Pregnancy and skincare: Q&A with Vanessa.

Project Skin MD’s Business Director Vanessa Grutman took some time out of her busy schedule to share some of her best pregnancy skincare tips.

Q: First of all, congratulations! When did you find out you were pregnant? Do you know if it’s a boy or a girl?

Thank you! I just entered my third trimester – the last stretch! We’re having a boy and I couldn’t be more excited!

Q: How did your skincare routine change when you found out you were pregnant?

Every mom will tell you that when you find out you’re pregnant, everything changes! I make small changes like switching to a natural toothpaste, reducing my caffeine intake, avoiding sushi etc.

When it comes to skincare, it’s back to the basics! I remove all chemical exfoliants and stick to simple formulations that have no systemic absorption to be safe.

Q: Are you able to do any skin treatments?

Unfortunately, the options are limited. Doctors won’t touch you with a ten foot pole because most treatments haven’t been tested on pregnant women. All lasers are a no-no. Again, sticking to basics is key: regular medical facials, dermaplaning and LED light therapy in our Glow Room have been my go-tos!

Dermaplaning is the safest way to exfoliate when you’re pregnant because it’s a simple mechanical exfoliation that doesn’t involve any acids or chemicals. It lifts dead skin cells to take your complexion from dull to radiant immediately!

I captured it on video because I was curious to see how much was really removed…yikes!

Q: This is your second time being pregnant, what did you experience with your skin the first time?

Throughout both pregnancies, my skin went a little crazy. Thanks to the rush of hormones, I’ve experienced breakouts around the jawline and my melasma has resurfaced slightly. No fun, given that I can’t use any skincare products to combat these skin problems.

Q: What are you doing differently this time around?

Our MAX+ LED light therapy has been my skin savior! Light therapy is safe to use throughout pregnancy so I’ve been doing bi-monthly treatments to help keep my skin healthy. I’m alternating between the acne and melasma protocol which are both tailored to effectively target and improve these pesky conditions, using 6 different wavelengths (colours). For example, the acne protocol uses a lot of violet light, proven to kill the bacteria responsible for acne proliferation. The effect is immediate. Bonus: you get to relax for 30 minutes which makes the treatment quite therapeutic in many ways. I always plug-in my music and try to rest my mind.

Me – half asleep during a MAX+ treatment!

Q: What can pregnant women do to prevent or correct melasma (chloasma)?

Melasma is one of those skin issues that is not totally understood. The real root of the problem is still a mystery, yet it affects so many people. It seems to be heavily related to hormonal changes as well as sun and heat exposure.

While pregnant, the main thing you can do is to protect yourself from the sun: wear a mineral-based sunscreen of SPF 50 or higher, sunglasses (watch out for the aviator style, their metal borders reflect the sun and can increase the risk of pigmentation – true story, ugh!), and a hat. Staying in the shade and avoiding heat is recommended…you’ll want to stay cool anyway.

Again, regular MAX+ LED treatments have helped me to keep my melasma faded and easy to cover with mineral make-up which has been a bonus!

Immediately post MAX+, I love the glow it gives me!

Q: What products are safe and unsafe during pregnancy? Is salicylic acid safe for pregnant women?

There are two big family of ingredients to avoid: anything that is retinol based (vitamin A) or anything in the Beta Hydroxy Acids family (BHA) such as salicylic acid because they have a systemic absorption (hence why they are so effective!).

My skincare routine has been quite basic and involves the following;
AM: SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF + AOX Eye Gel + Hydrating B5 Gel + Daily Moisture
PM: SkinCeuticals Retexturing Activator + Daily Moisture + Eye Balm

I also religiously do the Clarifying Clay Masque once a week to help decongest my skin and alternate between the Hydrating B5 Masque or Phyto Corrective Masque that I wear overnight once a week to boost hydration.

I also stopped using Latisse and switched over to Plume, a natural serum for lash enhancement which works magic!

The Glow Room has been my go-to place during this pregnancy!

Q: Beyond being a boss babe, you’re also a bit of a health guru! What does your pregnancy diet look like?

I try to be! I’ve been focusing on eating lots of dark and leafy greens, nuts, lean protein to keep my natural levels of folate, calcium and iron as high as possible. I’ve been cooking so many different types of salads, power bowls, smoothies rich in antioxidants and vitamins…thankfully my husband and daughter are on board and love it too! We were already eating organic to avoid exposure to unnecessary chemicals, so we’re sticking with that.

I’ve been craving sweets lately so I’ve been cooking some guilt-free desserts with alternatives to refined sugar…it’s not easy when the temptation is so strong!

Q: Do you take any supplements?

I do! I find supplementation to be a very personal topic that depends on your health condition and beliefs. It’s best to be followed by a physician that understands preventative health and can guide you in the misleading word of supplementation. My supplement intake is tightly regulated by my anti-aging and preventative medicine doctor, Dr. Lauren Bramley. She’s AMAZING and has been helping me feel my best during this pregnancy. I’ve been seeing her for almost 5 years now and she’s saved my thyroid issues and so much more. We constantly adjust my supplementation based on blood tests and regular visits.

Q: You look amazing! Any last words of wisdom out there for all the mamas to be?

Thank you! Pregnancy is hard, I mean really hard…both mentally and physically. I always try to remember that after all, I’m creating a little human so I need to be kind to myself. Yes I’m gaining weight, yes I don’t fit it any clothes anymore, yes I don’t have as much energy but it will come back…someday, right?!

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