We asked Jayne Russell, nutritional therapist and founder of award-winning pregnancy and baby skincare brand Nom Nom to share her expert opinion on how to look after skin during pregnancy.
Using oils on the skin
I love using plant oils to soothe, soften and protect. Similar in composition to fats under our skin, they easily absorb and carry nourishing fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids without blocking pores. They also help reduce water loss and friction, which can aggravate dry skin conditions. Also, if you want to avoid synthetic chemicals, skincare options based solely on plant butters and oils are naturally free from nasties.
During pregnancy I would recommend using highly nutritious and penetrative oils such as camellia, evening primrose, baobab and almond to promote elasticity; ease tight, itchy, dry skin and help combat stretch marks.
For babies, oils can be used to soothe and protect against nappy or teething rash and ease dry skin and cradle cap. Be wary of potentially sensitising peanut, almond and sesame oils; particularly where there is a tendency to eczema. The best ones for delicate baby skin are sunflower, starflower, evening primrose, jojoba and coconut.
Using oils in your diet
Fats and oils in the diet have long been demonised, so it’s encouraging to see their health benefits being celebrated again. I have always been a fan, recommending avocados many years before Nigella and a host of food bloggers encouraged us to mash it on sourdough.
Top of my list are the beneficial essential fatty acids provided by oily fish, nuts, leafy greens, flax, pumpkin and chia seeds.
Fats and oils are important for supporting healthy skin in babies, who continue to need a calorie dense diet at weaning. Oily fish, coconut milk or egg yolk are great sources as well as olive and flaxseed oil, full fat natural yogurt and milled nuts and seeds (if tolerated). The avocado needs another shout out too – highly nutritious, loved by most babies, portable and no cooking needed – perfect for weaning!
Jayne has worked for over 20 years as a pre postnatal massage and nutritional therapist and founded award winning pregnancy and baby skincare range Nom Nom.