The cold days are here, the winds are whipping, and the sun seems to be in hibernation. Harsh winter weather can do a number on your skin — not to mention what pregnancy contributes to the equation. Here are tips and tools you need to keep your beautiful glow.
Winter Woe: The Itch
“High winds and low humidity can make for a bad case of winter itch,” says Andrew Kaufman, M.D., a dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Factor in the itchiness that comes from an expanding belly (the fracturing of the skin’s collagen bonds can cause inflammation and, consequently, itching), and you’re dealing with some seriously irritated skin.
Simple Solution: A rich balm or oil, applied three to four times a day. Ask your doctor about prescription itch reducers if an over-the-counter cream doesn’t work within a week or two.
Winter Woe: Breakouts
You used to count on the cold weather to give you a break from breakouts, but thanks to your hormones, this winter could be unseasonably oily. And with warm weather ahead, your skin could be in for its slickest season yet.
Simple Solution: While many doctors recommend that you stay away from some of the traditional anti-acne treatments (benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid), all experts insist that you stay away from vitamin A derivatives (Retin A, Renova, Accutane, Retinols), as this group of ingredients has been linked to birth defects. But alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), particularly glycolic acids, get the green light from all but the most conservative docs.
“For women whose skin gets greasier during pregnancy — and it’s a flip of the coin which way a woman will go — I find glycolic acids to be a lifesaver,” says David E. Bank, a Mount Kisco, N.Y., dermatologist. Incorporate these naturally derived, exfoliating skin clearers into your daily routine by choosing an AHA-based wash or toner.
Winter Woe: Sore Feet
Never have your feet taken such a beating. They’re most likely tired, swollen beyond recognition and — with winter’s skin-parching air — none too soft.
Simple Solution: While we’re awfully impressed if you can still reach your feet, this is the time to have someone else tend to your tootsies. Get daddy-to-be (or a good friend) to work a revitalizing lotion into your legs and feet. Or give yourself the gift of a professional pedicure. But keep these advisories in mind: If the nail technician incorporates reflexology into the service, make sure she knows which areas of the feet to avoid, says Peggy Wynne Borgman, director of Preston Wynne Spa in Saratoga, Calif., and a spa.com advisory board member; stimulating certain pressure points has been reputed to induce labor. Also be aware that some essential oils may cause low blood pressure during pregnancy, so check with your doctor before incorporating any of them into foot or other treatments.