Pregnancy is a joyous and life-changing moment for expectant parents, especially mothers. With a pregnant belly, it is obvious that your body will undergo change to accommodate and nurture the unborn child.
However, many physical ailments befall pregnant women during this time, such as morning sickness, fatigue, loss of bladder control and more. Another less talked about problem pertains to changes occurring on skin level. Thus, if you are expecting, you will find many skin-related changes in your body. Here are 8 of the most common ones and what you can do to deal with them.
8 Skin Changes Pregnant Women will Experience
1. Stretch Marks
The most commonly discussed skin condition; stretch marks is also one of the most frustrating side effects of pregnancy. It is the formation of pinkish lines and streaks across several body parts, such as your pregnant belly, breasts and the hips, as these regions tend to expand during the later trimesters to accommodate the growing fetus.
While they might be quite noticeable during the pregnancy, they usually retreat to becoming thin white lines after delivery. However, if you must, you can always try specialized lotions, with vitamin E or alpha-hydroxy acids, although there is no scientific evidence that it works.
As stretch marks primarily affects the body, melasma, colloquially known as the mask of pregnancy, affects the face. In essence, melasma is a condition where dark spots or splotches appear on the face, typically around the cheeks and forehead. The major cause of melasma is excessive pigmentation which is caused by significant fluctuations in hormones that ultimately also lead to other changes in the body.
In most cases of melasma usually treat themselves post-delivery. However, if you are particular about avoiding it, try to stay shielded from the sun as much as possible, as it is also a contributing factor.
3. Linea Nigra
Another major skin change during the latter stages of the second trimester is linea nigra. Expectant mothers develop linea nigra or a dark black line leading from their belly button to their pubic bone during the fifth month of their pregnancy. This line is always present, but it darkens to a great degree during this time. Fluctuating hormones are also the core reason behind this condition.
However, the one major solace is that almost all pregnant women will experience this when they are expecting, and it also tends to fade away in a few months after post-delivery. You can still cover your pregnant belly with clothes or use an SPF if you don’t want people noticing.
It isn’t uncommon to experience some form of itchiness during pregnancy. But, some specific types of skin irritation can point to something more serious. However, in most normal cases itching is caused due to the expanding belly and skin. The primary reason behind this itch is dry skin; hence, the best way to counter this is to regularly moisturize it, especially the belly area, as you are most likely to develop an itch there.
Although, if you are experiencing this irritation along with nausea, vomiting, and symptoms akin to jaundice, then it points to a slightly severe condition known as cholestasis and will require medication.
5. Heat Rash
Another symptom that pregnant women face during pregnancy is heat rash. As your body produces more heat during pregnancy due to a rise in core temperature, it can lead to excessive sweating. This sweat tends to accumulate between skin folds, leading to heat rashes. The areas where they can surface include the folds between the breast or under them. They can also crop up in between the thighs.
Developing heat rashes can be extremely uncomfortable for an expectant mother. Hence, it’s best to try and lower the body temperature as much as possible.
6. Spider Veins
Due to a major increase in blood flow, you might find that some of the veins in your body become more visible due to the volume of blood flowing through them. These are known as spider veins, and it basically shows the microfilaments under the skin. This condition surfaces during the second trimester and will worsen during the later stages.
Most skin conditions tend to go away on their own post-pregnancy, however, spider veins might linger if they are not treated properly. If you suffer from this condition, please contact your obstetrician and dermatologist.
7. Acne Breakout and Oily Complexion
The changes in hormones during pregnancy also lead to an increase in oil production in the skin, leading to acne breakouts. This typically happens to those pregnant women who are already susceptible to acne. It is easily preventable by regularly washing your face with soap. However, it’s necessary to check if the soap you are using doesn’t contain products that might be unsafe for you at this time.
Also, if your acne breakout is severe and is not going away with regular washing, you might have to go for specialized skin treatment. Fortunately, this problem only lasts the duration of the pregnancy.
8. Facial Glow
Perhaps the most desired side-effect of pregnancy, facial glow, as is evident, is a condition where the pregnant woman’s skin is practically radiant and appears to glow. This occurs due to the increased volume of blood flowing through the body and the production of oils on the skin, which adds to the glowy tinge.
While this is an ideal scenario, it is closely linked to acne breakouts, as excessive secretion of skin oils can lead to the latter. Furthermore, there is no specified time frame for the pregnancy glow, although it usually occurs in the second trimester in many cases.
These are the 8 common skin changes you will likely experience during pregnancy. Most of these are afflictions and might require some mixture of self-care and medication. It is advisable to always consult your ob-gyn first before beginning any skin treatment or using a skincare product, for the wrong treatment can adversely affect your pregnancy. Your doctor will be well aware of the various skin problems you might face during this time and is better equipped to guide you.
Top Skin Care Ingredients to Avoid During Pregnancy
While many products and treatments might seem ambiguous and might require the consultation of your obstetrician, there are a few skincare products that are an absolute no-no. If you discover that any product contains these compounds, you can safely discard them without hesitation.
- Retinoids, which are found in anti-aging skincare products.
- Hydroquinone which is found in skin lightening creams.
- Phthalates which can adversely affect endocrine function and is also an integral part of many beauty products.
- Expectant mothers should avoid salicylic acid found in skin peels.
- Oxybenzone, an ingredient present in many sunscreens.
Recommended Pregnancy Safe Skin Care Routine
Now that you are aware of what to avoid, here’s a brief look at some products and routines you can follow to maintain your skin.
- If you are dealing with acne breakouts or oily skin, you can try out glycolic acid, albeit in small quantities, as it helps reduce hyperpigmentation.
- If you are concerned about collagen and are looking to use anti-aging products, try going for brands that use antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K or even vitamin B3.
- Coming to the biggest and most prevalent skin problems which are stretch marks and dry skin, nothing works as well as hydration and moisturizing your skin, as the child will absorb a significant amount of water while in the womb.
- You can always go for products that contain coconut oil, cocoa butter, hyaluronic acid and peptides, great moisturizing agents that are also safe to use.
Apart from moisturizing and using safe skin-care products, you will also require protection from the Sun to avoid conditions such as Melasma. However, the presence of oxybenzone in sunscreens makes them unsuitable for use. Instead of using these chemically laced sunblocks, opt for mineral-based sunscreen products that contain zinc and titanium oxide that directly bounce off the harmful UV rays and have no adverse side effects.
Thus, by being aware of these pregnancy-related skin conditions and taking adequate care of your body with a pregnancy-safe skincare routine, you can minimize the effect of most of these afflictions without using potentially harmful products.