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Pregnancy Skin Q & A With Liyuan Ji | Mother’s Day 2023

Shiri Feldman

Quotes by Liyuan Ji

May 14, 2023

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May 14th is Mother’s Day, a celebration of the women who brought life into this world. In honor of this special occasion, our team interviewed Liyuan Ji, Revea’s formulation chemist, who recently gave birth to her first! In this post, Liyuan gives us the inside scoop on how to handle various skin changes during pregnancy and postpartum.  

Pregnancy Skin Q & A with Liyuan Ji 

Here, in her own words, Liyuan Ji, our formulation chemist breaks down the changes in her skin she and many women experience while expecting and after giving birth. She also provides her top skin ingredient and a few product recommendations that helped along her journey. 

Q: Did your skin really glow during pregnancy? If so, what causes the “pregnancy glow”? A: Yes, for a period of time during my second trimester (weeks 13 - 28) I noticed that my skin was extra radiant!  When hormones are really ramping up, the body produces more estrogen and progesterone, which increases blood flow to the skin and stimulates the production of sebum, our skin’s natural lubricant. With an increase in the amount of oil produced, the skin appears brighter.  Q: What positive and negative skin changes did you experience during your pregnancy?  A: On the plus side, my skin looked healthier and more radiant due to my fluctuating estrogen and progesterone levels as well as the increase in blood flow to my skin. On the downside, I experienced severe acne due to increased androgen production (I was carrying a baby boy). 

Q: What are some common skin changes one should prepare for during pregnancy? A: As an expecting mom, your skin may change due to hormonal fluctuations and increased blood flow. Common pregnancy skin conditions include oiliness, acne, hyperpigmentation, stretch marks, and varicose veins. However, it’s important to remember that every pregnancy is different, so try not to compare your experience to anyone else's!

Q: What are some common skin changes moms should prepare for postpartum? A: After giving birth, it’s common to experience additional skin changes as the body transitions back to its pre-pregnancy state. Postpartum skin changes include acne, dryness, oiliness, dark under-eye circles, and stretch marks. Hormonal changes and the physical demands involved in caring for a newborn may also contribute to tired, dull-looking skin. It can take some time for the skin to fully recover postpartum, so being patient and kind to yourself is key.

Q: How can expecting moms combat hyperpigmentation & maintain an even skin tone throughout pregnancy? A: Hyperpigmentation is a skin condition that many expecting moms experience during pregnancy. To maintain an even skin tone and combat hyperpigmentation, be sure to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily with an SPF of 30-50 to protect your skin from further damage. Also, try to avoid spending prolonged periods in the sunlight.  I also recommend incorporating antioxidant-rich foods into your diet, such as berries, leafy greens, and nuts. It’s also important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

Q: How can expecting moms minimize the presence of hormonal acne during pregnancy? A: While acne during pregnancy can be particularly frustrating, it's important to remember that hormonal changes are a natural, and sometimes inevitable part of pregnancy. That said, there are a few things you can do to help minimize the presence of hormonal acne.  Firstly, be sure to stick to a consistent skincare routine that includes gentle, non-comedogenic topicals. Avoid using any harsh or abrasive scrubs that could further irritate your skin. Remember to consult with your OB before using any new products during pregnancy as well.  Additionally, try to manage your stress levels through relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation, as stress can exacerbate hormonal acne.  By sticking to a  consistent skincare regimen and making healthy lifestyle choices, you can help minimize the presence of hormonal acne and maintain healthy, glowing skin throughout your pregnancy.

Q: What products/ingredients do you recommend for expecting moms to minimize the appearance of stretch marks?  A: Stretch marks are a common concern for many expecting moms, but it's important to remember that they are highly dependent on genetics and may not be entirely preventable. However, there are some products and ingredients that can help minimize their appearance. I recommend looking for topicals that contain ingredients like vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, and centella asiatica, which help promote skin elasticity and hydration.  Additionally, consider using a body oil or cream that contains natural, ultra-nourishing ingredients like squalane, shea butter, and jojoba oil.  It's also important to maintain a healthy diet and stay hydrated to promote overall skin health! Gaining weight at a steady pace throughout your pregnancy can help reduce the likelihood of developing stretch marks (rapid weight gain can cause the skin to stretch too quickly).  Ultimately, there's no guaranteed way to prevent stretch marks, but incorporating these ingredients and living a healthy lifestyle can help minimize their appearance and support healthy, glowing skin throughout your pregnancy.

Q: What skincare ingredients & products should expecting moms avoid?

A: Avoid harsh and harmful ingredients (we have a full list here). And no matter if you are an expecting mom or not, always stay away from formaldehyde, phthalates, or high alcohol content products! It’s also important to avoid retinoids which are commonly found in anti-aging and acne treatments during pregnancy, as they have been linked to birth defects.  Additionally, chemical sunscreens may contain ingredients that can be absorbed into the bloodstream and potentially harm the developing fetus, so opt for physical sunscreens instead.  Other ingredients that can be potentially harmful during pregnancy include hydroquinone and benzoyl peroxide.  Be sure to consult with your OB-GYN before trying any new products during your pregnancy! 

Q: What skincare ingredients & products should expecting moms embrace? A: Expecting moms should look for skincare products that are gentle, hydrating, and nourishing during pregnancy. I also recommend keeping your skincare routine as simple as possible!  Ingredients like vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin promote skin brightness and hydration, while antioxidants like Gamma-oryzanol, green tea, and chamomile can help protect the skin from environmental stressors. Natural ingredients like aloe vera and shea butter can also be soothing and ultra-hydrating to the skin. 

Q: Can expecting moms use prescription topicals like clindamycin during pregnancy?

A: Topical clindamycin and similar prescriptions like erythromycin are considered safe during all trimesters of pregnancy and lactation.  However, since studies addressing the effects of chronic use are unavailable, it is safer to avoid them.  Always discuss the use of prescription topicals with your doctor first to ensure they’re safe for you and your developing baby.

Q: What other skin changes should new & expecting moms be prepared for? A: In addition to the changes we discussed above, skin dryness, itchiness, and sensitivity are also common.  It's important to remember that these changes are normal, usually temporary, and that there are steps that can be taken to help minimize their appearance and discomfort. By practicing good skincare habits and seeking medical advice when necessary, new and expecting moms can experience healthy, glowing skin throughout their pregnancy journey.  Interested in helpful tips and advanced information about skincare? Follow us on Instagram @myrevea and sign up for our e-newsletter (we promise not to spam you!).