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Pregnancy is a very special time in a woman’s life.
I’m afraid, approximately by month 6, an average pregnant woman is just about ready to explode if someone says it to her again.
Pregnant women have to give up certain things. Many believe this includes beauty treatments, such as manicures, hair colour, and facials.
In reality, though, pregnant women have very few limitations when it comes to cosmetic skin care.
What should you avoid during pregnancy and why?
Aesthetic surgery will have to wait as well, to no one’s surprise, I hope.
Systemic retinoids, particularly Roaccutane, used in acne treatment are strictly forbidden during pregnancy. Dermatologists always warn women about this and advise not to plan pregnancy for the whole duration of therapy, when issuing a prescription, so this is just a reminder.
Unfortunately, skincare with retinol derivatives is also not recommended.
There is no definitive proof of its ill effects yet, but no proof of the opposite as well. The consensus is that there is an existing risk, however minor, to harm the embryo. Better be on the safe side!
Whitening and brightening solutions with hydroquinone won’t harm the baby.
However, during pregnancy, your skin can become more sensitive and the risk of side effects and complications increases significantly!
Salicylic acid is not recommended either, not only for the same reason but also because its potential toxicity. Sometimes salicylic acid is found in body care solutions, so do pay attention to those as well and if you find it among the ingredients of your body cream, better put it away for later.
Glycolic acid is still debated. Some dermatologists think that it shouldn’t be applied during pregnancy. However, no one says you should avoid all AHAs! Citric, kojic and lactic acids, for example, are safe.
Essential oils are another large group of ingredients to be treated with caution. Yes, they are natural. No, that does not necessarily mean they are safe. The agents they contain have small molecular weight and high volatility, so they may affect your body as a whole. Many oils increase the skin’s sensitivity to UV, and you really don’t need that during pregnancy as the risk of pigmentation is high as it is. Better stay clear of essential oils at this time, except special solutions for skin care during pregnancy. You can use these if you tolerate the fragrance well, as they don’t contain potentially harmful oils.
As a founder of the Meder Beauty skincare brand and a specialist in cosmetic safety, I found it extremely important to create an inclusive skincare range with no limitations for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Being a mother of two kids myself, I still remember how I feel patronised by doctors telling me to “concentrate on your baby”, and “don’t worry about insignificant things like aesthetics”. Meder Beauty skincare doesn’t contain any potentially harmful ingredients and can be used by women at any period of their life. Safety doesn’t mean “less efficient” and we can do both with a new generation of ingredients, such as peptides, pre-and probiotics, bio-fermented and skin-identical ingredients, growth factors and plant stem cell
This paradox leaves us with a certain predicament: during pregnancy and lactation all kinds of injection therapy are strictly contraindicative. Furthermore, many doctors advise giving up the injections at the pregnancy planning stage, so that a woman doesn’t end up receiving treatment when she is already pregnant but doesn’t know about it yet. This means that an average British woman, who had two children between 30 and 40, can’t have any injections for 2–3 years (if we factor in the minimal duration of lactation period).
It looks like, for many women this is one of the unpleasant surprises of pregnancy: on top of the understandable and expected limitations in their social life and diet there is an enforced necessity to tolerate their wrinkles for quite a long time. This is what medical practitioners tell their pregnant clients at the clinics - this is your happy time and all you need to embrace it, is to be less critical towards your reflection in the mirror.
Alas, not all women are capable of such a meek philosophy. Many of them have already gotten used to the idea of relatively easy preservation of a youthful look and it’s not very easy to give it up - especially during pregnancy when undesirable changes in their appearance may be quite noticeable.
Fortunately, we have now alternative methods of wrinkle correction that do not require injections and are therefore safe during pregnancy and lactation. Many medical practitioners are sceptical about the so-called “Botox results without the injections,” quite understandably so - the market recently has been flooded with numerous creams, serums and other cosmetics claiming Botox-like effects but making no difference whatsoever. Video advertising and Photoshopped illustrations are only making people doubt the promises to “rid them from wrinkles without injections” even more.
So why don’t most of these cosmetics work?
There are several reasons.
What substances can really reduce the mimic wrinkles, most commonly appearing on the upper third of the face (forehead, brow and eye area)? Today it is neuromodulatory peptides.
The peptides used in cosmetology are small protein molecules able to penetrate the skin’s protective barrier. Peptides can have a wide range of effects on the skin structures, the neuromodulatory ones block the impulse transmission from the nerve fibre to the muscle.
Botulinum toxin works in the same general way: it blocks the transfer of the signal towards a facial muscle, stopping it from contracting which makes the wrinkles disappear.
A question, that’s often raised is - how do peptides get into the muscle?
Indeed, the muscles are located rather deep under the skin and it is hard to imagine that any ingredients of a cream applied onto the skin surface can reach that far. It is however entirely possible - in the points where mimic muscles are attached to the skin, their fibres are intertwined with the skin throughout all of its layers up to the surface. So if a solution is applied precisely onto the spot where the mimic muscle is intertwined with the skin, the paralysing ingredients can take effect.
How can one find these spots?
Luckily, it is fairly easy - the wrinkles are lines connecting the spots of muscles’ attachment to the skin. So if the solution is applied right onto the wrinkles, it will be exactly where it needs to be. There is no use, however, in applying it around the general wrinkles area - the solution won’t reach the muscles then and most likely won’t work at all.
How can one identify the “right” peptides?
The neuromodulatory or “skin paralysing” peptides are the following:
For the peptides to be able to penetrate into the skin, it needs to be well prepared - exfoliated at least once a week with a quality peeling solution, preferably one without AHA-acids (hydroxy acids). Before applying peptides, the skin should be cleansed thoroughly with an appropriate cleanser that does not irritate, dry up or tighten the skin -dry skin can be an obstacle for the penetration of peptides.
Unlike that of injections, the effect of peptides accumulates gradually: studies show that they should be applied onto the skin twice a day for at least 4–5 weeks for a visible and palpable effect. There are also professional procedures performed by cosmetic professionals - the effect of those will be noticeable immediately, but usually it is recommended to undergo 5 procedures in 4-5 weeks for the wrinkles to smooth out and the serene face effect to become permanent.
Dr Tiina Meder began her medical career in 1995 as a cardiologist specialising in treating pregnant women with heart conditions. Later on she switched to dermatology but kept her focus on health and pregnancy-safe methods.
Launching her own brand in 2009 from her clinic in Antibes, France. Meder Beauty is now UK based and distributed in over 30 countries worldwide. Led by her passion for progress, extensive experience and uncompromising ethics. Meder Beauty always prioritises safety, stable results and skin health.
Dr. Tiina Meder continues to contribute her medical expertise in 1:1: virtual consultations, to R&D of Cosmotec Lab (Switzerland), writes articles for leading aesthetic magazines as well as offers her expert insight to press and as a key speaker at national and international conferences.
The safety of peptide cosmetics during pregnancy and lactation is reliably proved - unlike injections, peptides in a cosmetic solution cannot, even in theory,
affect the whole body or lead to any complications. In most cases when the wrinkles can be characterised as shallow or moderately surface, their correction with topical peptide solutions can achieve results comparable to that of the injections.
Naturally, when the wrinkles have already become deep and the skin ageing is quite visible, non-invasive correction may prove insufficient, but it is very rare in women under 40-45.
Generally, it can be asserted that peptide cosmetics are the first choice solutions for wrinkle correction during pregnancy and lactation - they are fairly effective when applied properly and completely safe, an essential combination for both professionals and patients.
The rules for using peptide solutions:
If you’re doing it right, this is what peptide wrinkle correction should feel like:
That might sound a bit complicated for patients, but many dermatologists and skin therapists, including the most renowned (and myself) are consulting now via the GetHarley platform where it is possible to choose a specific consultation about skincare and/or aesthetic treatments, especially if pregnant or breastfeeding. A 30 minutes consultation with a professional is incredibly helpful to make the necessary correction in the skincare routine and introduce ideal products.
Pregnancy is a trying, but also a great time.
You don’t need to panic and stop using your deodorant because it contains aluminium or your day cream because of scary parabens (but going for natural microbiome-friendly solutions is still a good idea!).
There is not much point to go all organic either. Sure, some things will have to wait, but not as many as you’d think.
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