Since the start of my second trimester, I developed really dry skin (also aggravated by the change in season) and my eczema flared up on my hands, wrists and arms. I don't have chronic eczema, but when it flares up it's incredibly itchy and I tend to scratch and scratch until my skin is red and raw. You need to try treat is as soon as you notice it flaring up, and to keep your skin well moisturised.
I also found patches of dry skin started popping up on my face, and to top it all off, those dry patches also started to break out. So all in all, I felt very for myself. Here are the products I've been using to keep my skin calm, as well as the products I've tried and recommend for keeping your ever expanding belly moisturised and stretch mark free.
A little note on eczema...there are numerous steroid based creams you can use (some that are prescription based and you need to get from your doctor, and others that are sold over the counter) but these are not recommended for prolonged use, and can weaken your skin barrier. The main culprit behind eczema is dryness...so make sure to drink plenty of water and keep your skin well moisturised to help prevent the pain and discomfort (and itchyness!) that usually shows up.
For me, it's also aggravated by eating lots of citrus, so I have to avoid oranges and most fruit juices which also contain loads of preservatives and other nasty things that your body really doesn't need.
My Winter Skincare Routine
For the body
I wash my body with either Epimax (the Original formula or the Baby & Junior cream) or Epizone (not pictured).
After drying, I immediately cream up with Epimax (focusing on the areas of my body where the eczema is the worst...for me this is my hands and wrists) and then I follow the below face routine before continuing with my body routine. This is to make sure my face doesn't get too dry.
After my face is done, I then apply Bio Oil all over my tummy and boobs, making sure to massage it in as much as possible. I hate putting clothes over an oily body. I've been using Bio Oil everyday since I found out I was pregnant and have, touch wood, yet to get any stretch marks. I still have about 3 months to go so there is plenty of time for them to show up. Although I would like to prevent them, stretch marks are a very normal part of pregnancy, and almost everyone gets them.
Here is a really lovely extract from my favorite pregnancy website & app, What to Expect:
More than half of all expecting women get these pink or red (sometimes purplish) streaks; you'll most likely notice them across your belly, butt, thighs, hips, and breasts.
WHAT CAUSES THEM?
Stretch marks are actually tiny tears in the supporting layers of tissue under your skin as it's pulled tight to the limit during pregnancy. Susceptibility has lots to do with genetics: Chances are, if your mother got them, you probably will too - while if she sailed through her pregnancies with smooth skin intact, you'll probably stay as smooth as your baby's bum. Rapid pregnancy weight gain can also make you more likely to get stretch marks. And darker-skinned women are less likely to get stretch marks as fair-skinned gals (plus they're not as visible on dark skin).
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Try as you might to avoid stretch marks, there's no proven way to treat them or to stop them from zigzagging their way across your body. Fortunately, they won't stay so vividly hued forever. After delivery, they usually fade to a less noticeable (and more easily concealable) silvery gray color. Meanwhile, try to wear them with pride.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Whether or not you get pregnancy stretch marks is usually a matter of genetics - but there are a few ways to try avoiding them (or at least to slow down the stretch):
- Moisturize: Cocoa butter certainly won't hurt (though no stretch mark cream is the miracle cure it's touted as). If nothing else, moisturizing daily will help with the dryness and itchy skin associated with pregnancy (plus it's fun to have your partner rub some onto your belly!).
- Nourish your skin from the inside: Plenty of vitamin C foods in your pregnancy diet may also help keep your skin toned and less subject to stretch marks.
- Watch your weight: Keep an eye on that scale during pregnancy and put your pounds on slow and steady instead of in big spurts. Keep in mind that eating for two doesn't mean literally eating twice as much - so as much as possible, try to follow the general recommendations for caloric intake during pregnancy.
- Wait it out: Of course you wanted a solution yesterday. But keep in mind that your dermatologist can offer treatments such as Retin-A or laser therapy after you give birth. (Neither is safe for pregnancy - plus, the stretching ain't over till it's over.)
For the face
I wash my face with Epimax (the Original formula or the Baby & Junior cream) or Epizone (not pictured). I use a soft facecloth to remove as much dead skin as possible, without stripping my skin.
Then I tone with my all time favourite toner...Natur Vital Rose Water Toner (I've only ever found this at Dischem and it is often out of stock. When I do find it I make sure to stock up! It's super gentle on skin, smells heavenly, doesn't have a whole lot of yuccky chemicals and retails for about R55. I usually apply this with a cotton pad, but while on holiday I used a squirt bottle which sprays the toner in a fine mist (it was just one of those cheap travel bottles) but I've found I prefer spraying the toner on as opposed to wiping it on with cotton wool. This toner also works well as a gentle makeup remover.
After toning I use my new favourite serum, Malachite Jojoba Oil which works amazingly as an intensive skin treatment/essence/serum. I've been using it for the past 3 months and I just love it! I stock up on mine at the Bryanston Organic Market in Joburg, but you can but it online by clicking here. I use it everyday, morning and night, and it leaves my skin feeling incredibly soft and supple. And it smells incredible!
Next I apply cream (Epimax or Epizone) and then if needed use my little jar of Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream on areas that are really sensitive (like the sides of my nose and around the corners of my mouth). Click here for a full review on this lovely Korean beauty product.
For day time, I finish off with my favourite suncream, the Missha All Around Safe Block Soft Finish Sun Milk (unfortunately another Korean beauty product that I stocked up on while living in Korea...I wish we could get our hands on products like these here in South Africa!).
So there you have it, a comprehensive list of what I've been using to combat winter dryness and eczema (which I am pretty sure has a lot to do with the pregnancy hormones surging through my body right now).
Are there any other great products you would recommend for dry skin or eczema? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!