Most women expect to have beautiful and glowing skin when they become pregnant. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Since the glow often attributed to pregnancy is due to the hormonal changes a woman’s body undergoes, different reactions are to be expected. Some women may break out during the whole term of their pregnancies while others may have acne only during the first trimester. Some women also experience skin dryness and only a select few start and end their pregnancies all aglow. If you are pregnant and want to maintain great skin throughout your term, it is essential that you have a great skin care routine.
Skin Care Problems During Pregnancy
Melasma or mask of pregnancy
Towards the end of the second trimester or the beginning of the third trimester, you may notice a discoloration of the skin. The most common areas are the cheek, forehead, nose and the upper lip. Statistical data point out that the overproduction of melanocyte-stimulating hormone affects close to 70% of all pregnant women. Increased hormones cause skin pigmentation. Consequently pregnant women develop dark, irregular patches, which fade away soon after the baby is born. You can guard yourself from melasma by reducing exposure to sunlight and by using sunscreens.
Otherwise referred to as pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPP), pimply eruptions are common during the second half of pregnancy. Signs of red, raised patches on the abdomen, thighs and buttocks (or all over the body) appear and can be very irritating to the pregnant woman. Mild or severe in nature, these eruptions vanish quickly after delivery. Calamine lotion can provide relief from the irritation.
Dry itchy Abdomen
With the belly growing, your skin stretches and tightens. Quite difficult to eliminate, you can use suitable moisturizing cream or olive oil, which can provide substantial relief. You can also avoid hot showers and baths, eliminate using drying soaps or products that contain alcohol which will make the skin dry fast.
Red or purple sunbursts in the shape of a spider web may appear on the face, neck, upper chest, legs or arms. Referred to as spider veins or telangiectasia or broken capillaries, these are tiny blood vessels that form due to increased blood circulation, most common during pregnancy. The other reason being hormonal changes, these spider veins disappear soon after delivery. You can increase your Vitamin C intake and consciously avoid crossing your legs to help minimize spider veins.
Red or itchy Palms
Otherwise termed as palmar erythema, the increased estrogen level in pregnant women may cause the palms to turn red and itchy. Beginning, second month of pregnancy, you may notice the inside of hands and sometimes even the soles of feet itching and turning reddish. These changes fade away post delivery.
It is common for pregnant women to develop acne during the first three months of pregnancy. Due to the fluctuation of hormones, the skin can dry out more than normal and result in acne. A quick and easy remedy to keep acne at bay is by drinking plenty of water and eating lots of fruits and vegetables. You can consult your health care provider and use skin creams that contain erythromycin and other antibiotics that will not affect the growing fetus.
Around the second trimester, a faint line running from the navel to the center of the pubic bone may turn darker and become a linea nigra. The nipples too may turn darker as a result of the hormonal changes during pregnancy. Hardly preventable, linea nigra fades away after few months of delivery.
Tiny polyps called skin tags can appear in areas where the skin rubs on clothing or just with the skin. Skin tags are commonly found under the arms or breasts, between neck folds or on the chest. With hardly any treatment options, these tags may require a health care provider to remove them in case they do not disappear few months post delivery. Skin tags are understood to be a result of hormonal changes.
Pregnant women may develop enlarged veins in the legs. You can avoid or reduce the risk of varicose veins by involving in gentle exercises, avoiding crossing of legs, increasing intake of vitamin C or using suitable tights or stockings before getting out of bed in the morning. Varicose veins become normal or disappear after delivery.
Tips for Skin Care During Pregnancy
The following tips can help you achieve that proverbial pregnant glow:
Switch to Moisturizing Body Washes
Aside from your facial skin, the skin on your body also needs extra care during the pregnancy. The stress and trauma caused by stretching due to your increasing bulk can make your skin dry and itch. Using soaps can strip your skin off its natural oils and reduce its suppleness. Switch to moisturizing body washes to restore moisture on your skin and prevent itching and dryness.
Pamper your Bump
The skin on your abdominal area experiences continuous stretching throughout the whole term of your pregnancy. This stretching can result to unsightly stretch marks long after you have given birth. Prevent stretch marks by regularly massaging your tummy with a moisturizing pregnancy gel or cream.
Go Easy on The Makeup
Less is more should be your motto when using makeup during your pregnancy. A foundation stick or concealer, loose powder, and a multipurpose color stick are all you need to put on a polished face. Since skin during pregnancy is sensitive and prone to irritations, choosing moisturizing, hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic cosmetics is a must.
Update your Skin Care Products
Your skin has different needs compared to your skin before the pregnancy. Since hormonal changes can cause your skin to become oilier or drier, you may need to adjust and change the products you use. Some skin care products may also contain ingredients that are not suitable for pregnant women. Consult your doctor and dermatologist for skin care products that are safe for pregnant women.
Load up on Sun Protection
Your skin’s sensitivity will increase during pregnancy. This means that it can get irritated and damaged easier when exposed to the sun. Avoid skin discolorations, dryness, and irritations by applying sunscreen as part of your daily skin care routine.
Pay Attention to your Breasts
Your tummy is not the only thing that enlarges during pregnancy. Your breasts also increase in size to prepare for lactation. The skin on your breasts and nipples will be particularly sensitive which can lead to itching and dryness. Applying nipple creams on your breasts can reduce the dryness while wearing cotton maternity bras can help reduce the itching.
Following these tips can help you achieve great skin during your pregnancy. Aside from these, eating a balanced diet, doing regular exercise, and getting sufficient rest are still the most basic things you can do for a good pregnancy and even better skin.