Pregnancy brings glowing skin and rosy cheeks to many women. Others, however, experience skin changes that aren’t so attractive.
Here are some common skin conditions to expect during pregnancy, along with a few tips on how to manage them.
Increased blood flow and oil production are the factors behind a pregnant woman’s glow. That radiance sometimes comes with a price, though, as the excess sebum production causes acne.
Just as when you were a pimply teen, you should keep the affected skin clean and oil-free. There are skincare products to avoid acne during pregnancy. Generally, most over-the-counter acne cleansers are safe to use, but if you are not sure, better check with your healthcare provider. The good news is that acne typically goes away shortly after delivery.
A natural increase in melanin during pregnancy is responsible for the dark skin in some areas, especially on the face. To minimize this “mask of pregnancy” called chloasma, you should:
- Wear sunscreen or wear a hat while in the sun
- Decrease your exposure to sunlight.
Most of these brownish-colored spots fade within a few months after giving birth.
Stretching of the skin
Although most women expect to have some stretch marks on their belly during pregnancy, many are surprised to also find these pink or red stripes on their breasts, buttocks, and thighs. In truth, stretch marks show where there is rapid growth and stretching of the skin. Unfortunately, there are no proven methods to prevent or erase stretch marks, despite the abundance of lotions and creams in the market. The marks will fade over time, and you may reduce any irritation with a moisturizer.
Swollen and spider veins
Spider veins come from hormonal changes and increased blood volume during pregnancy. They appear as tiny red veins on the face, neck, and arms. However, they should fade after the baby is born.
Varicose veins appear because the weight of the uterus puts pressure on the veins, thus decreasing the blood flow from the lower body. The veins in the legs become swollen, sore, and then blue. Varicose veins can also be found on the vulva, vagina, and rectum (hemorrhoids). Typically, they clear up after delivery.
Itchy skin is common, especially in the cold season when skin becomes dry and easily irritated. Some women develop rashes or itchy bumps due to a variety of conditions. Although most are more troublesome than dangerous, consult your doctor if your skin becomes too itchy to bear.
Dr. Wanwadee Sapmee Panyakat, MD. (30 June 2020)