I have many complaints about the general, everyday horrors of pregnancy, and dry skin easily falls into the top 10. Pregnancy dry skin isn’t normal dry skin; it is an itchy, scaly, bumpy abomination. And this is coming from someone who already moisturizes a fair amount! But there’s nothing like catching a sliver of your ashy ankles on the subway platform to humble you, and drive desperation. At this point there isn’t a cream, oil, or tub of butter that I haven’t sunk my fingers into; there isn’t a dry skin hack I haven’t tried. And now my newfound dry skin intelligence can benefit you all, pregnant or not. Let’s walk through how to get the most moisturized skin of your life...hurry up!
Fix Your Living Situation
It’s not that I hate drinking water, I’d just rather drink soda. Or wine. Or literally anything else. But since “anything else” is not so great for the baby, I’m stuck with water. Look, I’m not a fan of “just drink water” as a beauty solution as much as the next person, but there is something to a generous dose of H2O. I can get away with a lighter lotion on heavy water consumption days, and overall my skin is less itchy. To make the whole experience more pleasurable for me, I down the stuff in a comically large Hydroflask. I fill it with a cup of ice, a lemon peel, and water. These little tweaks make it frightening cold and super delicious.
Another thing I do is crank up my humidifier. I hate humidifiers because they require constant cleaning, which is something I despise even more than boring water. If you don’t wash down those suckers at least weekly, your room will fill with mold or something. I have no great solution about the cleaning aspect other than I’ve outsourced that duty to my husband, who soaks the humidifier’s parts in citric acid for 15 minutes for a weekly clean. He makes it looks easy but cleaning always looks easy when someone else is doing it. Anyway, I recommend running your humidifier all night for skin that doesn’t look like cracked clay. It’s also really nice for my curls, giving me that “I’ve been away in the tropics” look each morning.
The most moisturizing body wash on the planet is from Jordan Samuel. It has an oil-gel texture that turns milky when it hits your skin. I love it, as well as Bathing Culture’s outdoorsy-scented wash. But truly the best way to help ward off dry skin in the shower is by taking a short one. I’m talking five minutes max, using warm-not-hot water. I time myself by cueing up old episodes of The Real Housewives of New York City on my iPad, and make sure my butt’s out of the shower before the first commercial break. And as soon as I do step out of the shower, I hardly towel off. I get my pits and whatnot, but I mostly stay wet to keep all of that hydration on me. And then I immediately lotion up, starting with…
A Good Base
When you’re working with dry, itchy, winter (or pregnant) skin, no one lotion is ever enough. You’ve got to layer. The base should be something that’s thick but not too thick and glides easily over skin. Amount-wise, you’re going to use the most of this lotion than any of the creams or oils that follow, so it’s best to choose something that won’t decimate your bank account. Oldie but goodie CeraVe’s Moisturizing Cream is that one for me—the hyaluronic acid in there keeps my skin happy. When I want to give myself a big treat I switch over to Kate McLeod’s Body Stones. I am obsessed with these stones–they are truly the Rolls Royce of body moisturizers. My unlikely favorite is the sex stone because it glides the easiest over my skin. The slip to it is unreal and it pulls in doubletime as a lotion-meets-oil.
Seal The Deal
Lotions evaporate, but a thick ointment can help keep them on your skin longer. I switch between two: Aquaphor, because Aquaphor is the non-irrating, inexpensive no brainer. And the second is Burt’s Bees Multipurpose Healing Ointment, which relies on shea butter and coconut oil, as opposed to Aquaphor’s mostly mineral oil makeup. I like Burt’s Bees because again, it’s much easier to smooth all over. This is the kind of ease you look for when you can hardly bend over. Also Burt’s Bees just smells nicer, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Take Oil Breaks
Finally, if you want the most moisturzed skin of your life, you’re going to have to develop an intimate relationship with oil. I have two favorites: Hatch Belly Oil and Sangre de Fruta Body Serum. Both have their benefits, with the former having an easy-to-use applicator dropper, and the latter with a truly refreshing, garden-y pick-me-up scent. Both go on clear, so I can avoid any dreaded yellow oil stains, and they also dry fairly quickly so I don’t have to worry about dirtying my clothes. I’ll pull either out midday or in the evening to support my other moisturzing layers. It’s not always easy, but is has to be done.
Photo via ITG