Bloom and gloom

Maybe it is just the hideous weather we have been having for months and months on end, but I’ve been feeling particularly pasty and non-glowing recently.

I’ve always been susceptible to the odd spot here and there – oily skin is the price I pay for the benefit of less wrinkles later on. Or so I optimistically tell myself! My zits have been mostly confined to the T-zone, with one notable exception. A few years ago, a rash developed on just one cheek. I would almost have preferred it on both! I went to the doctor and even had a blood test to rule out anything serious. Eventually my GP decided it was just a random eruption of spots and prescribed benzoyl peroxide. The ridiculous one-sided acne virtually disappeared overnight – that little tube of gel is the best invention ever. Since then I have discovered lower doses of benzoyl peroxide can be bought over the counter and have used it occasionally, perhaps every couple of months or so, to tackle spots directly. It really is the miracle cure!


My pregnancy skin is pretty much the same as before, apart from when I was approaching the end of my first trimester. I woke up one day and all of a sudden I had a probably hormone-related breakout. One or two I can handle, but this was unacceptable! So out came my trusty tube of magic gel and I happily smeared it over half my face… sure enough, after a couple of applications my skin was clearing up marvellously as usual.

Literally a day or two after this I was reading one of my pregnancy books, and a section on acne during pregnancy caught my eye. I was smugly thinking “lucky me, I have my special gel” when I read that products containing benzoyl peroxide should not be used during pregnancy. Nooo! Not only was this disappointing news for me, but what about the baby – had I unwittingly fed it evil chemicals? After subsequently scaring myself even more by looking on the internet (“there is not enough research into this area” etc, and Boots doesn’t recommend it either) I was ready to call the midwife. After a few minutes of calming down time, I didn’t phone. On reflection, I’d only used a small amount of the low dosage gel and I decided that worrying about it was doing more harm to the baby than anything I’d actually put on my skin. What sealed the deal for me was the comforting thought that if it was really dangerous, the midwife would have surely told me. Surely?!

However, it did get me thinking about what I put on my skin and how, if at all, this could affect the baby. I read on the internet that Boots No.7 Protect & Perfect gel is not recommended either. Of course, this is what I use most nights! There is so much contradictory information out there – “topical treatments do not affect your baby” vs. “DO NOT USE ANY OF THESE!” – that ultimately, I think each pregnant woman has to make her own choice. Personally, I’ve stopped using Protect & Perfect and have switched to Simple and Clinique products as they are supposed to be gentler on the skin. I’m hoping my aforementioned lovely greasy skin will smooth out any lurking wrinkles anyway! So far, it hasn’t made much difference to the overall appearance of my face – probably 99% of how your skin looks is determined by genes rather than products in any case…

Since Christmas there fortunately haven’t been any more spot incidents and I haven’t been tempted by my magic gel. I’m hoping this means the fabled pregnancy bloom is finally starting to kick in. All I need now is for the sun to come out and tan away this deathly pallor!

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