Skincare Advice I Wish I Had Known

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As you probably know, I recently launched Lovemade, and together with my biz partner, Janette, we are so excited to host our first workshop for pregnant women on 9/27! We’ve been working hard on this and wanting to share an experience where our moms (especially our first-time moms) can learn, connect, and indulge. It’s going to be so much fun! The gift bag alone, a.k.a as our New Moms Care Package (value $400+), makes it all worth it, if I dare say so myself. But honestly, this workshop is so much more! If you are pregnant or have friends who are, it’s not too late to sign upmakes a great baby shower gift too!

One of the things I remembered being pregnant was that I wanted to be pampered ALL the time! My body was constantly tired and my skin was not at its best. After all, I was growing a baby inside and my hormones were out of whack. So when it came to curating the gift bags for our pregnant moms, it was a no brainer to include a gift certificate from one of my best-loved spas in SF, International OrangeI’m a little jealous I’m not pregnant right now, haha! 

While I was on a visit to International Orange and telling them about Lovemade, the topic of unsafe skincare products during pregnancy came up. This was one of those subjects I knew little about during my first pregnancy. It never crossed my mind that a product containing salicylic acid could be harmful to my baby (among other common ingredients). That was something I discovered later when I actually started following sites like Baby Center. But seriously, who would’ve known if they had never been pregnant before?!

I wish I had a professional telling me what to do or what to avoid. Good news for you new mamas is that I was able to interview International Orange’s Lead and Esthetician Manager, Jennifer Gallegos, on addressing some of these concerns we may have during pregnancy and early motherhood.

Before we get started, I do have an exciting news that International Orange is offering all my readers 20% OFF on their products with promo code: SST20. Shop their finest natural and organic beauty goods online and in-store (2044 Fillmore Street) throughout September and get discounts to some of my favorite brands like Arcona, In Fiore, Skinceuticals, Malin + Goetz and RGB Cosmetics. Go ahead, treat yo’self! :)

Now, let’s get the interview started, shall we?

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SST: Is it normal that my skin changes during pregnancy and/or post pregnancy? Why?

IO: Short answer, yes. Saying how it will change though is hard to generalize, because everyone’s skin is so different. I’ve seen women with problematic skin get a nine-month reprieve during pregnancy, while some women with perfect skin end up battling acne. I don’t have to state the obvious, but your body is making a human! :) 

All kinds of chemical and hormonal changes are taking place that can affect your skin. One common issue is Melasma, commonly called pregnancy mask. Hormonal changes cause the body to create excess melanin resulting in brown patches on the face.

So, long answer, hope for the perfect skin but know that acne or Melasma are normal issues to face.

SST: What skincare products are safe to use during pregnancy?

IO: It’s always best to consult with your doctor, but generally, products are considered safe during pregnancy as long as they do not contain vitamin A (retinoic acid, retinol, retinyl palmitate, retinaldehyde) or salicylic acid (beta hydroxyl acid, BHA, willow bark extract).

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SST: Any skincare tips for the body, especially around the abdomen during pregnancy? What about after pregnancy?

IO: Although I haven’t heard of anything that magically addresses stretch marks, it’s always good to keep your skin hydrated using lotions, oils or balms.

In Fiore body balms are all-over moisturizers that nourish and promote long-term skin health. Try massaging In Fiore Tiagi Body Balm or In Fiore Dayala Body Balm into your skin after a shower, focusing on your belly, breasts and hips – areas that often change quickly causing itchiness and stretch marks. The balm will soothe the skin and keep it looking supple and smooth.

Tiagi Body Balm contains Neroli, which is known to help with stretch marks and skin elasticity and Lavender, which helps with mental exhaustion, swelling, and scar tissue formation. Dayala Body Balm features Jasmine, which is great for post-partum depression, headaches, low back and muscle pain and Lemongrass, which helps with irritability, tired feet and legs, morning fatigue and lack of muscle tone.

Also In Fiore Fleur Vibrante, which I mentioned above as a moisturizer, is an additional layer you can supplement with, as an added treatment for stretch marks.

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The beautiful yoga studio at International Orange.

SST: Can you share a skincare routine that I can stick to during pregnancy and to early motherhood? 

IO: A good skincare routine nourishes, regenerates, and protects your skin. A potent antioxidant serum from Skinceuticals or iSClinical, such as the Pro-Heal Serum or the Super Serum, is a great place to start. These Vitamin C treatments can be applied before you daytime moisturizer to give you a second layer of protection from the sun and prevent free radical damage. They are also anti-inflammatory and can lighten hyperpigmentation.

Chemical exfoliation is another crucial component. Alpha hydroxy acids and fruit enzymes are a safe way to speed up cell renewal and keep your pores clear and skin bright.

For example:

AM: Cleanse, Apply Antioxidant serum, Moisturize, SPF

PM: Cleanse, Alternate a chemical exfoliant with a moisturizer

Which moisturizer you use will really depend on whether your skin is dry or oily. Drier skin can use luscious goodies like the In Fiore Crème De Fleur, In Fiore Calme Oil or In Fiore Fleur Vibrante. Oilier skin can use quenching products like Arcona Magic White Ice or a healing treatment like Dr. Alkaitis Soothing Gel.

One product that is a must have for any new mom is the Preserve Skincare Orange Blossom Face Cleansing and Hydrating Pads. When time for yourself is slim, these pads are an easy way to get your entire AM or PM routine accomplished in one easy step!

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SST: What can I do to keep that pregnancy glow after having a baby? 

IO: Exfoliation is the easiest way to prolong the glow. Gentle mechanical scrubs like the Arcona Golden Grain Gommage and In Fiore Lustra can buff the surface while chemical exfoliants like Arcona Gentle Solution and In Fiore Lucense can refine, stimulate and brighten.

Generally, you can use scrubs and chemical exfoliants 2-4 times a week for best results. Exfoliation will also help you get more out of your serums and moisturizes because their active ingredients will be able to penetrate the skin more effectively.

SST: I’m always rubbing my faces against my children. Should I be cautious about what moisturizers I should be using around my kids? 

IO: This one is a tough one as it’s hard to predict each child’s sensitivities and in general when products are applied properly and allowed to full absorb into the skin, there usually isn’t an issue. However using “clean” and simple moisturizers (such as the ones I mentioned previously) that are void of unnecessary fillers or irritants are a good bet. One additional consideration is also to check your chemical exfoliant, which are nighttime products.

A short and simple ingredient list will not only help you identify what may be an irritant (if at all), but also is good for you, as often times adult skin can get irritated by complicated, synthetic ingredients – which are the ones that are hard to pronounce or that you don’t recognize!

This is so helpful! Many thanks to International Orange and their Lead and Esthetician Manager, Jennifer Gallegos, for answering all of our concerns, and also to Marketing + Brand Manager, Leslie Su, for supporting Lovemade!

Friends, don’t forget to take advantage of the 20% OFF at IO’s retail boutique (online and in-store). Promo code: SST20. Ends 9/30!

INTERNATIONAL ORANGE, 2044 Fillmore Street, SF, Lower Pac Heights

xo Jeanne

Image credit: 12-45