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Stretch marks are always a hot topic amongst expectant mums, and everyone has their favourite body oil to help reduce or avoid them. During pregnancy, oils can also be fabulous for balancing your complexion, increasing energy and easing tired limbs. Here's our guide to skin-loving oils.
During pregnancy, skin naturally becomes drier. Add the fact that your skin is having to streeeetch like never before and you'll be craving a way to replenish moisture and deliver elasticity-enhancing ingredients to help with the dreaded stretch marks.
The secret to the complexion-boosting powers of oil lies in its consistency. Similar in composition to skin's own natural oils, oil is absorbed far more effectively than a lotion or cream, meaning it gets to work faster.
While dry and sensitive skin types benefit from the introduction of oil, an oily complexion can also get in on the action. The oil from a bottle may be similar to what we naturally produce, but it won't cause you to breakout in spots. In fact, the right oil-based product can actually help reduce greasy skin and minimise breakouts. Here's how to use oils to solve a wealth of pregnancy beauty issues.
For a healthy complexion, you can't go past a quality cleansing oil. Designed specifically to dissolve dirt and grime and loosen pore blockages, cleansing oils are ideal after a long day or when your skin has been coated in sunscreen, foundation and other products.
Apply cleansing oil while your skin is still dry and spend a few minutes massaging it into your face. This mini-massage not only relaxes but helps the oil bond to impurities that will then be washed away. Use a clean face washer or muslin cloth to remove the product for squeaky-clean skin.
Try: Sanctuary Spa Ultimate Facial Cleansing Oil; The Jojoba Company Balancing Cleansing Oil.
Plant-based oils, such as rose and evening primrose, are rich in fatty acids. These are perfect for pregnancy, as nourishing your growing baby can deplete your skin of these essential nutrients. They are also gentle enough to be used on a daily basis. If your skin is extra dry or sensitive, try layering the oil with a thin layer of your favourite moisturiser over the top.
Try: Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil; The Body Shop Olive Beautifying Oil.
If pregnancy hormones have caused your oil glands to go into overdrive, face oils might not be the first product you consider. But the right oil blend can soften blocked pores to remove impurities and help bring your skin back into balance, meaning less breakouts and a more matte complexion.
Try: Shu Uemura Fresh Pore Clarifying Gentle Cleansing Oil; Planet Eve Certified Organic Facial Cleansing Oil.
Rising levels of progesterone can contribute to fatigue during pregnancy. A bath or shower oil rich in invigorating citrus ingredients is an easy pick-me-up. You can also try a few drops of an uplifting essential oil blend in an oil burner for a boost. Just make sure the oils are safe for use during the antenatal period.
Try: Molton Brown Renew Ambrusca Cleansing Shower Oil; Jurlique Clarity Blend Essential Oil.
It's common to have trouble sleeping, especially during the second and third trimesters, as your bump grows and your baby starts to move. Run a bath just before bed and add a tablespoon of a bath oil rich in ingredients like lavender or bergamot as these promote tranquillity and relaxation.
Try: Jo Malone Bath Oil in Amber & Lavender; Dr Hauschka Lavender Bath.
Massaging breasts, abdomen, lower back and thighs with a hydrating oil every day will help improve circulation. This can also help prevent stretchmarks from forming. Use a pregnancy specific oil blend that contains moisturising ingredients to nourish and soothe your growing bump.
Try: Sukin Wellbeing Body Oil; Lanolips Body Oil; Gaia Pure Pregnancy Belly Oil.
Some essential oils are not considered safe for use in pregnancy. Nutmeg, rosemary, basil, sage, juniper, berry, black pepper and lemongrass are best saved until after your baby has arrived.
For more information, consult a qualified aromatherapist.
Find one at the International Aromatherapy and Aromatic Medicine Association, see www.iaama.org.au