Preparing Your Skin for Pregnancy

PregnantSkinPregnancy can cause your skin to do much more than just glow. Knowing common skin conditions that pop up during pregnancy can ease your mind and prepare you for possible changes to your appearance (as if the giant belly wasn’t enough.)

  • Melasma (or chloasma) is often called “the pregnancy mask.” Women might develop brown or tan patches on their face. Topical treatments are available, but using plenty of sunscreen, or avoiding the sun altogether, can help as well.
  • Hyperpigmentation will cause your skin to darken, and dark spots to get even darker. Pregnancy causes excess melanin production and is not harmful, but if you have moles that change color you should still have them checked out by a doctor.
  • Stretch marks may grace your belly, being reddish at first and then silver or white later. Such rapid growth stretches your skin and can cause these streaks. Moisturizing your skin several times a day may help reduce the stretch marks over time, and products using cocoa or shea butters are popular choices.
  • Skin tags are small flaps of skin that hang off your body. They are caused by hypergrowth of the superficial layer of skin. They often appear under arms, around bra lines, or any area when skin is rubbing against itself or clothing. They may disappear on their own, or a doctor can remove them post-pregnancy.
  • Acne can pop up anywhere during pregnancy thanks to those pesky hormones. Avoid abrasive cleansers since your skin is much more sensitive, but mild face wash should do the trick.
  • Spider veins are a common symptom of the increased blood volume in pregnancy. Those squiggly purple lines can be covered by make-up, or a doctor can remove them post-pregnancy using injections if they don’t disappear on their own.
  • Heat rash is the combination of several pregnancy side effects- an overheated body, excess perspiration and the friction of skin against clothing. Taking cool showers, wearing loose fitting clothing and lightly applying calamine lotion can alleviate the itching. Avoid any over-the-counter creams unless your doctor approves first.

Most skin woes subside eventually after childbirth, and the downsides are mostly cosmetic. It can be difficult to feel unattractive at such a vulnerable time, but rest assured that your baby won’t be bothered one bit by your stretch marks or spider veins.