There’s never a more important time in your life to protect your skin from the sun than when you’re pregnant. The pregnancy hormones estrogen and progesterone are thought to make the pigment-producing skin cells (the melanocytes) react more strongly to sunlight, causing dark brown splotchy areas to appear on the chin, cheeks, nose, and forehead. Known as chloasma, melasma, or “the mask of pregnancy,” this condition affects up to 70 percent of all pregnant women. That’s why you need to cover up and wear a broad-spectrum sunblock with an SPF of at least 30—even on cloudy days when you’re barely outside for more than a few minutes. Chloasma fades in most women after delivery, but it can persist in up to 30 percent of cases, so prevention is definitely the best strategy.
What type of sunscreen should you use during pregnancy? Important as it is to protect yourself from the sun at all times, navigating the confusing world of sunscreen can become even trickier when there’s a bun in the oven.
What is the difference between chemical and physical sunscreens?There are two kinds of sunblocks: Physical (mineral–based) and chemical. Physical sunscreens (titanium dioxide, zinc oxide) work by blocking and reflecting ultraviolet rays, while chemical sunscreens work by absorbing the ultraviolet rays instead. The physical blocks sit on the surface of the skin, while the chemical blocks are absorbed into our bodies through the skin. While many people prefer chemical formula because they’re typically invisible, it’s important to know that those chemicals do get absorbed into the bloodstream. In fact, a new study done by the FDA shows that four of the most common active ingredients found in chemical SPFs (avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene and ecamsule) are absorbed into the blood at levels that the agency says is worth testing further for possible cancer risk. During pregnancy is not a time you should take a risk with possibly hazardous chemicals, so we recommend only sticking to mineral-based SPFs during pregnancy.
Physical sunscreens are also better for those with sensitive skin, as they don’t get absorbed into the skin causing potential irritation. Traditional physical sunscreens are sometimes not as elegant as chemical version and can leave a white film on the skin. Try Belli Skincare Pure Radiance SPF 30 mineral-based sunscreen (LINK TO SHOP).
10 Sun Safe Tips for Moms-to-Be
Follow these sun smart tips for a summer of healthy skin.
1.Avoid sun exposure during the peak hours of 10am – 4:00pm. If you can’t avoid those hours, then make sure to find a shady spot.
2.Play in the shade: Under trees, under an umbrella at the beach or bring pop-up tents.
3.Wear sun-protective hats to shield against ultraviolet radiation to the face, head and neck.
4.Wear sun-protective clothing: long sleeves, rash guards, wraps. Look for breathable cotton so you’re not too hot.
5.Wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection.
6.Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before planned sun exposure.
7.Reapply SPF every two hours and immediately sweating or swimming.
8.Don’t neglect your lips, use a lip balm with SPF 30
9.Keep your sunscreen in your purse so you never forget it.
10.Make applying SPF part of your morning routine, just like brushing your teeth!
By Melissa Schweiger Kleinman on Behalf of Belli Skincare.