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Changes To Skin During Pregnancy

Why Does The Skin Change

Woman’s Doctor: Skin changes during pregnancy explained

In This Article

Pregnancy is a time of many changes. Your body is going through a lot and your skin is no exception. You can expect to have some problems with your skin during the first trimester because of your changing hormones.

Pregnancy causes your body to produce higher levels of estrogen, a hormone that helps drive the changes taking place on your skin.

Hormone levels may cause small blood vessels to dilate, causing swelling and puffiness in the face. This is also why so many pregnant women complain of swollen feet and hands.

Spider Veins Or Angiomas

When pregnant, your body pumps more blood around your body to meet the needs of you and your baby. That can put your blood vessels under some strain and cause some of the smallest vessels the capillaries to leak or burst. This leads to a small area of fine red or purple lines.

  • Your face is the most common place for spider veins, as it is more likely to be exposed to extremes of temperature.
  • Spider veins fade with time but you can minimise them by protecting bare skin from very hot or very cold conditions.

The Great Appearing/disappearing Act

Besides skin pigmentation and stretch marks, your skin may show off some other signs of your bodys changes in pregnancy. Skin tags and varicose veins often appear in pregnancy, only to disappear again after childbirth. As your baby gains weight in your uterus, it exerts greater downward pressure on your legs. This pressure causes veins in your legs to bulge. The increased blood flow in your body during pregnancy also contributes to enlarged and bulging veins. Varicose veins can cause pain and discomfort. Your doctor can recommend some methods to relieve your discomfort during your pregnancy. Another change you might notice in your skin is the appearance of skin tags — small, soft, skin-colored growths that most often appear in your armpit, on your neck or around your breasts. Skin tags may appear because of increased friction from weight gain in pregnancy or because of hormonal changes. Whatever the cause, skin tags are not dangerous and often disappear after you have given birth. And if they dont disappear, your dermatologist can easily remove them with some simple treatments.

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Body Changes During Pregnancy

Some of these changes are subtle, an increased respiratory rate for example, while other more obvious changes include a baby bump. All these changes occur to prepare for the development of your baby and to give birth during labor. Here are some systems, organs, and parts that undergo changes during pregnancy.

Diseases Potentially Worsened During Pregnancy

Changes to Skin During Pregnancy

Infections: Candida vaginitis is more frequent during pregnancy, up to 50% neonates born to infected mothers are positive for candida. Infants may present with oral thrush and diaper rash. Condyloma acuminate can attain large size during pregnancy. Human papilloma virus may produce laryngeal papilloma in infant. Herpes Simplex infection can be transmitted during pregnancy and delivery. Leprosy will experience an exacerbation of disease during pregnancy or within the first 6 months of lactation. The type-1 lepra reaction increases in frequency during the first trimester of pregnancy, then declines until delivery, whereupon it again increases sharply. The type-2 reaction increases in frequency with peaks in the first and third trimesters and the first 9 months of lactation. Trichomoniasis is detected in 60% of pregnancy. Varicella zoster virus can also infect pregnant women. Varicella pneumonia in about 14% of affected individual, 3% of them have a fatal outcome. Congenital varicella syndrome can occasionally occur if primary maternal infection occurs during the first trimester.

Impetigo herpetiformis occurs during last trimester of pregnancy without prior history of psoriasis. This shows that irregular erythematous patches with superficial pustules arranged in groups begin in intertriginous areas slowly involve the whole body with sparing of face, hand, and feet.

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Can I Get Rid Of Melasma

The best way to get rid of and prevent melasma is to limit your exposure to the sun and apply pregnancy sunscreen daily. You will also want to use gentle skin care products and makeup.

Melasma generally resolves itself within the first few months after giving birth. However, a topical bleaching cream called hydroquinone is commonly used to aid the process.

Stretch Marks Are What

Youre probably familiar with the fact that stretch marks can often appear on your belly in the second and third trimesters. But did you know that stretch marks are actually scars? When your skin stretches over your growing belly, the fibers in your skin can tear. As they heal, they form scars. The stretch marks are often blue or purple when they first appear — this is because the blood vessels in your skin are showing. The scars will eventually appear as brown marks and some may fade after childbirth. While no product has been shown to erase stretch marks, your dermatologist can recommend some stretch mark treatments that may help them to be less noticeable. Laser therapy and microdermabrasion for stretch marks are some of the treatments you can explore.

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Pimple Breakouts And Acne

If you have a problem with acne already, your acne may become more irritated during pregnancy. The extra hormones in your body cause your oil glands to secrete more oil, which can cause breakouts. You should keep a strict cleansing routine. You can start with a simple over-the-counter face soap. It is a good idea to use fragrance-free soap to avoid nausea.

Cleanse your face every night and every morning. Washing your face more than this can cause your skin to become dry.Next use an astringent to remove any remaining oil. Stay away from any acne medicated astringents they may contain acne medicine that is not recommended for pregnant women.

Finally, follow this procedure with an oil-free moisturizer. If you find that you are having problems with acne, consult with your health care provider on acne treatment during pregnancy.

Diseases Potentially Improved During Pregnancy

Woman’s Doctor: Skin changes during pregnancy explained

Allergic contact dermatitis, foxfordyce disease, and hidradenitis suppurativa potentially improve during pregnancy because of decreases in the apocrine gland function. During the pregnancy, Psoriasis is more likely to improve than worsen, 40% to 63% of pregnant women with psoriasis improve during pregnancy, whereas only 14% worsen. This may be attributed to the high levels of interleukin-10 in pregnancy. Psoriatic arthritis has been reported to develop or worsen during pregnancy and 30% to 45% of women had onset of psoriatic arthritis either postpartum or perimenopausal.

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Ways Your Skin Changes During Pregnancyand When To See A Doc

From stretch marks to acne, skin changes during pregnancy are very common. But when do they signal a bigger issue?

Many people experience skin changes during pregnancy and these can happen as a result of physical, hormonal and immunological changes that naturally occur during pregnancy. While it is important to recognize what these changes are and why they occur, it is just as important to know when you should seek expert opinion.

Hair Changes With Pregnancy

  • Many women notice their hair becomes thicker during pregnancy. In the third trimester, the proportion of hair follicles retained in the anagen phase increases.
  • Telogeneffluvium post-delivery is a compensatory decease in hair growth and shedding of hair. Spontaneous recovery back to pre-pregnancy levels usually occurs within 612 months. Mild frontoparietal recession may occur.
  • Hypertrichosis is minor and not uncommon, particularly along the midline suprapubic area. New, soft, fine hairs may disappear around six months post-delivery, but coarse hair typically persists.
  • Hirsutism can develop in the second half of pregnancy particularly in women with dark hair. When accompanied by acne and other signs of virilisation, it may rarely result from an androgen-secreting tumour, luteoma, lutein cysts, or polycystic ovary syndrome. These conditions should be thoroughly investigated to avoid masculinisation of a female fetus. In the absence of a tumour that can be removed, the problem tends to recur in subsequent pregnancies. Hirsutism may regress between pregnancies, but this is not always complete.

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Why Does Your Skin Change During Pregnancy

Pregnancy causes your hormone levels to continuously fluctuate. The most dominant ones being estrogen, which transmits physiological messages to your body. And progesterone, a steroid that helps regulate menstruation. The increased estrogen is essential for supporting the developing fetus. While progesterone allows for the mamas body to expand. And while all of this is happening, your skin is being put through the ringer.

How To Treat Pregnancy Acne Safely

Skin Changes During Pregnancy: 7 Ways Your Skin Can Change

Hygiene is one of the best ways to treat pregnancy acne. Here are a couple of basic tips:

  • Wash your skin twice a day with a gentle cleanser.
  • Dry your face by patting the skin, not rubbing.
  • Avoid overwashing your face it may increase oil production.
  • Launder your pillowcases frequently.
  • Try not to touch your face.
  • Do not pop your pimples.

You should see your pregnancy acne clear up in the months after youve given birth. If the acne persists, visit your local dermatologist.

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What Can I Do

To prevent or decrease symptoms, you should:

  • Avoid standing for long periods of time
  • Walk as much as possible to help the blood return to your heart
  • Always prop your feet up on a stool when sitting
  • Avoid sitting for long periods of time
  • Wear support stockings
  • Get enough vitamin C
  • Sit with your legs higher than your head for at least half an hour a day
  • Avoid excessive weight gain

Treatment Of Skin Conditions During Pregnancy

As noted, most of these skin conditions will clear up on their own after the baby is born. If they donât go away, or if you want to do something about them during pregnancy, there are treatments available. Don’t use any medication or treatment while you are pregnant without talking to your doctor.

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Puffiness Of The Eyelids

  • Some puffiness of the eyelids is normal during the third trimester.
  • Contact your health care provider if you suddenly gain 5 pounds or more. This could mean that you are retaining too much fluid and have high blood pressure.
  • Always talk to your health care provider before using any medicated creams or ointments to treat skin problems. Some are unsafe during pregnancy.

Last reviewed: August, 2009

Some women may find that their skin has changed during pregnancy. Many of these changes are common and can be different from woman to woman.

Lucky Legs Refreshing Spritz

How to combat your skin’s changes during pregnancy

During the third trimester, your legs can become tired, swollen and achy due to your growing baby bump! Specially designed for when you cant reach your toes, the 360 degree nozzle allows your to spray this cooling mist upside down. Supercharged with Aloe Vera, Chamomile Extract and Menthol Crystals to help provide instant refreshing relief.

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Are Acne Treatments Safe During Pregnancy

Unfortunately, many common treatments for acne are not recommended for pregnant women.

You should avoid any acne medications, washes, or creams that contain prescription-strength medicine.

Some experts also suggest avoiding over-the-counter products with salicylic acid, but dont panic if you have used it during pregnancy. Studies show that the absorption is limited, and it is unlikely to cause your baby harm . However, its best to avoid it, unless you are using it under the recommendations of a health care provider who knows that you are pregnant.

Editor’s Note:

Frequently Asked Questions Expand All

  • What are some of the common skin changes that occur during pregnancy?

    Many women notice changes to their skin, nails, and hair during pregnancy. Some of the most common changes includethe following:

  • Dark spots on the breasts, nipples, or inner thighs
  • Melasmabrown patches on the face around the cheeks, nose, and forehead
  • Linea nigraa dark line that runs from the navel to the pubic hair
  • Stretch marks
  • Changes in nail and hair growth
  • What causes these skin changes during pregnancy?

    Some are due to changes in hormone levels that occur during pregnancy. For most skin changes, however, health care professionals are not sure of the exact cause.

  • Why do dark spots and patches appear on the skin during pregnancy?

    Dark spots and patches are caused by an increase in the bodys melanina natural substance that gives color to the skin and hair. Dark spots and melasma usually fade on their own after you give birth. Some women, however, may have dark patches that last for years. To help prevent melasma from getting worse, wear sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat every day when you are outside.

  • Is acne common during pregnancy?

    Many women have acne during pregnancy. Some already have acne and notice that it gets worse during pregnancy. Other women who may always have had clear skin will develop acne while they are pregnant.

  • How can I treat my skin if I get acne during pregnancy?

    If you get acne during pregnancy, take these steps to treat your skin:

  • Choose oil-free cosmetics.
  • Glycolic acid
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    The Most Common Skin Changes During Pregnancy

    Are you pregnant and concerned about the changes your skin is going through? Its natural to have questions about whats happening to your body. Here well discuss the most common skin changes during pregnancy, so you can be prepared.

    Keep in mind that every woman experiences pregnancy differently, so some of these changes may not apply to you. But if youre curious about what might happen, read on!

  • What is pregnancy glow?
  • Varicose & Spider Veins

    Skin changes during pregnancy

    Varicose veins refer to enlarged, twisted veins. Though it can occur anywhere on the body, its most common in the legs. It occurs when theres increased blood pressure in the veins, causing them to become larger and dilate.

    In pregnancy, fluctuating hormones can increase blood flow causing this condition, but varicose veins can occur in non-pregnant people as well. Its more common in older folks and women.

    Spider veins have the same cause as varicose veins but are considered a smaller version. It happens when the small blood vessels located directly under the skins surface dilate, causing small, red lines that appear to branch out.

    Healthlineexplains that both conditions tend to resolve after pregnancy and are non-threatening, though they can be painful. If they cause you a lot of pain, please seek medical attention, as it can be an indication of a more serious problem like a blood clot.

    Additionally, some people dont like the look of them. There are treatment options available.

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    Skin And Hair Changes

    Hormonal changes taking place in pregnancy will make your nipples and the area around them go darker. Your skin colour may also darken a little, either in patches or all over. Birthmarks, moles and freckles may also darken. Some women develop a dark line down the middle of their stomach, called ‘linea nigra’. These changes will gradually fade after the baby is born, although your nipples may remain a little darker.

    If you sunbathe while you are pregnant, you may burn more easily. Protect your skin with a good high-factor sunscreen and don’t stay in the sun for a long time.

    Hair growth can also increase in pregnancy, and your hair may be greasier. After the baby is born, it may seem as if you are losing a lot of hair but you are simply losing the extra hair.

    What Causes A Change In Color

    Pregnancy does cause changes in your hormones and blood circulation, along with increased blood flow to your vaginal region.

    The darkening that occurs is from the extra blood flow. This darkening isnt permanent and will slowly fade over time until your normal skin color reappears after you give birth.

    However, there are several symptoms that are commonly found in pregnant women. None of them can be ignored because they may be signs of serious health issues.

    A woman should consult her doctor immediately if she finds any unusual symptoms during pregnancy. Unusual symptoms include vaginal bleeding, severe abdominal pain and vaginal discharge.

    Most women notice some changes in their body during pregnancy, but its important to keep in mind that all pregnancies are different.

    Some women experience redness and itching on the nipples while some experience darkening and enlargement of their nipples.

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    Skin Problems During Pregnancy

    • melasma
    • itching
    • oedema
    • redness of the palms

    Its common for pregnant women to get some darkening of the skin. This often happens with birthmarks, moles, freckles and the skin around the nipples.

    Some women also get a dark line down the middle of their stomach, called a linea nigra. These changes usually fade after pregnancy, although nipples may remain a little darker.

    Your Third Trimester Pregnancy Bodycare Routine

    Dr Colin Theng | Skin Changes during Pregnancy

    Youre nearly there, Mama! As you enter the last str-e-tch of your pregnancy and your bump fully blossoms, its important to keep your skin hydrated, nourished and protected as your bump grows during the last few weeks of pregnancy. Supercharged with nourishing, plant-based actives and our iconic, expertly developed Omega Rich Skin Stretch Complex, these are the best bodycare products to help keep your skin supported and moisturised to help extend that head-to-toe Mama glow. If youre looking for a special gift for the Mama-to-be in your life, you can discover our pregnancy bodycare gift sets to help her take some much-needed time out of her busy day and have a well-deserved pamper.

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