If springaï¿½ï¿½s 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 sunaï¿½ï¿½s 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, theyaï¿½ï¿½re undeniably frustrating and astoundingly common. In all cases, the experts agree: Sun protection is the key to preventing and minimizing these unwanted effects. Hereaï¿½ï¿½s what you need to know about caring for your skin safelyaï¿½ï¿½and aestheticallyaï¿½ï¿½throughout 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 blockersaï¿½ï¿½those containing titanium dioxide and zinc oxideaï¿½ï¿½are all the rage among dermatologists caring for expectant moms. Why? Theyaï¿½ï¿½re powerful and they donaï¿½ï¿½t penetrate the skin.
2. Avoid over exposure. If youaï¿½ï¿½re out and about, be sun-smart. The sunaï¿½ï¿½s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and
4 p.m. Exercise additional caution when near water, snow or sand; these elements reflect the sunaï¿½ï¿½s 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.Aï¿½If 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.Aï¿½This is the most important, yet least tangible, rule on the list. Treat your bodyaï¿½ï¿½s warning system with the same respect you would offer any other expert. If you feel light-headed, nauseated or over-warm, itaï¿½ï¿½s time to go inside. Find an air-conditioned space and hydrate.
5. Avoid soy products.Aï¿½Though soy might seem like a healthy, natural alternative it can exacerbate the effects of chloasma. If you have dark skin or chloasma, avoid soy or opt for products labeled “active soy,” which have estrogen effects removed.
6. When in doubt, consult your physician.Aï¿½Before applying topical ointment to your skin, consult your physician. This is especially true with “bleaching agents” and “skin lightening” products used to combat chloasma. Because some chemicals transfer through the skin and enter the blood stream, youaï¿½ï¿½re better safe than sorry.
Get It Girl!
If you donaï¿½ï¿½t feel at home without a tan, not to worry. Though the sunaï¿½ï¿½s not your BFF (at the moment), thereaï¿½ï¿½s a simple, bottle-shaped alternative. Most self-tanners are unable to permeate the skin’s barrier, and theyaï¿½ï¿½re safe for you and your babe. And, thankfully, theyaï¿½ï¿½ve come a long way since their orange days of yore. More often than not, you can get the glow you love in half the time. We call that a “win-win” scenario.
American Academy of Dermatology
The Derma Blog
Cheap fucidin intertulle American Pregnancy Association