You have heard about pregnancy glow and are looking forward to look your best. Hold on. Now everyone gets that highly spoken about pregnancy glow, some of us also suffer from pregnancy skin problems.
If you thought weight gain, pregnancy nausea and mood swings are just the challenges you would have to face after getting pregnant. We would want you to review that list of challenges again because you might be one of those women who instead of welcoming pregnancy glow are experiencing certain skin woes.
Physically and mentally you have to prepare not only to welcome your newborn baby but also pregnancy skin problems which might become problematic if not taken care of in the appropriate manner.
Why And When Do Pregnancy Skin Problems Occur?
Skin problems- right from experiencing acne and pimple breakouts on your face like during your teenage years to finding rashes; stretch marks and dark patches on any part of your body- are going to plague some of you out there during your pregnancy days.
So why do these problems affect pregnant women?
First of all, hormonal levels fluctuate tremendously during the pregnancy phase having unwanted influence on not only the skin, but also the nails and hairs.
Apart from that, your blood vessels are stretched; your body secretes more oil and sweat; your immunity system is overburdened to keep your baby protected; water retention in different parts of the body- all this definitely has an impact on your skin health and glow.
During pregnancy, you might face problems with new skin issues; your previous skin problems might get aggravated or get improved depending on your overall health and lifestyle.
For some women, the skin problems might crop up during the first trimester itself, while for others changes in the skin might become noticeable during the 2nd or 3rd trimester. However, generally most of the skin associated problems that keep you company during your pregnancy tend to subside after you give birth.
8 Common Pregnancy Skin Problems You May Experience
Whether you are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, you have to be acquainted with the common pregnancy skin problems so that you can be better prepared to deal with skin issues during pregnancy. Plus the knowledge of these will probably help you consult a dermatologist in case any of these problems aggravate and cause major concerns especially after pregnancy. Here goes the list of the 8 common pregnancy skin problems-
1. Acne or breakouts are common during pregnancy
Pregnancy can help you take a trip down the memory lane especially to your teenage days when breakouts were a serious skin issue which had close connection to your appearance as well as confidence. Due to increased production of oil in your body (specifically the production of sebum) due to obviously the hormonal changes, acne can erupt on your face, your back or your chest.
Topical antibiotics are one way to check acne breakouts in a safe manner during pregnancy.
Another option to ensure minimum amount of breakouts is by cleansing the affected area with a product containing alpha-hydroxy acid. Although small quantities of the same are considered safe during pregnancy, it is advised to check with your doctor before using any of medication.
Steam can also help in clearing clogged pores on your skin and therefore prevent acne breakout. You can also try home-remedies for acne during pregnancy. Do not ever prick the acne and laser/light therapy might also work on the acne.
2. Stretch marks during pregnancy
It is believed that a majority of pregnant women tend to develop stretch marks on their bodies because of the stretching and pulling of the skin. While not all women develop stretch marks, to a certain extent their development on the bodies of pregnant women is rooted in the genetics. Apart from that, the sudden weight loss or weight gain in the body of an expectant mother, generally leads to the development of stretch marks.
Stretch appear as reddish and purplish lines slowly converting to white lines on thighs, breasts, buttocks or abdomen.
Moisturizing your body and massaging your body with nourishing oils and creams right from the first trimester will lower the chances of stretch marks developing on your body. Any form of moderate exercise that is suited for a pregnant woman can be done by you to keep your body active and help your skin adjust to the stretching.
Is suddenly your clear and glowing skin giving way to dull skin in the form of dark patches and spots on different parts of your body? If yes, then you are experiencing hyperpigmentation during pregnancy because melanin is being increasingly produced in your body. Melasma is a kind of hyperpigmentation extremely common among pregnant women where brown patches develop on the skin of their bodies.
Melasma is also known as the mask of pregnancy as its’ appearance is largely concentrated on the forehead, cheeks and chin. More common with women who have dark skin tones, melisma can also be an issue for women with fair skin colour.
To effectively tackle the issue of hyperpigmentation during pregnancy, you need to spend less time outdoors in the sun.
Apart from that utilize protective accessories like hats, sunglasses etc. when outside and also use SPF30 or above sunscreen to protect yourself from exposure to the sunlight.
Use potato peels on the dark parts as a home-remedy for getting rid of hyperpigmentation during pregnancy. Potatoes contain Azelaic acid which can help lighten the dark spot naturally.
4. Skin tags
This is one of the common yet irritable pregnancy skin problems because it has no definite treatment or solution to it. One theory states that due to increase in your weight, your skin might start rubbing against each other especially under your arms, neck, under your breasts, vaginal area etc. and this is exactly where these skin-colored growths called skin tags begin to appear.
Skin tags mostly grow under the folds of the skin and hormonal changes during pregnancy can also be responsible for their growth.
In case these bother you a lot, you can visit a dermatologist to get the skin tags removed safely and conveniently. Try and wear clothing that does not irritate the skin tags and also avoid rapid movement of the affected area because it might lead to bleeding.
Ideally, skin tags should disappear after pregnancy.
5. Pregnancy rashes
As your skin keeps stretching and expanding to accommodate your growing baby, it will become irritated, tensed and dried at some point of time. Many women tend to have itchy, red pregnancy rashes during the last stretch of their pregnancy. They usually form near the stretch marks.
Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancyis a type of pregnancy rash that takes the form of hive-shaped bumps around the stretch marks and other areas storing fat in your body like arms, thighs, breasts, buttocks etc. Yes, they are definitely a nuisance and very itchy.
To get relief from the severe itching and inflammation on your body caused by PUPPPs, you can use antihistamines, topical medications or steroids. Along with that using cold compressors on affected areas; washing the area with lukewarm water; and wearing loosely-fitted clothes can help minimize the impact of these pregnancy rashes.
If you are worried whether pregnancy rashes will harm your baby, be assured that your baby is safe and happy growing inside of you.
6. Spider and varicose veins
Sometimes your arms, neck and face might get covered with red patches of veins which are called spider veins. While varicose veins are swollen veins and are painful in comparison to spider veins. Both these changes in the veins are caused due to increased blood flow; excess uterine pressure and hormonal changes.
In order to deal with such changes in the veins, you need to walk around more; exercise as and when possible; compression socks or support hose can be used to alleviate the symptoms and you can try to keep your legs elevated and not crossed for longer periods of time.
7. Dry and itchy skin- eczema during pregnancy
Your skin may become itchy and dry during pregnancy giving way to eczema/prurigo/atopic eruption which is usually caused due to the disruption in the overall functioning of the immune system.
Another common cause of dry and itchy skin during pregnancy is hormonal fluctuation within the body. For some eczema may crop up for the very first time during pregnancy, while for others who have had a history of experiencing eczema, this skin problem might re-appear during pregnancy.
Warm showers; moisturizing your body regularly; keeping your body well-hydrated; and wearing loose-fitted clothes and clothes made out of natural materials will help provide relief to the eczema affected areas.
Grab bottlefulls of your favourite lotions and keep dabbing them on your skin.
8. Pemphigoid gestationis
Many pregnant women notice blisters around their abdominal area which spreads to the soles, palms, scalps and face during their 2nd or 3rd trimester and these red bumps are associated with the autoimmune disease called Pemphigoid gestationis. This is one of the pregnancy skin problems that are highly uncomfortable and often confused with PUPPPs.
Cold compressors and ice can be used to cool the affected areas; try to stay indoors in a cool environment; Epsom salt baths can help provide effective relief and dosage of safe antihistamines after consultation with your doctor might also be useful.
Whether you experience any of the above mentioned 8 common pregnancy skin problems or any other skin issue apart from these- what you must keep in mind that everything depends on your lifestyle and food consumption. So try to consume healthy, nutritious as well as a balanced diet and also increase your fluid intake.
Following an exercise regime will also help keep your body in motion and in reduction of weight; and pay extra attention to the products right from the moisturizers to the makeup products you apply on your skin and try to utilize products containing natural and organic ingredients.
Pregnancy is not just a physical roller-coaster ride, but your skin also goes through a lot of changes.
As the last resort, if you feel like a particular skin condition is getting out of hand and nothing is working out to provide you comfort; then it is suggested that you do consult a doctor/dermatologist for the same.
Do not get overwhelmed with any of the pregnancy skin problems because eventually they will disappear after birth of your baby. You just need to be patient and persevere to keep your skin healthy!