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A skin expert explains why sun protection is important during pregnancy

By LLM Reporters on 3rd May 2019

Summer is nearly here! For most women this means wearing your favourite bikini, laying out in the sun and spending hours developing a tan. For pregnant women its tempting to indulge in the same habits but its important to remember the effects pregnancy and the sun can have on your body.

Skin expert and leading product developer at Colorescience, Patricia Boland, details why sun protection is essential during pregnancy. Outlining the risks surrounding lack of sun protection, she comments on how to prevent negative reactions to sunscreen and how to keep your baby safe.

There are plenty of sunscreens on the market that contain only natural ingredients and are specifically made for women with sensitive skin

So, why is it important for pregnant woman to wear SPF this summer?

Everybody is aware that too much time in the sun without protection can have consequences – the most common of which being sunburn. When your pregnant, this risk to your skin becomes higher. Your skin becomes highly sensitive and more vulnerable to sunburn, wrinkles, dark spots and itchiness. Additionally, your favourite sunscreen may contain harmful ingredients to you and your baby and in serious cases, it can affect the infant’s health before its even born.”

Can I sunbathe if I’m pregnant?

Of course you can! Just because you’re pregnant does not mean you have to stay indoors throughout summer. Often people are too harsh on pregnant women saying that they can’t do this or that, but if pregnant women are sensible about sun protection there’s no reason why they cannot enjoy the warm weather. Make sure to sun tan in moderation and try to avoid the hours where the sun’s rays are the most powerfulusually 10am to 4pm. Drink plenty of water and wear an SPF of 15 or higher and you should be absolutely fine.

What are the ingredients in sunscreen that pregnant women should steer clear from and why?

Sunscreens block harmful UV rays by including ingredients such as oxybenzone, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide and retinyl palmitate. Whilst these ingredients are harmless to women who are not pregnant, for pregnant women they can disrupt their everchanging hormones. Reactions to these chemicals include itchy dry skin, rashes, the development of skin tumours and in serious cases, birth defects. Luckily, there are plenty of sunscreens on the market that contain only natural ingredients and are specifically made for women with sensitive skin. Choose a physical or mineral sunscreen instead of chemical sunscreens where chemicals can enter the bloodstream and potentially affect the baby.

Pregnant women are much more susceptible to dehydration so make sure you and your baby are getting lots of water

What about if I want to wear makeup or apply other products such as insect repellent?

I would recommend using the sunscreen as a base and then apply your makeup on top to achieve a full-face protection. Nobody wants to take their makeup off to apply more sunscreen so for on the go protection try using Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen. This not only provides sun protection throughout the day but sheer, natural coverage as a makeup top up too! Unfortunately, alongside the summer heat comes pesky insects too. Don’t choose sunscreens made with insect repellents as they are less effective and try stay away from insect repellent sprays as inhaling strong chemicals may not agree with your baby. Instead, use a light, cream insect repellent and apply it after your sunscreen has set into the skin for maximum effectiveness.

What are your top tips for pregnant woman regarding sunscreen application?

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Pregnant women are much more susceptible to dehydration so make sure you and your baby are getting lots of water. Remember to spread the sunblock all around your body too, including your neck and chest. A common rule is a pea sized amount for the face and 2 heaped tablespoons worth of sunscreen to cover the rest of your body. Finally, although bikinis can be a tempting and flattering option for pregnant women, try wearing a maternity tankini instead so your bump is covered when the sun is at its strongest.