During pregnancy your skin will change quite drastically – often including stretch marks, spider veins, pigmentation changes, increased sweating and acne – meaning that you probably should alter your skincare to assist with these new changes. But where should you start?
One Fine Baby had a sit down with Dr. Hayley Dickinson (a renowned research scientist with a PhD in women’s reproductive health) to chat all things pregnancy skin and how the brand new endota Nurture Range – designed with pregnant women and new mothers in mind – can help you manage your skincare while you wait for your little one to arrive.
What was the inspiration behind the endota Nurture range?
endota was created by women for women. From the very beginning endota products and treatments were designed to support the needs of the everyday woman. As the brand grows and evolves so too do the members of its market. According to Founder and CEO Melanie Gleeson, the Nurture range represents ‘the evolution of the endota woman.’ Essentially endota wants to walk next to women through every stage of their life, and until the Nurture range was created we were potentially missing a very important phase in a woman’s life, motherhood.
Is there one product in particular that you’re super excited about?
I love the entire Nurture range and am proud to have helped create each of these thoughtful and unique products. All of the Nurture products for baby are super exciting in a way, because each of them has been carefully developed to support the natural development of baby’s skin, preserving the delicate pH balance that can lead to healthier skin for life. With the products we have developed specifically for baby including our Protecting Barrier Balm, the Gentle Baby Lotion and the Gentle Bath & Baby Wash, we’ve thought about a baby’s susceptibility to infection, dehydration and toxic exposure, because their skin barrier is not mature for the first few years of life. For this reason, we recognised the importance of using tried and trusted, certified organic ingredients that are as close to nature as possible. So, perhaps I do get most excited when I think of the products developed specifically for baby. Because I think of how important it is for new parents to have a product range they can trust, one that can pick up where Mother Nature left off, nourishing and protecting baby with safe and gentle ingredients.
I also really love the nipple balm, but not as a nipple balm because my breastfeeding days are behind me! It’s a beautiful non-greasy balm that really hydrates. Like all of the products in the range, this is a multi-purpose product that can be used for a number of uses, but especially to soothe cracked, dry or sore skin anywhere on the body.
What can the Nurture range bring to expectant mothers?
The Nurture products that we have designed for new mums stand out because they too were developed to support a mother’s changing skincare needs throughout critical stages of development, specifically pregnancy and breastfeeding. Our Nourishing Nipple Balm helps restore and revive dry, cracked skin and is made with simple, certified organic ingredients that are so pure they can be used during breastfeeding to protect and nourish this sensitive area.
Our Moisture Rich Belly Butter keeps stretching skin feeling soft and supple and helps control itching, which can be quite irritating for pregnant women. This is a quick-absorbing, vitamin-rich cream that provides intensive hydration while also using pure and simple, certified organic ingredients.
How does your skin change when you’re pregnant?
The most obvious change for pregnant women and their skin is the stretching across the abdomen. Stretch marks are common for pregnant women, affecting ~90% of women. Stretch marks are caused by the stretching of our skin, caused by the growth of our uterus, and the stress hormone cortisol that increases during pregnancy. This causes the tearing and reorganisation of collagen and elastin fibres resulting in the red, strained appearance of our skin.
Women can experience other skin changes during pregnancy such as spider veins, pigmentation changes, increased sweating and increased acne. It’s important for women to remember, pregnancy-induced skin changes are typically mild in nature and will resolve after baby is born. If women are experiencing extreme cases, or are feeling unsure, they should seek advice from their obstetrician, midwife or pregnancy care provider.
Are there preventative skincare products in the Nurture range? If so, how do they help?
All of the products in the Nurture range are designed to support the development of mother and baby skin, naturally and without interference. Because they are designed without the use of harsh or irritating chemical ingredients, mother and baby are not exposed to toxins or irritants that have the potential to do harm. Also, Nurture products preserve the natural pH of a baby’s skin, so we can cleanse and hydrate gently, removing what should be removed without stripping the skin of the beneficial colonies of bacteria that are necessary for proper skin health.
What are the benefits of Australian-made beauty and health products?
All endota Nurture products are COSMOS certified organic or natural by ACO, Australian Certified Organic. This means that the ingredients and the production processes that we’ve used to create Nurture products have had to pass a rigorous certification process to ensure they meet requirements. This means Nurture products use raw ingredients that have been sourced and manufactured in a sustainable way, using sustainable production practices. Often this means using native Australian ingredients.
How does the product range help with baby eczema? Does it cater to sensitive skin?
I think the fact that this is not only a mother and baby range, but a range suitable for people with sensitive skin is one of the most exciting things about this range. Because Nurture products need to support the changing developmental needs of a mother and baby’s skin during critical stages of development, the formulations are super gentle and pure, because a newborn baby has the most delicate skin, and an underdeveloped skin barrier. So, we’ve had the range dermatologically tested to be suitable for sensitive skin. So, anyone with sensitive skin can use this product range.
Eczema occurs in about 20% of children under the age of 2 and typically presents within the first 6 months of life. People with eczema have skin that doesn’t retain moisture well, which causes it to dry out easily. This can lead to irritated and itchy skin as the skin is more open to allergens and irritants. Recommended treatment for eczema is to apply moisturiser daily, use non-soap based wash and avoid soapy products. (Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy). The Nurture range meets their criteria.
What’s the single most nourishing thing you can do while pregnant?
Eat good food. The food we eat literally builds our baby, so there is nothing more important for pregnant women to do than eat nutrient rich foods throughout their pregnancy journey. Make sure the fruit bowl is always stocked with your favourite fruits and have a range of healthy snacks, such as nuts and seeds, instant miso soup, granola and yoghurt on hand.
What are the real benefits of a pregnancy massage?
Many Australian women have massage during pregnancy. There hasn’t been a lot of research done on the physiological benefits of pregnancy massage. Pregnancy massage is effective at inducing relaxation and helping to relieve stress. The changes to your body that occur during pregnancy can put stress and strain on your back, shoulders and neck, massage can help loosen muscles and relieve this strain. A small research study of pregnant women who were depressed, showed lower levels of anxiety and depression and corresponding changes in neurotransmitters and hormones after women received 2 x 20 min massage therapy sessions / week throughout the second half of pregnancy, from their significant other.
What’s your top tip for alleviating stress during pregnancy and the fourth trimester?
I believe the single most important thing new mums can do is to listen to their bodies and set reasonable expectations for what can be achieved each day. Most of us have full lives before we become pregnant and it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking we can just carry on as before. During pregnancy we are growing a new human, this takes a lot of our bodies’ resources, so it’s no wonder women report feeling tired during pregnancy (that and ~25% of Australian women are low in iron stores). We need to let it be ok that on some days we don’t achieve our usual list of tasks. After birth in particular, our bodies are healing, and we have another person who we are now responsible for providing minute to minute care and nutrition for. Managing to keep ourselves fed, clean, and well-rested is enough in the beginning.
What ingredients should expectant parents / new mums be seeking out in their skincare?
I think rather than seeking out particularly ingredients, it’s about avoiding some ingredients in skincare. Avoiding parabens, phlalates and phenols, as well as other chemicals that are known to cause irritation such as PEGs, colorants, artificial fragrances and the SLS and SLES class of surfactants. The source of the ingredient can be just as important as the ingredient itself. That’s why the Nurture range is certified by Australian Certified Organic (ACO) organic or natural.
If there was one piece of advice you would want expectant mothers to action, what would it be?
Meal prep. Good food is essential for new mums, but it’s not always easy to eat well. The nutrients we need after birth are greater than at any time during pregnancy, but we can find ourselves with little time or energy for preparing good food as new mums. Before baby is born, prepare some of your favourite dishes, foods you know you’ll be excited to reheat and eat, and put them in the freezer.
If there was one piece of advice you would want new mums to action, what would it be?
Observe your baby. Touch, talk and eye contact are the pillars of communication with our babies and should start immediately after birth. Be the one who knows your baby best. Observe their movements, notice their preferences, find the spots on their body that are most sensitive to touch, find the patterns in their behaviours, differentiate between their cries. In being so observant you’ll pick up anything new, notice anything suspicious and be in tune with your baby and her needs.
Want to get some more advice from Dr. Hayley? You can meet her at the One Fine Baby Fair in Sydney! She’ll be hanging out at the endota Nurture Lounge all weekend, so register for your FREE TICKETS by hitting the image below: