My journey to get pregnant with my first child, Cooper, was long and harrowing — which is why I think I sort of forgot about the skin issues I experienced during those nine months until they began to rear their ugly heads again. In May, I was overjoyed when I found out I was pregnant with my second child, a girl! And then I started noticing those first spots of acne and first signs of hyperpigmentation, and I immediately thought, “Oh, damn.”
Before I became pregnant with Cooper, I had heard about the pregnancy skin changes that everyone is always talking about, like the famous glow, but I didn’t know what to really expect. It’s one of those things that’s hard to wrap your head around until you’ve been through it, especially since every woman’s experience is different.
I had some good skin moments, times when I would look in the mirror and think, “Oh, this is what people are talking about when they rave about pregnancy skin.” Because estrogen and progesterone levels are sky high and I was gaining some baby weight, I did naturally get that plump, juicy skin that miraculously fills in wrinkles and gives a luscious glow.
But, for me, these benefits were random and fleeting. Especially during my first trimester when hormones are raging, I had a lot of acne and random skin issues. One day my skin would look great, and then the next it was like, what happened? Pregnancy skin is a roller coaster.
There are some parts of pregnancy that have been easier the second time around since I’ve experienced it before and at least kind of know what to expect. But others are just as difficult because your body reacts differently to every pregnancy. When I found out I was pregnant again, I thought, “I’ve got this covered.” I quickly realized that when it comes to certain issues with my skin and hormones, I didn’t.
I'm not sure if memories are short, or if the old wives’ tale that girls steal your beauty might actually be true, but this pregnancy seems to have been much worse. My “morning sickness” (really all-day sickness) during my first trimester was a beast this time around, and my skin has definitely been acting up a lot more.
Some days, I feel like I’ve time traveled straight back to the horrible years of teenage acne. I’ve been getting weird pimples popping up all over my face, but also on my chest and arms, and other random places. (Have you ever heard of under eye and eyebrow acne? Because I hadn’t.) Let me tell you, these breakouts have been a fun surprise to deal with. You know those pimples that seem to keep refilling? I’ve got them. I’ll think, “Thank god, this is finally going away,” or I’ll break down and pop one. Then, suddenly it fills up again and I’m like, “How is this pimple possibly back?” Some days, I feel like I’m living in The Never Ending Acne Story.
I definitely got melasma the first time around, or what’s known as the “mask of pregnancy.” For years, I was an avid outdoor runner and I am embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t as diligent about putting on sunscreen as I am now. I found that any discoloration that I had developed from previous sun exposure was amplified during my first pregnancy when I wasn’t as focused on preventative care.
For me, the pregnancy melasma is a little more concerning than the acne because I worry that it’s never going to go away. Mine is mostly on my forehead, and it kind of looks like it’s an extension of my hairline. But I keep reminding myself that it went away after my first pregnancy — thanks in large part to taking care of my overall health, but also to Veracity’s Brightening Support Vital Concentrate that has made a huge difference — and it will go away again.
The reality is that pregnancy is a wild ride of hormones and other changes. You’re creating a whole new human inside of you! You don't always notice it day-to-day, especially during the early months. Then you look at one of those pregnancy apps that tells you how big your baby is and you realize that within two weeks, your kid gained three ounces, which on a relative percentage basis is huge.
The first time around is so scary, because your body's changing, and you're wondering if you will ever look like you did before. And more importantly, if you will ever feel like you did before. It’s a long freaking time for your body to be going through this major change — not just nine months, but also the postpartum period, or fourth trimester as some people call it. But having been through it before, I can confidently tell myself — and any other woman who is going through it — to hang in there. You will feel like yourself again.
Having this perspective has made me less annoyed with some of the skin issues I’m currently experiencing, and it’s made me better able to appreciate what I’m asking my body to do right now. When another bad breakout or one of those weird pimples pops up, I don’t think, “Oh, I'm so ugly,” like I did at other points in my life. Instead, I know that my body is going through a lot right now, and these skin issues are a symptom of it reacting to the changes it is making to enable me to grow a new baby.
Before pregnancy, I was not a very laid back person. (My friends would say I’m still not.) But pregnancy has taught me patience, and I think that's what we all need when it comes to how we treat our skin and health at all times. We all want that quick fix, the overnight pimple patch or the laser treatment that will immediately solve all our problems. But I think the best and fastest thing you can do for your health and your skin is to know that you're taking the right steps through diet, exercise, and by choosing the safest and most effective products. The slow and steady path won’t necessarily lead to an overnight makeover, but that's okay. In the long run, it’s the healthier and longest-lasting choice.