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Stretch marks and pregnancy-safe skincare with Dr Punam Krishan

Posted on August 05 2021

When you’re a mother-to-be, everything needs extra attention, from what goes in your body to what you put on your skin. Immediate changes would be to cut out caffeine and alcohol, but can you still continue with your regular beauty routine? Which beauty products are still safe for use? How can you prevent the appearance of those dreaded stretch marks?


We chat with Glasgow-based NHS doctor and general practitioner Dr Punam Krishan (@drpunamkrishan) for more on the beauty products that are safe to slather on your skin, dealing with stretch marks and other issues like melasma, dermatitis, varicose veins, and acne.


What skincare step should be included in the everyday routine during pregnancy?

There are countless creams and lotions on the market which claim that they prevent, reduce or can stop the development of stretch marks. Sadly, there is not much evidence to back these claims. What you can do, however, to help keep skin in good health during pregnancy is to moisturize daily with natural, organic oil. My favourites are coconut oil and shea butter.


Avoid anything that has chemicals that advocate anti-ageing. Drink more water as well, as it can help with keeping your skin bright and taut. Along with this, eat a healthy, predominantly plant-based diet, make sure you are getting plenty of sleep, and do some exercises daily. These will all help achieve healthy skin, especially during pregnancy.


When can we resume the pre-pregnancy skincare routine?

It’s not safe to use these products or treatments during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Avoid using too many chemicals on you in the early weeks of a newborn’s life. Babies absorb very easily through their skin and it’s essential to try to remain as chemical-free around the baby as possible. If you are using products containing potent chemicals, it could result in the baby developing a reaction or sensitive skin. Continue with daily moisturizing and keep your lifestyle as clean as possible, avoiding caffeine, alcohol, smoking and processed and sugary foods.


Is it safe to undergo beauty treatments during pregnancy?


The focus during pregnancy should be to try to remain as chemical-free as possible, as many ingredients in beauty products can be absorbed into the system and become toxic to the baby. As always, it’s more important to keep yourself nourished from within. Stay hydrated, eat a diet incorporating a diverse range of fruits and vegetables, and take your recommended vitamins including folic acid and vitamin D. Sleep also has a significant impact on the skin, so make sure you are resting as much as possible.


There are treatments that can help lessen the appearance of stretch marks, but those must be reserved until after pregnancy. Give your body at least 6 months to heal and for you to see how your body returns to normal. Healthy weight loss after pregnancy can also help to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and varicose veins naturally. If you’re breastfeeding, beauty treatments are a no-go until you stop, and consult a doctor before opting to try them.


Do genetics play a role in pregnancy stretch marks?

Stretch marks tend to appear when the skin is stretched quite quickly, like weight gain, puberty and typically during pregnancy, where hormones can also play an essential role. The tendency to develop stretch marks actually depends on your skin type rather than genetics. The less elastic the skin, the more likely you are develop stretch marks. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to prevent stretch marks, but taking care of your skin with lifestyle adjustments can contribute to healthier-looking skin in the long term.


Do stretch marks go away if you lose weight? How long will it take for stretch marks to fade?


The answer would be yes, but it’s important to have a steady weight management plan and to not lose weight dramatically. They do fade in the majority of cases, but this is also dependent on factors such as skin type, age and skin elasticity.


What treatments or natural-remedies can help to ease issues like melasma, dermatitis, varicose veins, and pregnancy acne?

There aren’t any treatments that can cure these, which is why I advocate staying hydrated and having a balanced diet. For conditions like dermatitis, fragrance-free emollients will work well.


Often melasma and pregnancy acne will ease over time as the hormones readjust and return to normal. Avoid using too many over-the-counter products; your skin also has a postpartum journey, so allow time for it to heal.


Often varicose veins ease over time. You can also workout and do some exercises to speed up the process. If they become painful or infected, you must see your doctor.


I’m not an advocate for spending on products because they’re often not needed, but I believe in empowering women to take control of their lifestyle habits. It plays a vital role in helping ease conditions and skin issues both during and after pregnancy.


Relevant Reads: Beauty Tools and Accessories for Busy Mums

Credits: Article from Beaubit, Photo by Pavel Danilyuk, lucas mendes


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