Have you ever made coffee in a French press? It is a delicious way to make coffee, so if you haven't, I recommend that you try!
That's not the point that I am trying to make...the point is when you make coffee or tea with a French press, you press down the grounds or herbs and there is always a few pieces of sediment that make it through the filter and into the drink. Filters aren't 100% perfect. Our excretory system is the same way! Our skin happens to be one of the handful of organs in the body that assists with getting rid of excess 'nastiness' in our bodies.
In the situation of pregnancy, the body goes through a lot of hormone fluctuations. These fluctuations are necessary in order for the body to be able to support the pregnancy.
Our body strives to operate in a state called homeostasis. When the body experiences changes and fluctuations, such as hormone fluctuations, it responds in ways that keep the body operating in homeostasis. With all these hormone fluctuations, there might at some point be an excess production that will need to be released from the body. The excess hormones build up, as well as other toxins and unnecessary materials inside of the body and will eventually be excreted. One of the passages out of the body is the skin! Long story short, this can lead to acne.
So, how can we prevent pregnancy acne from coming to visit? We can support our excretory system. This body system consists of the kidneys, urinary bladder, liver, large intestine, etc. These organs, when functioning at their prime, help get rid of metabolic waste in the body. The more they are supported, the better a job that they can do.
Today, I want to share with you what I did for my own body during my pregnancies. Everybody is different, so what worked for me may not work for you. This being said, I encourage you to run any of my suggestions by your primary physician that is more acquainted with your body and its functioning.
With my first pregnancy, I knew very little about my body and how to support it. I used the 'figure it out as you go' approach and it did not, by any means, keep acne away. It was an ongoing battle with acne from the very beginning of pregnancy, up until the time I delivered. Here is a picture below of what my typical breakouts looked like. Also, pictured is our dog Roca.
As you can see nothing horrible but definitely noticeable. Just as a breakout spot would clear up, another would pop up. I felt completely helpless. I tried topical treatments, which can help with acne once it emerges onto the skin but it does not prevent it from forming. The only way to prevent acne from forming is to treat it at the root cause which lies internally, as we discussed above.
I am currently 33 weeks pregnant with our second child and I have not had a single issue with acne. There was quite a bit of prep that I did for my body that I truly believe made the difference.
About 4 months before we started trying for our second, I decided to quit all forms of hormonal birth control and really get to know my menstrual cycle. It is amazing what our menstrual cycles can reveal about our hormones. It can be easy to spot hormonal imbalances by the symptoms that may come with our menstrual cycles. I was struggling with heavy periods, PMS, acne..the works. I went and saw a naturopathic doctor and she recommended that I do a 2 week detox. This is when you adjust your diet, and add in supplementary herbs with the goal of ridding the body of toxins that build up in the excretory system. I chose to do the Wild Rose Herbal D-Tox 12-Day Cleanse, because of how well the instructions of the kit hold your hand through the process. You do not need to use supplemental herbs, you can simply adjust your diet to fit the parameters of the task at hand. After those 12 days, I noticed a large difference in the vibrance of my skin (as well as many other desirable symptoms that we can talk about another day). Following the cleanse, I focused on my gut health. Focusing on filling your gut with beneficial bacteria can really help your body stay in homeostasis. It allows the organs to take in all the nutrients from the food that you are eating and do a great job of getting rid of what it does not need.
Over the next few months, I saw that by feeding my body whole foods packed full of good nutrition, drinking lots of water, eating lots of fermented foods as well as taking a good quality probiotic, my skin was beautifully clear and my menstrual cycles were very straightforward. Very minimal cramping, no mood changes, light bleeding etc.
Once becoming pregnant, I maintained the same routine. At about 3 months along, I noticed that I was beginning to have breakouts on exclusively my chin. I began researching, trying to figure out what my body was telling me, and it was saying that my liver needed some extra support! I learned that different imbalances in the body can show up differently on the body. Here is a great link that might be able to help you identify what area of your body needs extra support based on where your breakouts are occurring.
Upon finding out that my liver was in need of some extra love, I decided to rely on the help of herbal medicine. I began taking an herbal tincture specific for liver support during pregnancy, and it cleared up the breakouts in a matter of weeks. I have continued to take this tincture throughout the pregnancy and will do so until delivery.
At 33 weeks along, here is a picture of my face. Acne free! Yee-haw!
My daily skincare routine consists of washing with water, applying witch hazel as a toner, and then following up with my favorite facial oil. I do this at night. In the mornings, I may choose to splash some water on my face but otherwise, I skip straight to putting on my mineral sunscreen foundation and calling it a day.
Pregnancy acne is frustrating for many birthing individuals (especially when we hear about the so-called pregnancy glow!). Keep in mind that it is fantacstic feedback to what our body needs help with internally. Instead of getting frustrated and feeling defeated, listen to what your body is trying to tell you and offer it the proper support and love that it needs.