I was one of those; Six months deep into my pregnancy still waiting for some miraculous burst of collagen to plump my skin, that drop of dew to glisten my cheekbones, a kiss from the Maternity Gawds that so many refer to as "pregnancy glow". Ummmm did someone forget this girl over here?? Hello?!!! Still waiting...Certainly I wasn't skipped over when it came to that dreadful morning sickness...endless trips to the toilet hurling up breakfast. But my complexion, the one thing they promised would transform beautifully, leaving me young and dewy like Brooke Shields in "The Blue Lagoon" was definitely reminiscent of my younger skin BUT at the height of puberty...bumpy, zitty, discolored, just overall nastayyyyyy. I mean, it's not like I was some Noxema girl to begin with, but this was an all new low. I tried facials, masks, microderm...the list goes on. Good news is, we now have the answers we've been looking for! We hit up Dr. Aaron Kosins aaronkosinsmd.com board certified Plastic Surgeon and co-partner ZO Skin Centre, Fashion Island Newport Beach to help us in 4 Steps understand our pregnancy skin better ultimately leading to that glow every Haute Mommy hopes for...Here goes, ladies (you can thank me later :)
AC: We notice major changes in our skin during pregnancy -- what is that from?
Doctor K: In 1 word: Hormones. Hormones play a huge factor in a number of things during pregnancy, one of which is the skin. The blood vessels in our face dilate and constrict, and patients can go through cycles being both oily and dry as testosterone and estrogen levels fluctuate. Can we control the hormones? No. But we can control their effect on the skin.
AC: In your professional opinion, what's the best way to get rid of those the dark spots and other blemishes that seem to pop up?
Dr. K: Melasma is a chronic disease that usually pops up with hormonal fluctuations…specifically, pregnancy, menopause, and use of birth control pills. The melanocytes, cells in your skin that make pigment, go crazy and start making “color” in an uneven and unregulated fashion. The best way to control these outbreaks is prevention, by having strong skin with cells that are regulated. Once the disease process begins, pigment settles throughout the layers skin. Treatment includes control of oil (which both potentiates pigment and causes acne), exfoliation, bleaching, and most importantly retinol, which works at a cellular level to strengthen skin and to regulate melanocytes and the distribution of melanin (pigment). Unfortunately, we do not recommend that pregnant mothers use retinol or hydroquinone (bleaching) during pregnancy. Therefore, ZO Skin Health has created products such as C Bright and Brightalive, which are safe during pregnancy/breastfeeding and help to stabilize pigment and brighten skin. These can be used as a bridge until after pregnancy/breastfeeding when other treatments can be used.
AC: Are there other products you swear by to help even out skin tone?
Dr. K: Even skin tone comes from an even distribution of melanin (pigment) in the skin. My favorite products include Melamin and Melamix to get rid of brown spots and Brightenex, which works to prevent pigmentation and even skin tone. Depending on the pigmentation, whether it is from sun damage or a disease of skin, ZO Skin Health or ZO Medical products can be used at different strengths to brighten skin and to even tone.
AC: Sleepless nights as a new parent can also majorly throw your skin off balance. Anything your recommend?
Dr. K: The cornerstones of a good skin care program include getting skin ready (cleansing, exfoliation and oil control), anti-oxidants in combination, and sun protection. These products work to protect and to strengthen the skin by enhancing natural exfoliation and repairing the barrier function of the skin. Once breastfeeding is discontinued, retinol should be added in to work at the cellular level to repair and to strengthen skin. Retinol does this by stimulating skin, enhancing exfoliation, repairing DNA damage, and rebuilding collagen and elastin.
For more on how to get your hands on some of the goodies Dr. Kosins refers to, check out http://zoskincentre.com