When one is pregnant, she suddenly has a lot of “rules” to follow regarding what to eat and even her skincare routine. Just which is myth and which to follow? We speak to Dr Karen Soh, Medical Director of Privé Clinic to find out more.
Pregnant women can’t use machines when doing facials
“As with any medical advice, you should always notify your doctor that you’re pregnant, before going through with any treatment. Our skin is inevitably more sensitive during pregnancy and so it’s always recommended to start any facial treatment by testing the product on the skin before starting,” advised Dr Soh.
Some pregnant women feel that when doing facials, machines are to be avoided due to the electric waves. But does this include all machines? “Should any treatments involve the use of machines, it’s always important to ensure there is no extensive heat wrapped around you – like a body wrap. It is however not an issue to have facial steam or a hot towel placed on your face.”
Laser treatments, on the other hand, are usually not suitable for those expecting. In fact, these treatments are prone to causing permanent skin discolouration, with pregnancy symptoms often fading six months to a year after pregnancy when left untreated,” Dr Soh further explained.
Pregnant women can’t take hot baths or go to the sauna as it’ll cause birth defects
“If done in moderation, hot baths and sitting in saunas do not dangerously elevate temperatures – so long as their temperatures are not raised to levels that might harm their unborn child. As women who are expecting should avoid heat stress, studies have also shown that pregnant women can safely engage in such activities for up to 20 minutes each time,” said Dr Soh
She further added that studies have also shown that as a pregnancy progresses, there is a natural reduction in the rise of core temperature in later trimesters. As such, ladies, feel free to go to the sauna but do not stay for too long!
Pregnant women can’t use normal nail polishes or dye their hair due to the chemicals
“Similar to hot baths and sitting in saunas, the use of nail polish and hair dye would only potentially be harmful if used in larger than normal amounts. It only becomes harmful when you’re exposed to large amounts of these chemicals, especially in unventilated places. While your nails and scalp are less likely to absorb chemicals through the skin, solvents found in such products may reduce the natural protection on the skin. It’s always recommended to use water-based, odour-free, and vegan-friendly products,” Dr Soh advised.
Perhaps having a home mani-pedi isn’t harmful but you might want to rethink going to the nail salon regularly during your pregnancy so as to reduce the inhalation of those chemicals.
Pregnant women have to restrict their skincare ingredients
Similar to the rationale of nail polishes and hair dye, it is said that pregnant women have to avoid certain chemicals from their skincare but with so many ingredients in beauty products, just what should one avoid?
Dr Soh explains, “Ingredients that could have detrimental effects on either mum or baby would include systemic retinoids, retinol derivatives, whitening creams, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and camphor and mint extract. Another tip is to avoid facial products that contain relaxation oils, as they may precipitate womb contractions.”
But with the change in hormones (especially during the first trimester), it is normal for outbreaks to occur and 1 in every 2 pregnant women may experience severe acne. Although in most cases, the acne will subside when hormone levels return to normal, pregnant women may be tempted to use normal over-the-counter acne creams. Should these be avoided too?
“It’s always recommended to avoid consuming any prescription acne medications or chemical spot treatments from over-the-counter. Before receiving any acne treatments, always talk to your doctor to find out what’s safest for you,” recommends Dr Soh.
As we can tell, there are some myths that pregnant women can ignore and just be a bit more careful, while constantly having a conversation with your OB-GYN who will also be able to better advise you so that you can have a smooth pregnancy.