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Skin changes during pregnancy

Pregnancy is normally a time when you are radiating with excitement, yes? But when your pregnancy complexion doesn’t always reflect that inner joy it can dampen your spirits.

Worry not, for most you will find that these skin issues resolve themselves following the birth of your baby.  Here are some of the most common skin problems women encounter during pregnancy—and what you can do about them.


Pregnancy should be a time of excitement

Skin Sensitivity

Go easier on your skin now that you’re pregnant. You might get red more easily if you use a facial scrub, your normal facial might verge on painful, and the perfumed lotion you wear might irritate your skin (and make you nauseated, but that’s a different story). That’s why many mums-to-be switch to unscented products and start choosing products that do not contain harsh chemicals, preservatives and fragrances. “You certainly don’t want anything causing micro-tears on your skin,” says Sue Ibrahim, our dermatology nurse consultant.  “The more cuts and wounds on your skin, the easier it is for chemicals to be absorbed into your bloodstream. Ingredients to stay away from in soaps and body washes include sodium laureth sulphate, parabens and fragrance.” These ingredients aren’t just potential irritants—some say they could pose health risks to baby. We say believe it, because (not surprisingly) a lot of products aren’t tested directly on pregnant women. If you are using prescription topicals on your face you need to tell your doctor that you are pregnant as most prescription creams are not licensed for use during pregnancy either. At Elan Medical Skin Clinic we advise our patients to use our Elan Medical DermaCalm range during pregnancy, because they are free from fragrances and preservatives. They also contain mild anti-inflammatory ingredients that can soothe irritated skin.

Acne breakouts during pregnancy

During pregnancy your hormones are all over the place, and that might mean pimples like you had when you were a teenager. The cruel joke, of course, is that many of the treatments that are prescribed for acne cannot be used during pregnancy. Prescription medications like Tetracyclines, Isotretinoin (Roacutane(R)) and the anti-androgen hormone therapies are definite no-nos. And the jury’s out on over-the-counter creams, since they haven’t been tested specifically on pregnant women (yup, you find that a lot with products). Ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can be absorbed into the bloodstream, so they’re not worth the risk either. “You can safely use lactic acid and biosulfur to treat acne,” Sue Ibrahim says. Don’t touch, pick or squeeze pimples— just wash with a mild cleanser twice a day. “A lot of women find Acne Phototherapy beneficial during pregnancy and it is perfectly safe for both you and the baby.

Sun Sensitivity

Sorry, mums-to-be, but “pregnancy glow” does not refer to a bronzed, sun-kissed complexion. You should actually try to stay out of the sun as much as you can while you’re pregnant. That’s because your surging hormones make you susceptible to dark patches on your skin—known as melasma, or the ‘mask of pregnancy’, which is triggered by sun exposure. So pull out the big floppy hat, find a beach umbrella and be diligent about wearing sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day. If you are unlucky and do get Melasma during pregnancy it may resolve on its own following the birth of your baby, if not then you will need the help of a dermatologist I’m afraid.

Stretch marks

Now you’ve got another big skin concern: stretch marks. Anytime someone’s body grows quickly, they’re at risk for stretch marks, so the fact that baby is growing exponentially in there puts you right in the high-risk zone. Of course, not every mum-to-be gets stretch marks. “For most people, whether or not they get stretch marks has to do with genetic predisposition,” says Sue Ibrahim. But you can do your best to head them off by gently exfoliating and thoroughly moisturising your belly, boobs, stomach, hips and thighs as much as you can. As for what moisturizer to use, it’s hard to make a recommendation. “A lot of products make claims,” Sue Ibrahim says. “Some may help but aren’t really proven to prevent stretch marks.” If you are left with troublesome stretch marks following the birth of you baby, it is worth looking into the skin tightening treatments we offer at Elan Medical Skin Clinic.

Skin rashes during pregnancy

If you’ve got red, itchy skin, it’s important not to ignore it. Itchy feet and hands could be a sign of cholestasis of pregnancy, a scary complication that can cause liver problems for baby. Your doctor can do a simple blood test to make sure that’s not causing your rash. Another common pregnancy rash is PUPPP (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy), which often starts in the abdomen and spreads from there. PUPPP is actually harmless to baby, but it will be completely aggravating for you. Book in for a Dermatology Consultation if you are concerned.

All I want for Christmas is great skin…

The CHRISTMAS PARTY season is literally upon us, but with that comes the bitter cold, long nights, windswept hair and dull skin.

Sound familiar?

Well, fear not, because we’ve collected a list of the top tips to keen your skin in tip top condition this winter.

All I want for Christmas is great skin!

As told by UK’s leading skin guru – Sue Ibrahim – who has worked with many celebrity faces.

Sue promises to keep your skin looking as good as the A-listers’ over the Christmas period.

Here are her 8 steps to party proof skin:

1. According to Sue Ibrahim the most crucial thing you must do is simply wash your face

He says: “First and foremost if you are going out at night you need to have a good face wash. When you wash your face the most important thing is getting rid of the dead skin cells as well as the pollution.

“The product needs to suit your skin type; so if you have oily skin then make sure you have a product that is for oily skin. It is simple things like this that we’re getting wrong when buying our skin care products.”

2. Swap the Baileys for a glass of water once in a while – hard we know!

Sue says: “Little things like drinking two glasses of water for every unit of alcohol you consume to keep your skin hydrated and healthy looking is very important.”

“It also encourages the build up of collagen in your skin that gives your skin a more plump and dewy looking glow.”

3. Turn the heating down and wrap up

Surprised? Sue explains: “Over-using the central heating and blaring the heat around your home is just drying out your skin, especially if you have sensitive skin, it can make your skin sore and itchy.

“So to counter-act this we need to stop turning on the heat full blast and enjoy wrapping up warm and cozying up in blankets instead.

“However if you are going to use the central heating it is ideal to put a bowel of water in the room so the air gets a little moist as well.”

4. Sue is convinced these 3 things will keep your skin glowing

“Get plenty of sleep, always wear SPF no matter what time of the year it is and don’t smoke!” she says.

5. The number one party-proofing product?

For Lee it’s all in the regime, he says: “With skincare you can’t just use one item you need to have a proper skin regime.”

6. But how do you prevent getting bad skin?

Sue says: “Not putting too much make-up on – people don’t tend to give their skin chance to breath.

“It will also reveal wrinkles if you wear heavy make up. Try an mineral foundation instead”

7. And what’s the biggest skincare myth floating around?

According to Sue Ibrahim, it’s the following: “The biggest skin myth at the moment is that you only need to wear SPF in the summer.

“This just isn’t true. You must wear it everyday all year round.”

8. Who has the best skin in the celebrity world?

In Sue’s opinion it’s the one and only Meghan Markle, she says: “Meghan Markle – when I look at her she always appears un-sun damaged and she has a very natural tone and she is not overly worked on.

“She also wears neutral make-up and has great strong features.”

Mole checking is vital says London skin expert

Woman has her moles checked by a professional - Mole checking is essential says Sue Ibrahim the nurse consultant in dermatology from Elan Medical Clinics in central London and Essex

Mole checking is essential says Sue Ibrahim the nurse consultant in dermatology from Elan Medical Clinics in central London and Essex

Moles, brown spots and growths on the skin are usually harmless, but not always. If you have a certain type or large number of moles (more than 100), you are at greater risk of developing skin cancer.

The ABCDE method for checking moles is very useful but if in doubt, getting them professionally assessed is vital, says Sue Ibrahim. Sue, the nurse consultant in dermatology at Elan Medical Skin Clinics, has more than 30 years’ experience of assessing and removing moles using the latest advanced radio-wave technology. Click here to read reviews from her clients.


If you draw a line through the middle of a mole, the two sides will match, meaning it is symmetrical. Anything asymmetrical is a warning sign for melanoma.

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Have you noticed darker than normal patches on your face, asks London skin expert

The DermaActives hyperpigmentation programme from Elan Medical Skin Clinics

The DermaActives hyperpigmentation programme from Elan Medical Skin Clinics

During the summer months, keep an eye out for patches of darker-than-normal skin that can develop on the cheeks, forehead, upper lip, nose, chin and jaw, and sometimes the neck and forearms.

London skin expert, Sue Ibrahim from Elan Medical Skin Clinics in central London and Rayleigh, Essex explains that the condition is called melasma and it’s a common skin complaint that affects women and men.

Melasma is when brown or greyish pigmentation appears on the face, the exact cause of which is not known. But rest assured that it is not contagious, not due to an allergy and is not cancerous. It is not itchy or sore, so if you have a raised rash that is, please seek further advice immediately.

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Essex skin expert explains how to stay safe in the sun

With the temperature hitting highs of 35 degrees in central London and Essex this week, it’s time to get out and enjoy this illusive summer sunshine but please stay safe.

Some sunshine is good for us and helps our bodies create vitamin D, not to mention the wellbeing and feel good factors it

Woman stays safe in the sun thanks to advice from Elan Medical Skin expert, Sue Ibrahim

Woman stays safe in the sun thanks to advice from Elan Medical Skin expert, Sue Ibrahim

induces. Essex skin expert, Sue Ibrahim at Elan Medical Skin Clinic says the best way to enjoy the sunshine safely is to use a daily, broad spectrum sunscreen of factor 30 + and remember to apply it frequently and liberally thoroughly the day.

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