NHM Skin Care: A Natural Regimen for Pregnancy/Hormone-Induced Acne
Earlier this year, the non-pregnant me had a whole list of side effects that I just KNEW would plague me once I was actually expecting. Looking at the experiences of friends and family alike, I prepared myself for debilitating nausea, along with lots of weight gain and some serious fatigue. Instead, what I was blessed with very early on in the first trimester were the appetite of a truck driver and acne…ohhhh, the acne! I’ve never been one to have trouble-free skin, but earlier this year I had finally gotten to the point where I didn’t need prescription topicals and fade creams to be relatively blemish-free.
As a mommy-to-be, I thoroughly researched retinoids and salicylic acid and quickly discovered that they were squarely on the no-no list. Dr Google was chock full of recommendations such as “buy these expensive products” (no thanks, baby needs cloth diapers and a bassinet), “drink tons of water” (which I already do) and “wait it out” (gee, thanks), so I was forced to get a bit more creative with my regimen building. After countless hours scouring product recommendations, blogs and the like, I think I found something I can live with. What’s better FOR ME is these recommendations come from those who have actually walked in my shoes — seriously, how can I take skin care advice from someone who admits they’ve never had problematic skin? I have been following this regimen for about a week and a half now, and while I can’t say I went from a face full of blemishes to clear, airbrushed-looking skin quite that fast, I definitely have noticed that my skin is less red, not as oily, and perhaps on its way to being glowy again.
Oil Cleansing Method — before I hop in the shower, I pour a quarter-sized amount of oil into my hands, let it sit for a few seconds to warm up, and massage it into my face for about 30-60 seconds. I then shower, rinse and moisturize the rest of my body with the oil still on my face. Next, I run a washcloth under hot-as-I-can-take-it water, wring it out, and lay it over my face for 30 seconds or until it cools to room temperature. After this second mini steam treatment, I then remove the oil with the washcloth. The steam from the shower helps open my pores, and the oil penetrates the skin to “pull out” blackheads, whiteheads and other miscellaneous gunk. I currently use olive oil and coconut oil with a dab of tea tree, but I plan on experimenting with more astringent oils, such as grapeseed, castor or jojoba oil. Need more information on the OCM? Click here or here.
Toner — raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar has a whole list of benefits, but one plus is its ability to balance the skin’s pH and thereby soothe an inflamed face. Pure ACV is very strong, so I make a mixture of 1/3 distilled water, 1/3 Thayer’s witch hazel and 1/3 Bragg’s ACV.
Facial Oil/Moisturizer — most mornings, I will simply add a few drops of my OCM cleansing oil to my fingertips and press the oil into my damp skin. On occasion, I will take a pea-sized amount of aloe vera gel, mix it with two drops of tea tree oil and 4-5 drops of my OCM oil and apply this as a moisturizer. The aloe vera gel helps to soothe my skin when I have a particularly angry-looking blemish.
Honey cleansing method — I have a small container of raw honey with a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg near my bathroom sink. While it might look like I’m getting ready to bake something or trying to cure a middle-of-the-night sweet tooth, this mixture makes a great face wash, mask or spot treatment. I simply pick up a dab of the honey with my finger tips, spread it over my face – adding a few drops of water to make it easier to apply – and massage it around for a few minutes, just like you would do with soap. I leave in on for anywhere from 5-10 minutes, then use a warm wet cloth to remove it. Raw honey (not regular clover honey, which is pasteurized and often mixed with other ingredients like corn syrup) has amazing antibacterial properties and leaves the skin soft and moisturized, while cinnamon and nutmeg have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, respectively. For more info, click here or here.
Toner/Moisturizer — I use the same ACV toner and OCM oil blend on damp skin morning and night.
At this point, I am holding off on the face masks and heavier exfoliation until I have given this regimen at least 4 weeks to work. At that time, I may incorporate a baking soda scrub every other day, or a bentonite clay and ACV mask once a week. Once my skin has cleared up, I plan on doing a few lactic acid face peels, since in the past these have worked for me to lighten the serious hyperpigmentation that is left behind by my blemishes. While lactic acid is considered safe for pregnant women since it’s a naturally occurring enzyme, my last peel at about 8 weeks pregnant left my skin burning and red, so I am still rethinking this.
Note: I purchase these and many other of my natural hair and skin products on Vitacost.com since it’s much more cost-effective than Whole Foods or even Trader Joe’s in some instances. If you would like to purchase any of the products I mentioned, click here for a $10 off $30 coupon for Vitacost.
Have you suffered from hormonal acne? What natural skin care remedies have you tried?