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The Best Prenatal Skincare

Oh, that pregnancy glow—whether it's due to the influx of hormones, increased blood flow or simply your inner bliss, enjoy it and nourish it. Pregnancy is a great time to indulge in a little self-care, whenever you have a chance. If you have time, relaxing facials or prenatal massages do wonders for both your skin and your psyche. But you don't always have to leave the house to take care of yourself. Here are a few ways to ramp up your skin care—and pamper yourself too.

Keep Moisturized: If you're already prone to dry skin, take the time to moisturize while you're pregnant. Things can fall by the wayside when you are busy getting ready for your baby, so try not to overlook the health of your skin. Especially in winter months, your skin could use some extra pampering. The Belli line of skincare products are designed for pregnant women and moms, as is Bella B. Keep in mind that during pregnancy you may become sensitive to certain scents; if you are, many of these products come in a fragrance-free version.

Treat Stretch Marks: Those dreaded discolored stripes that develop when your body grows faster than your skin can stretch: We've all been there. The marks that show up on your belly, breasts, hips, and thighs are a part of being pregnant, and some 90% of pregnant women in America get them. (Experts say it's also hereditary, so ask your mom if she got them.) Some stretch marks will gradually fade; others may need treatments to improve them. There's no proven "cure" or preventative treatment for them, but keeping your skin hydrated with creams—and by drinking lots of water—can at least help relieve some of the itchiness that accompanies them. Mustela, a French line of skincare for moms and babies, has a variety of treatment products that help nourish and firm your skin. Palmer's makes cocoa butter-based products in various consistencies (lotion, cream, butter) that you can rub on your skin to keep it moisturized.

Get a Massage: With all the work your body is doing while you're pregnant, you could use a nice massage now and then. And if you don't have time to go to the spa, you can always give yourself a pick-me-up at home. Massage oils give your skin even more moisturizing, and the application of the oils is naturally relaxing. The massage oils available on the market come in both light scents like lavender and fragrance free, in case you've developed a sensitivity to certain smells.

  1. Mom Tip: Many breastfeeding moms swear by lanolin to help soothe sore, cracked nipples. What is lanolin? It's a wax that's secreted by sheep that provides a healing and protective barrier that's safe for baby. It's not just for nipples, though. It also works on dry skin and chapped lips. And if you think you might go down the breastfeeding route, adding lanolin to your skincare routine may not be a bad idea. That's what customer busy_mom2000 did.

    I'm not a first time mom, and have experienced the pain of cracked and painful nipples during the first weeks of breastfeeding before. During my last pregnancy, I came across Lansinoh's HPA Lanolin cream. After reading the many good reviews, I decided to give it a try. I purchased this cream in my 37th week of pregnancy, and started "pretreating" my nipples using this once a day. Since my baby's been born, I've used this after every feeding and I have to say: it works! This time around, breastfeeding has been so much less painful, and I have not had cracked nipples.

    The Lanolin cream is indeed pretty thick (somebody described it as having the consistency of honey) and very greasy. All it takes is a very small amount, so one tube should last quite a while. I would definitely recommend this for anyone pregnant or nursing, and will continue using this while breastfeeding.