California is dry! During my first pregnancy, we were swimming in humid central Texas, and as tough as that was at times, it was much easier on the skin. Now I’ve had to step up my game in the ongoing quest to combat the desert air and hopefully prevent or lessen pregnancy stretch marks.
That said, I did experiment with a lot of different moisturizers during my first pregnancy, and I’m still experimenting with my second. I’ll share here my favorites and what I learned from each one.
You’ll notice by the way that I listed all oils. I’ve found them much more effective than lotions or creams at helping the body retain moisture in the skin over a long period of time. And the vitamin E and zinc in natural oils promote collagen growth and skin elasticity. Bonus!
I still keep little tubes of lotion in my purse for convenient “as-needed maintenance” through the day, but it’s these oils that are the heavy hitting game changers and make the biggest difference!
Make sure you get the cosmetic grade olive oil, otherwise you will smell like a pizza. 😛 It moisturises amazingly but was too greasy for my taste to use regularly. It also might make oil spots on your clothes if you’re not careful. Still Sophia Loren claims EVOO is her tried and true beauty secret. So that’s saying something.
This will always be a favorite. If you’re into Ayurveda, sesame oil is recommended to rub on the body daily. It’s a light, warming oil, but it’s slightly more expensive and a bit harder to find in large convenient containers as far as these options go. Again, go with the cosmetic grade over the cooking oil.
Sweet Almond oil
This is what I’m currently using. It’s light, won’t clog your pores, and it’s economical. I get these in huge bottles and practically bathe in it each evening and in the morning. I also dab a little around the eyes because it’s light enough for sensitive skin. Make sure you get the sweet almond and not bitter almond. 🙂
I used the regular coconut oil right out of our pantry, and it definitely does the job. It’s one of the heavier oils and has a bit of a sweet smell that I think is nice. Again, if you’re into Ayurveda, this is considered a cooling oil, so that could be a plus or a negative for you. It was kind of negative for me, as I’m more partial to the lighter, warming oils. But when you want a deep moisturising treatment, it’s a nice treat. I like to use it as an occasional hair mask to sleep in overnight.
Of course you can also just get a pre-bottled mixture of “mama belly” oils from a baby store or grocery store. But a lot of those are mostly sweet almond oil anyway, and more expensive than just getting a bottle of the almond oil itself.
Full disclaimer, oil can be messier than lotion if you don’t have time to let it soak in before rushing out the door. Running a warm, wet washcloth over the skin helps though, and you still get the benefits of the oil.
Oh and don’t forget how amazing these are when combined with a little prenatal massage! Get hubby on that! 😉
I’m sure I’ll continue to experiement a bit over the next months as the belly keeps expanding. I’d love to try raspberry oil and avocado oil! Let me know if you’ve come across something good that works for you!