, flaxseeds and walnuts. Keep in mind certain fish can be toxic due to contaminants such as mercury. This is why it is important to limit the consumption of fish such as shark, swordfish, tile fish, king mackerel and tuna steaks.
In terms of canned tuna, light tuna contains less mercury than white tuna. In 2007, Health Canada stated women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as young children, should limit the amount of canned albacore tuna they eat. While tuna does not have to be eliminated entirely, the recommendations for women who are or who may become pregnant, or who are breastfeeding is to eat up to four Canada Food Guide-sized servings of canned albacore tuna each week. (One Canada Food Guide-sized serving is 75g, 2 ½ oz, 125 ml, or ½ cup.) If you wish to exercise extra caution, stick to canned light tuna, which comes from other species such as skipjack, yellowfin and tonogol. These species are relatively low in mercury.
4. Water yourself down
Well-hydrated and healthy skin stretches better. Drinking water will hydrate the skin and reduce the signs of aging. Squeezing fresh lemon into your water is also an effective step to improving overall health, digestion (which can be sluggish while pregnant) and skin. Lemon acts as a natural astringent in the body.
5. Move it!
In order to decrease the odds of developing varicose veins, it is important to walk as much as possible to improve blood flow and blood return to the heart. It is not necessary to run, rather a brisk outdoor walk or walk on a treadmill for 30 minutes each day will do. Other tips to promote healthy circulation are to place a pillow under your feet, keep them elevated and avoid gaining excess weight while pregnant.
In addition to the tips above, try to exfoliate your skin once a week with a natural scrub such as an oatmeal-based facial scrub. Follow up with a hydrating moisturizing cream and a vitamin C serum for optimal results.
By following the simple steps above, you can achieve healthy and beautiful looking skin while pregnant and as a new mom!
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Dr. Joey Shulman DC is the author of the national best seller The Last 15 – A Weight Loss Breakthrough (Wiley, 2007). She is also founder of The Shulman Weight Loss Clinic. For more information, please visit www.drjoey.com.