6 Rules of Suntanning During Pregnancy

If springa��s new fashions have you longing for a sun-kissed glow, brace yourself: Tanning might prove more difficult now that you’re pregnant. During pregnancy, your skin is more sensitive and vulnerable to the suna��s harsh rays. For this reason, sun exposure can result in uncharacteristic sunburns, hives and rashes. And, thanks to an increase in estrogen, you might notice signs of hyper-pigmentation and chloasma, also known as “the mask of pregnancy.”

Though hyper-pigmentation and chloasma are considered aesthetic concerns, theya��re undeniably frustrating and astoundingly common. In all cases, the experts agree: Sun protection is the key to preventing and minimizing these unwanted effects. Herea��s what you need to know about caring for your skin safelya��and aestheticallya��throughout your pregnancy.

Our Six Cardinal Rules

1. Wear sunscreen. Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 about 20 minutes before you go outside, and re-apply every two hours that you are in the sun. All sunscreens, including those with ingredients that penetrate the skin, are considered safe. In fact, physical sun blockersa��those containing titanium dioxide and zinc oxidea��are all the rage among dermatologists caring for expectant moms. Why? Theya��re powerful and they dona��t penetrate the skin.

2. Avoid over exposure. If youa��re out and about, be sun-smart. The suna��s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and

4 p.m. Exercise additional caution when near water, snow or sand; these elements reflect the suna��s rays and increase your chance of a sunburn. A helpful hint: If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.

3. Wear protective clothing.A�If you plan to spend extended time in the sun, wear protective clothing. A brimmed hat is the most important tool in your arsenal. A hat with a 4-inch brim protects the face and can prevent or minimize the appearance of chloasma and hyper-pigmentation. Consider investing in long-sleeved shirts, pants and a pair of sun shades. When all else fails, an umbrella is an unbeatable shield.

4. Listen to your body.A�This is the most important, yet least tangible, rule on the list. Treat your bodya��s warning system with the same respect you would offer any other expert. If you feel light-headed, nauseated or over-warm, ita��s time to go inside. Find an air-conditioned space and hydrate.