The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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The dry air and cranked-up radiator have sapped the natural, protective oils right out of your skin.
Simple Solution: Take advantage of the indoors with a soothing shower or soak. “Keep your showers lukewarm and 10 minutes or shorter,” recommends Kaufman. And though we probably don’t need to tell you to avoid hot baths during pregnancy (we assume your obstetrician-gynecologist did the honors), we’ll remind you just in case: Aside from robbing your skin of moisture, a steamy soak may cause you and, more important, your baby, to overheat. On the other hand, a tub-full of lukewarm, oil-enhanced water is a great way to rehydrate your skin. But since the oil can make the bathtub slippery, be extremely careful getting in and out.
As if your other skin complaints weren’t enough, your cold-weather pallor has become the perfect canvas for the new, pregnancy-induced dark splotches on your face.
Simple Solution: Think summer. While sunscreen and self-tanner may not be on your mental radar screen just yet, they should be. “Melasma [the mask of pregnancy] is exacerbated by sun exposure,” says Kaufman. The sun you’re exposed to in the cooler months can do as much damage as those warm-weather rays, so cover up every time you leave the house.
If your goal is to mask the mask, try using a self-tanner (a product that’s generally considered safe during pregnancy because the dyeing agent affects only the top few layers of skin). Apply the faux glow all over your face, ears and neck — not just to the areas where your skin is lighter — to even out your complexion. Although skin lighteners may seem like a tempting option, don’t use them while you’re pregnant or nursing. If, however, the mask persists for three months or longer post nursing, give whiteners a whirl.