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  • Pregnancy Skin Care Dos and Don’ts

    Pregnant

    The body goes through many changes during pregnancy and the skin is no exception. Skin changes occur in about 90% of pregnant women in one form or another; and Mom-to-be’s will have some pressing skin care questions on ingredients and treatments.

    There are many opinions between doctors and different studies with varying information, so it’s imperative that your clients consult with their physician prior to the use of skin care products and receiving treatments.

    Here are three of the most commonly asked questions by professional skin therapists when it comes to treating pregnant clients.

    1.  Can I use Salicylic Acid?

    This Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) is an excellent exfoliant and can be used to treat acne. In high concentrations it is considered a risk during pregnancy and should be avoided, especially in professional resurfacing. Small percentages used in skin care (for example less than 2% in a wash off) are considered safe.

    2.  What about the use of aromatherapy?

    It’s recommended to avoid using essential oils during the first trimester. This topic is controversial between practitioners and there are varying opinions to safety, however, it depends on the type of oil and dilution. Usually approved non-toxic blends around 1-2% dilution are considered safe for body massage and skin products. Hydro-essentials, which are water-soluble fractions of the essential oil, are safe as they do not penetrate the blood stream. Your client should consult her doctor before any essential oil use.

    3.  Can I use technology in my treatment room?

    The use of electrical modalities is not recommended, which includes Galvanic, High Frequency, Microcurrent, Ultrasonic and Laser. Microdermabrasion has mixed expert reviews, with most stating to use with caution. We would not use microdermabrasion over aggravated acne or dilated capillaries. Be mindful when using it on hyperpigmented skin as causing more inflammation can make this condition worse.

    This handy ingredient checklist (below) can help you decipher the dos and don’ts when treating pregnant clients. When in doubt, have your client discuss their skin care options with their OBGYN and/or general physician if they are currently pregnant, nursing or considering pregnancy in the near future. Always work with caution if the client is in her first trimester and/or has had complications with her pregnancy or previous pregnancies. If she opts to avoid certain ingredients and/or products, the best course of action is to honor her choice. What is most important is that we help the new mother achieve her skin care goals safely and effectively.

    Pregnancy Yes and Nos

  • The Hows and Whys of Stretch Marks

    As temperatures rise and summer vacations get booked our attention shifts to our body. The prospect of showing a lot more skin and getting into that cute floral two piece can bring on mixed emotions, from extreme anxiety to a healthy dose of motivation to sign up for barre class. But while we know how to flatten tummies and perk up our glutes, solutions for treating and preventing stretch marks may remain a mystery. This is also a common issue among your expecting clients.

    What are Stretch Marks and Why do We Get Them?

    Affecting as many as 90% of women and known as “striae,” stretch marks are a form of scarring that occur in the dermis as a result of collagen and elastin fibers being unable to form to keep rapidly growing skin taut. This creates a lack of supportive material, as the skin is stretched and leads to dermal and epidermal tearing. Appendages like hair follicles, sweat glands and other structures are absent in areas affected by stretch marks.

    Stretch marks typically appear after rapid weight gain or loss, and the most common sites include the breasts, buttocks, thighs and lateral abdomen. They are most common during pregnancy and the teen years, when growth spurts and increased levels of steroid hormones cause substantial changes throughout the body. Stretch marks can also be brought on by weight lifting and over use of steroids like cortisone, which thins the skin and connective tissues, making it susceptible to tears. Like cellulite, there are hormonal and genetic factors, as some people are more prone than others. If your mother had them then it’s likely that you will have them too.

    Stretch marks are, sadly, not easy to treat. Once they have passed the initial stage of appearing pink, red or purple, to the later stage of looking white or silver with deeper indentations, they are much more challenging. However they can be prevented to some degree which is good news for your pregnant clients.

    Tips to Avoid Stretch Marks:

    • Avoid rapid weight gain and loss.

    • For best results treat stretch marks when they first appear pink and are early in development.

    • Moisturize 3-4 times a day to help the skin to become more pliant, hydrated and better able to stretch. Look for skin products that contain Vitamin E, Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter, Omega 3s, Wheat Germ Oil, Gamma Linoleic Acid and Hylauronic Acid. Massage into breasts, belly, hips, and buttocks.

    • Post pregnancy, or for non-pregnant clients, ingredients like Retinol, Lactic Acid, derivatives of Vitamin C (i.e. Ascorbic Acid and Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate) and protein boosting peptides can also help repair stretch marks.

    • Zinc and Vitamin E supplements are recommended by some doctors and health practitioners.

    • Laser resurfacing and fractional lasers, when combined with Retinoic Acid, are commonly used by dermatologists to treat and remove stretch marks, though there are no guarantees that they will be removed completely.

    Remember it’s our imperfections that make us unique, and a great swimsuit, fabulous sunhat and confident stride go along way!