Friday, 13 January 2012

That pregnancy "glow"

People always remark how pregnant woman have that certain "glow" about them. They look more radiant, refreshed, happier - they really do seem to have an aura around them that makes them...glow.  Recently I've started to get this compliment and I try to accept it as graciously as possible, but I often end up thinking, "Me?? Are you sure??"  Between my ever-expanding waistline, interrupted sleep during the night and various skin problems I am sure they must be talking to someone else.

Skin problems? Oh yes, and lots of them. While I managed not to get sick once during my first trimester, my body decided to take its raging hormones out on my skin. Two words, that no woman wants to hear -

Adult Acne

Oh the horror!!!

Acne was supposed to be something that we dealt with as snotty teenagers. Everyone from the ages of 11-16 seems to get at least one bout of really bad skin. Pair that with (possibly) braces and/or glasses and rapidly changing bodies and you will probably remember why you're glad not to be a teenager any more. But the thing was that everyone was going through this at around the same time. It was hard to pick on kids with acne because chances were you had it too.

But - as an adult woman? Lets just say it stands out a little bit more than our teenage counterparts.

Thanks to those crazy hormones again my skin first started acting up around 4-5 weeks of being pregnant. Of course, at the time I didn't know I was pregnant (I didn't find out until I was about 6.5 weeks) so I just thought my body was freakin' out for some reason. I thought it was probably getting used to being off birth control, so I scrubbed away hoping that it would subside. No such luck. If anything it only got worse the more pregnant I became. My face was starting to look like an oil slick, not really that healthy" glow" that most pregnant women have. And to make it even worse, there were a lot of cleansing products that were now on the "do not use" list because I was pregnant. It seemed the only thing I could do was wash my face twice a day with a mild cleanser and moisturize (which seems counter-intuitive when you're face is super greasy).


Luckily my dermatologist in the US gave me a prescription medicine that was safe to use after 12 weeks as long as my OB agreed. He predicted that my skin would calm down soon after 12 weeks anyways (as my hormones started to level off) and suggested that I might not even need to use it. And you know what? He was sort of right. My skin has drastically improved since those early pregnancy days, though it is by no means perfect. I have used the prescription medicine a few times when things seem to get bad again, but for the most part it is back to normal. I don't really trust my skin at this point though, I have a feeling that this isn't the last of the acne that I have seen. I still have seventeen weeks to go after all!

So what is that "glow" really all about? Mostly it's a combination of increased blood flow and a little bit of that oil slick. Did you know that while you are pregnant the volume of blood that you have in your body nearly doubles?? All that extra blood tends to rush to the surface of your skin, giving your cheeks a rosy color (put away that blush ladies). Combine that with a slight sheen of naturally increased oil on your face and you get that perfect pregnancy glow. Or you end up looking like you have been standing in a hot kitchen for 8 hours over the frier. Whatevs.

But for all my complaining about a few pimples here and there, I know the reward at the end of it all is going to be worth every single one of them. I'll just be really glad once my skin returns back to normal and I have a beautiful baby girl to show off!

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