Dr. Zenovia held an Instagram Live with Infertility & Reproductive Endocrinology Specialist, Dr. Shahin Ghadir. Here are some of their takeaways about hormonal skin changes during fertility treatments and pregnancy. Dr. Zenovia also breaks down her top skincare recommendations for women during their reproductive years.
Hormonal Skin Changes During Fertility Treatments & Pregnancy
Hormones govern our body’s messenger systems. Due to drastic hormonal changes during pregnancy including heightened estrogen levels, many women experience hormonal acne flare-ups. During both fertility treatments and pregnancy, the ratio between estrogen and progesterone as well as the hormonal milieu at the follicular level at the base of your facial tissue is stimulated. When the ratio and relationship between hormones change, the skin condition changes. For example, the well-known “pregnancy glow” comes from the changing ratio of hormones we have during pregnancy that has a direct collagen effect.
Acne During Fertility Treatments & Pregnancy
For women experiencing acne breakouts during fertility treatments, you can continue to use your regular acne-fighting topicals (both before and after implantation). As the zygote embeds in the uterus and you start to get growth, you will not be getting any systemic absorption of your acne topicals. Dr. Zenovia recommends using Benzoyl Peroxide in the morning and retinol at night. Dr. Zenovia’s 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Cleanser deeply penetrates to remove buildup from clogged pores and eradicate blemishes. To fight pesky zits, Dr. Zenovia’s 5% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Spot Treatment targets and clears pimples overnight, while helping to reduce redness or irritation. For evening skincare, Dr. Zenovia’s Advanced Retinol Night Repair Treatment works overnight to support the skin’s natural cellular renewal process and reduce the appearance of acne. These topicals are safe to use during fertility stimulation.
During pregnancy, however, we don’t want to use anything that can potentially harm the baby. Therefore, during pregnancy, dermatologists recommend Erythromycin Solution for acne treatment. Dr. Zenovia notes that every product in the US is placed in a pregnancy and lactation category to determine whether it's safe for use during pregnancy. As a board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Zenovia recommends holding off on retinol during pregnancy. In addition to Erythromycin Solution, Benzoyl Peroxide, and Sulfur-based acne products are safe to use if they're cleared by your doctor.
Botox & Injectables During Fertility Treatments & Pregnancy
When it comes to injectables such as fillers and Botox, you want to avoid use during both pregnancy and lactation but it is fine during fertility treatments. One can even get Botox the day before they are transferred to get their implant! Systemic studies have been conducted to see if botulinum toxin was found systemically at the time of injection and after injection, but it was undetectable in the serum. Therefore, injectables are safe during fertility treatments but not pregnancy.
Skin Care During Your Reproductive Years
When it comes to taking care of your skin during your reproductive years, antioxidation and sunscreen are the most important topicals to include in your morning regimen. Even if you don’t plan on spending time outdoors, sunscreen application is still necessary! If your eyes see sunlight then your skin is being exposed to ultraviolet radiation. If you plan on spending time outside, re-apply sunscreen every two hours (re-application isn’t necessary if you’re at the office all day). Dr. Zenovia’s Vitamin C Brightening Moisturizer SPF 30 contains clinical-grade Vitamin C Ester to help minimize the appearance of dark spots and discoloration while transparent nano zinc-oxide offers broad-spectrum mineral protection from harmful UVA/UVB rays.
If you are over the age of twenty-five, Dr. Zenovia also recommends incorporating an antioxidant in your daily morning regimen because our antioxidative pathways slow down as we age. Using products with Vitamin C, Green Tea Polyphenols, and Coffee Berry Extract are great for the morning time. A lot of the Vitamin C products on the market just sit on the skin, oxidize, and aren’t doing anything because your skin isn’t absorbing them. Vitamin C is a very unstable molecule- the minute you open the bottle, a lot of them oxidize in our oxygenated atmosphere. Therefore, the kind of Vitamin C you use and the way it's packaged and formulated is critical to making it effective.
Dr. Zenovia’s Vitamin C Brightening Toner hydrates the tissue right before you apply the rest of your topicals. Many people wash their skin and then apply more products. The problem is that the serum or moisturizer you're applying is sitting on top of the tissue. This toner helps create a pH-balanced surface so that your next layered product absorbs better. Additionally, this toner has the powerful active Vitamin C so that it delivers an antioxidant, brightening your skin and helping to prevent brown spots.
Nighttime skincare and quality sleep are critical for skin repair and stimulation. According to Dr. Zenovia, the most important ingredients to use at night include Glycolic Acid and Retinol. As a chemical exfoliant, Glycolic Acid sloughs down that top dead layer of your skin
Dr. Zenovia’s power-packed Acne Control Peel Pads contain a combination of Glycolic and Salicylic Acids which break down the stratum corneum and opens up clogged pores. Glycolic Acid also helps lighten stubborn acne marks and speed the healing process of acne.
Using a pea-sized amount of retinol in the evening helps preserve the skin’s collagen and supports cellular turnover. Retinol is a powerful anti-aging and anti-acne fighter. It opens the pores and prevents keratin from clogging the follicles and creating pimples. Dr. Zenovia’s Advanced Retinol Night Repair Treatment contains our All-Trans-Retinol, the medical-grade retinol ingredient.