No go with the preggo glow…

August 26, 2010 at 10:52 pm (Uncategorized)

Lies, I tell you, it’s all lies, lies, lies – far from having radiant, dewy prenatal pores, my skin has never been worse in my life. In fact, generally my skin is pretty good. I have even received compliments on it in the (what seems very distant) past. But now, every morning seems to bring some new unsightly horror right up close in the bathroom mirror. Ugh – combined with the hideous effects of winter, when the acute desiccation of my skin already serves as a daily reminder of why I loathe the cold, it’s just awful. Right now I have a bolt on my neck that would give Frankenstein a decent run for his money. It’s like having a huge panic button conveniently located on the underside of my chin – and I’d press it, I really would, except I’m afraid of making my head explode.

I was hunting a new moisturiser the other day, because my old faithful clearly isn’t up to this particular challenge, and my Man Town writer friend L dragged me into her beautician to consider the options there. The woman came out from behind the counter, peered at my face for a long, uncomfortable moment, and basically pronounced my face dead on arrival.

I was a little taken aback. Next she started on a blunt riff about the need for me to have an hour-long facial – at least – because there was so much hard work for the emergency recovery team to do. Her brow puckered in concern while she continued staring at me – and I have to say, her scrutiny made me feel like I was ageing on the spot. You know in Indiana Jones when the bad guy chooses the wrong grail and his entire face and body disintegrates in a few violent seconds? I felt exactly like that. There was a good deal more head shaking and tut-tutting thrown in, and at the precise moment my bottom lip practically started trembling – because she’s not silly, she’s shrewd – she started piling product into my arms.

The transaction itself went by in a bit of a blur, but when L and I emerged, I felt as though I’d already had my face pummelled. We stood blinking on the footpath for a moment, both a bit stunned by the force and speed with which the beautician had stripped me of my beans. I think I was paying for my freedom – I just wanted to get OUT of there. I wanted to get as far away from her as possible. What is it about these women in white lab coats? Why do they make me feel so vulnerable? And what’s so hot about a total stranger touching my face, anyway? I’m not sure I like the sound of that at all.

Because you see, I’ve never had a facial. And why the hell would I start now, if all they’re going to do is insist I look like shit? I mean, really, who needs it? I’ve been feeling lousy enough about the state of my skin without some lineless freak enumerating my many faults while I am paying for the privilege. It sounds like a form of assault, and I can’t think why I’d invite it.

Anyway, the new moisturiser is a couple of days in and making zero irrigation impact on these arid, uneven plains. If anything I think my skin’s looking slightly worse. I know it’s hormonal, and I guess it’s my payback for dodging morning sickness – although personally I thought sleeplessness was a fair trade. I don’t have the luscious locks, either. My hair is as thin and dull as ever. I’m also back on the loo every several seconds. My legs ache like I’ve been on the rack. And my gums are bleeding. But hey, there’s also a whole list of possible side effects that I don’t have, and I’m grateful for these many mercies. At least I’m not constipated.



  1. Charlotte said,

    Oh Di, I am sorry about the skin. When I worked in Johannesburg, had a salary and no kids, I used expensive product and had a monthly facial. Now I can’t afford either – it’s Nivea all the way for me – and I don’t see any difference in my skin whatsoever. I honestly believe it’s a crock and that lady in white has been trained to make women feel anxious about their skin (if they didn’t, who would she have to sell expensive stuff to and give facials to?).

    As you say, at least you’re not constipated. That WOULD be grim.

    • doctordi said,

      Thanks, Charlotte – lousy skin is crap. Yeah, my friend S spoke to a renowned dermatologist about this – at a wedding or something – and he said it was a total crock too. He said the only difference any of these products could claim lay in sun protection factors, which my old moisturiser DOES have and which this new stuff naturally doesn’t. Now I’m cross with myself for allowing the dupe. I do know better than that, and it’s irritating to have been sucked in by her condemnation.

      I cheer on the regularity front. Regularly.

  2. davidrochester said,

    How much water do you drink daily? The good old 64-oz-per-day advice can work wonders for just about any dermatological errata (including dryness). Of course, that may not be what you want to do when the Little Stranger has already reduced your bladder capacity by 9/10ths.

    • doctordi said,

      I forget sometimes that most of you guys have never met me, David, but of course you wouldn’t know I have a water bottle permanently lodged in my right hand. I drink more water than anyone I know, easily a couple of litres a day, which is one of the reasons why this is so confounding (and why I don’t expect to get off the loo anytime soon). I also eat good oils like nuts and avocados, supposedly great for retaining the skin’s moisture (though that’s not why I eat ’em, that’s just because they taste good), but at the moment nothing is working. I really think it’s hormonal and that there’s not much to be done.

      • davidrochester said,

        Ah, well — you’re ahead of the game. 🙂 OK, I have one more bright idea. Have you tried using unpasteurized honey as a skin conditioner? Thin layer, leave on for 10 minutes, wash off (or have someone lick it off; that’s more fun).

      • doctordi said,

        Honey? Really? No, I have not tried that! We have a lot of flies in Australia, you know…

      • davidrochester said,

        Yes, really — it’s worth a shot. It’s a natural topical antibiotic, among other things. I used it when I was getting these weird rashes on my face and neck that the dermatologist couldn’t fix w/o steroids and antibiotic pills, which I refused to take. Worked like a charm.

  3. Annah said,

    Oh my goodness. I felt cheated just like you, not so very long ago. I thought the books must have it wrong, because I was far from glowing! I was so dry in the face (and body) that it hurt to move, I had a red bumpy rash right across my chin that flared up so bad, and acne on my back chest and shoulders. So I was dry, had a rash, and oily all in one. No French cosmetics have been made to deal with this problem all in one I bet! Now all this happened overnight and to a girl who never had a skin issue in her life. I was furious everytime an overseas friend would say “oh your in the second semester, I bet your glowing”……arghhhhh! Well I decided to treat the dryness and ignore the other problems and began cleansing gently and then lathering on ridiculous amounts of rich creamy moisturiser….and now at week 32…..oh I am glowing like you couldn’t imagine! Rash free, acne free and getting raving comments everywhere I go… last! So hang in there, it will happen…we just seem to be late bloomers. I recommend lots of water drinking, creamy gentle body washes (Johnson and Johnson extra rich was fab), lather on creamy body moisturiser (nivea soft worked wonders) and the best face moisturiser I found was Chanel Hydra Max Nutrition…..they will give you free sample tubes at any counter to try before you buy, feel free to ask for more than one sample so you can be sure it’s right for you. Then just wait it out and hey presto…the glow arrives …. Better late than never! The acne is from hormones internally so I didn’t see much point in dealing with that externally…your skin is so fragile at this time that I chose to protect it rather than poke and prode it. Just let it be, keep it clean and hydrated and I promise it will clear up. You just need to let your body do what it’s got to

    • doctordi said,

      Wow, Annah, another point of commonality – and I love the way you are blazing that trail 8 weeks ahead of me – it’s VERY handy for comparison!!! I feel much soothed by the idea that it may prove a temporary trend. And I was largely the same as you pre-pregnancy, although the IVF drugs were the start of the downward spiral in my own case. Hormones again, which is funny when you consider that when they were supposedly raging while I was a teenager, my skin was fine. The water? Check. The gentle body wash? Check. Lashings of moisturiser? Check. So maybe I just have to wait another couple of months… it’s really nice to think this might in fact go away.

      Thanks for the road check!!!

  4. litlove said,

    Hormones wreak havoc, and not the kind a lotion can fix, alas. BUT the good news is that they are changing so fast over pregnancy that your skin will undoubtedly get better by itself once you’re a little further into it. My only prescriptions are rest (because stressing makes everything worse) and a bit of sun as soon as it reappears.

    • doctordi said,

      I think you’re right, LL. Hormones are calling all the shots at the moment, so I may as well just forget about attempts to re-exert some control.

      We’ve been really lucky on the sunshine front – all winter’s been pretty good and at the moment the weather’s divine – but I think the accompanying wind is partly the culprit for the dryness… it’s been very harsh throughout the colder months, particularly on the beachfront.

  5. Grad said,

    I agree that most of the problem is hormones, and it will all work itself out…BUT…if you really want great products try Philosophy. I wash my face with Purity (although my sister, who modeled, swears by Cetaphil – which you can get in a drug store) and then moisturize with Hope In A Jar. It’s the best stuff I’ve ever used and I’ve used a lot. I went to one of those white coated ladies in a department store once for a “make over.” Afterward, I couldn’t run to the ladies room fast enough to get the “make over” off. I looked like a transvestite hooker. I should have been on the alert, though, since *she* looked exactly like she made *me* look, so what did I expect? At least you came home with useable skin care products…but what am I going to do with blue eyeshadow and a red lip crayon?

    • doctordi said,

      That “makeover” sounds hilarious, Graddikins – sounds like the facial equivalent of my wedding day trip to a south coast hairdresser.

      Hope in a Jar – with a name like that, the stuff must fly off the shelves. I wonder if we can get it here… I’ll have a look. Cetaphil I think I may have even seen at the chemist… Philosophy I don’t know. Exhausting, isn’t it?

  6. Lilian Nattel said,

    Oh you’ll be back to snazzy and laughing about all this. And you’ll have stories to tell. There is some lore that your skin condition has to do with gender of baby, but you’ll have to let us know how that all turns out later.

    • doctordi said,

      Yes, the wives’ tales are flowing thick and fast, Lilian! I’ve been told several times in the past few days that bad skin = girl, but really I think it’s just my own skin type reacting to the hormones, because I was also told that no morning sickness = boy, and that craving sweet things = girl, and that eating red meat = boy… etc etc etc.

      Basically, I’m confident it’s a boy or a girl!

  7. Pete said,

    I’m sorry about the skin disaster and have absolutely no advice (although the rest sounds good) and I’m confident that the hormones will balance out etc. I’m very curious now to find out whether Baby J is a boy or a girl. So you opted not to know? I thought maybe there was some unwritten rule about not divulging the gender of your baby before it’s born or perhaps you’re private about sharing that info?

    • doctordi said,

      Pete, if we’d elected to find out the sex, there’s no way I’d withhold that information on DoctorDi! We just don’t know. We decided not to find out, and when we were getting the amniocentesis, the specialist scrawled SUPPRESS GENDER all over our paperwork so that no one would accidentally ruin it for us. It’s tempting because the information is available, and because practically it would be useful, but overall I just think that as surprises in this life go, the sex of your child is surely one of the biggest and best going around.

      • Pete said,

        Yes, hadn’t thought of it quite that way before. Doubly exciting when the baby’s born!

  8. Grad said,

    And then, of course, there’s that tried and true test…hold a needle on a string over your belly. If the needle swings back and forth in a straight line it’s a boy; if the needle swings in a little circle it’s a girl…or…is it the other way around…back and forth, girl; circle, boy?? The gender-calculator equivalent of feed a fever and starve a cold…or is it starve a fever and feed a cold? What happens if it’s feed a fever and you starve it instead? Do you catch a cold as a consequence?

    • doctordi said,

      Yes! I’ve seen that one in action, though not for years and years – it is funny the way it does seem to choose a definite direction, but unfortunately I can’t remember the accuracy of any of the predictions I’ve seen. The thing is, I don’t *want* to know, I have no preference whatsoever, I just want a healthy baby, I have zero intuition about it, absolutely no clue, but none of this stops the compulsive predictions of others. So far most people think it’s a boy, but the few who think it’s a girl all – even though none of them know each other – actually refer to the bump as “she.” It’s all pretty interesting.

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