Kerry Bakewell

5 Common Skin Conditions From Pregnancy

February 11, 2016 - Posted by in Acne Dry Skin Melasma Skin Care Community Skin Wellness

Along with the many physical and emotional changes that happen when you become pregnant, many will also attest that your skin will also undergo changes as well. Some of the common skin conditions pregnant women will experience throughout their pregnancy include the following:

1. Stretch Marks

The middle layer of the skin known as the dermis is what helps you retain the shape of your skin, when your skin is constantly stretched or stretched out too quickly, the dermis breaks down and as a result, causes stretch marks.

After giving birth, you may find red or purple-hued marks on your stomach, as well as parts of your arms and thighs. Over time, the marks should lighten in colour and have a glossy tint to it.

Photo by Patrick Fitzgerald

Photo by Patrick Patrick Fitzgerald

What to do: If you are in the early stages of pregnancy, speak to your doctor about safe methods for preventing stretch marks. A slow and steady weight gain over the course of your pregnancy can help decrease the presence of stretch marks. Aside from the more extreme and costly measures such as chemical peels, dermabrasion or laser surgeries, you may wish to apply some of the below topical treatments to the affect areas.

  • Use lotions rich in Vitamin C and E to help stimulate collagen formation
  • Apply bio oil or cocoa butter to the area on the skin that is affected
  • Apply any lotions, oils or creams while the skin is still moist from a shower or bath to help the skin absorb the moisture
  • Stay well hydrated throughout your pregnancy and after with at least 8 glasses of water a day

2. Melasma

Melasma or chloasma, as it is generally called when in reference to pregnancy is often referred to as the mask of pregnancy by experienced mothers and obstetricians. Although termed quite ominously, “the mask” is generally not as dramatic in appearance as its name is.

On lighter complexions, melasma will appear as brown patches on your face, neck, arms, or anywhere on your body that is exposed to the sun. Women with darker complexions will have patches appear in a lighter tone. If your family has a history of melasma, it is also likely that you will experience melasma while pregnant. A number of other contributing factors to melasma can be found on our previous blog Why You Might Have Melasma and Not Know for more information.

What to do:

  • Consume foods which are rich in Vitamin C, E, and A
  • Apply topical creams, gels and oils which are rich in Vitamin C, E, and A
  • Always apply sunscreen with 30 SPF higher 20 minutes prior to entering outside and reapply after excessive sweating or every few hours
  • Use cosmetic concealer for a quick and easy fix to covering any unsightly spots or patches

3. Linea Nigra

As your belly grows, many women will notice a dark line growing downwards through the centre of their belly. Initially, this can be a little alarming in appearance, but it’s important to remember that it has no effect on the development of your baby’s health. The linea nigra (black line in Latin) is simply a revealing of the linea alba (white line in Latin), a fibrous structure, which is primarily made up of connective tissue. The linea alba is found on every human being along the midline of the abdomen. The revelation of the linea nigra generally happens later in a woman’s pregnancy and is due from the increased presence of melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH), which also causes melasma.

What to Do: Fortunately, the linea nigra is only a temporary occurrence and does slowly disappear after giving, so not to worry. To help speed up the process, you can try the below tips.

  • Apply cocoa butter to your stomach while pregnant and after giving birth
  • Apply Vitamin E gel to the stomach area daily
  • Exfoliate the area gently periodically to remove the dead skin cells for the dark line

4. Itchy Skin or Rashes

As your stomach grows and your skin begins to stretch, it iss not uncommon for women to experience itchy and dry skin on their stomachs. In extreme cases, women who have very itchy feet and hands could be experiencing cholestasis of pregnancy, which is when bile is blocked and causes a buildup of fluids in the bloodstream. This could be dangerous for both the baby and pregnant mother. Unfortunately, you cannot prevent cholestasis of pregnancy from happening to you. On the positive side, it is a very rare occurrence and if you notice an intense itchy sensation on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet, you should visit your doctor immediately for testing.

Photo by Jo Jakeman

Photo by Jo Jakeman

What to do:

If your skin is itchy from dryness, there are a number of things you can do to help combat it including:

  • Use a humidifier in rooms you spend most of your time in
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
  • Moisturize with coconut oil or honey
  • Apply moisturizers that carry high vitamin A, C and E content

5. Acne

Acne is a common occurrence during pregnancy due to the increase of hormones and production of natural oils on your skin. If you have a history of breaking out prior to your menstrual cycle, you may notice more acne break outs during your first trimester. The breakouts generally subside by the second or third trimester when your hormone levels tend to neutralize.

What to do: Pregnancy acne is a complicated nuisance to deal with as you are restricted in what prescriptions you can injest or apply without harming your baby. Remember that anything applied to your skin is reabsorbed into your body. Consult with your doctor on safe prescription medications for treating your acne and check some of our pregnancy-safe tips below.

  • Avoid over cleansing your face, as it may stimulate oil glands
  • Change your pillow cases frequently
  • Avoid touching your face with your hands to prevent the transfer of bacteria
  • Dab lemon juice to the infected areas before going to bed to help unclog pore and shed dead skin cells
  • Moisturize with coconut oil or honey which have antibacterial properties in it. They also hydrate and sooth the skin

The good news is that although these are common skin conditions, they are not true for every woman, so you may be fortunate enough to only experience some or none of the above conditions. The most important thing to remember is to keep a healthy balanced diet enriched with plenty of vitamins and water. Always consult your doctor on any oral or topical medications you intend to take to relieve your skin conditions. And as always,feel free to ask me any questions about how Monodermá can be incorporated into your pregnancy and post-birth regimen below!

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