Friday, February 8, 2013

Paleo Pregnancy - Itchy Scratchy

I announced on Facebook last night that I have recently been turning into an itchy mess! I called my midwife and, after some reassurance that this is all a normal part of pregnancy, I decided to take matters into my own hands. My midwife explained that the combination of dry, winter weather and the fact that my baby is sucking up most of the nutrients I take in, there isn’t much leftover to nourish and moisturize my skin. As long as the baby’s needs are taken care of, I am a happy mama, but I knew there must be some form of relief out there for me. I still have 3 ½ months to go!

My midwife suggested an oatmeal bath, anti itch lotion and deep conditioner for my scalp. She even said I could put in the conditioner, put on a shower cap and leave it on for a couple of hours to really soak in. I’ve been wanting to try a homemade hair treatment anyway so I started researching online for recipes. We have an aloe plant in the house, so I wanted to use a recipe that incorporated aloe, as well. I found tons of recipes out there, but it sounded to me that you could pretty much put together any combination of moisturizing ingredients and you would end up with your own, specialized at home hair treatment.

Our happy little aloe plant

I combined the following to make my conditioner:

  • Gel from one leaf of the aloe vera plant
  • Tablespoon of coconut oil
  • Teaspoon of honey 
You may want to use more if you are trying to cover all of your hair, but I was mainly focused on my scalp. I melted the coconut oil and then whisked in the aloe vera gel and the honey until it was all mixed up. I got in my oatmeal bath (more on that in a minute…) and worked the conditioner into my scalp. I left it on while I bathed, which was about an hour. You will definitely need to shampoo your hair (maybe more than once) to rinse out all of the oil, but even after rinsing it left my hair feeling soft and smooth and today I did notice my scalp was less itchy. I will probably continue to do this once a week or so until the baby gets here or, god willing, the itchiness subsides.

My itchy scalp can’t hold a candle to my back…just ask Kevin. He has the lovely task of being a pregnant lady’s husband and he has been on full back scratching duty. I know there are plenty of natural remedies, but I needed immediate relief and if you have ever seen the end of town I work in you would know that there is not a health food store in sight. I did find a bottle of Aveeno Skin Relief Bath and Shower Oil that contains colloidal oatmeal.

Colloidal oatmeal is just super-finely milled oatmeal that moisturizes and soothes itchy, dry skin. The Aveeno Skin Relief Bath and Shower Oil is both a bath oil and an in-shower moisturizer (read: exit shower with caution due to slippery-like-a-sea-lion shower floor) that you apply in the shower and rinse off. I used it as a bath oil last night and as a moisturizer this morning and my back has been much less itchy today (edit: as the day wears on, the itchiness is returning, but I am going to give it more than one day). I am hoping that with continued use I’ll get back the non-itchy, glowing skin I love. :)

Some of my lovely Facebook friends suggested a few more natural moisturizing options like coconut oil, jojoba oil and rosehip seed oil. All are known for their intense moisturizing properties and I will definitely be trying these, as well! I love these all-natural options because there are no added ingredients and they are really good for your skin.

UPDATE 2/13/13 - The Aveeno Skin Relief Bath and Shower Oil isn't bad, but I found a bottle of pure Vitamin E oil in my cabinet, leftover from a homemade hand scrub I made as Christmas gifts. I have been putting it on my back before I get out of the shower and rinsing it off. I try to just let myself air dry instead of wiping it all away with the towel. I also rub some into my scalp every few days and let it sit until the end of my shower before I shampoo it out. I have seen a HUGE improvement since I started doing this. I'll probably use up the Aveeno when the Vitamin E oil runs out because I am too cheap not to, but I think it just goes to show you that pure, natural ingredients are always best.

Did you have the itchies during pregnancy? What remedies worked best for you?