We’ve all heard of the wonderful ‘pregnancy glow’ that women get when they’re expecting a baby. But in reality, did you know that your skin can go through all kinds of other changes when you are pregnant? Here are some of the commonly-seen skin changes that women experience during pregnancy.
1. STRETCH MARKS
One of the most evident skin changes that women notice during pregnancy are stretch marks. They appear in the form of pink, white or red lines across the skin. In the case of pregnant women, stretch marks normally appear on and around the abdomen, breasts, buttocks and/or thighs. While these stretch marks are partly caused due to stretching of the skin tissue during pregnancy, your genes also play a role in the appearance of stretch marks. So, if your Mom had them during her pregnancy, the chances are higher that you will too. Rapid weight gain during pregnancy can also contribute to stretch marks. Obviously, this is unavoidable as you’re growing a little baby, but you can make healthier food choices so that you put on weight at a steady pace through your pregnancy.
Remedies: A lot of people ask – how do you get rid of stretch marks? The great thing about stretch marks is that they will eventually become a lot lighter over time and you will barely even notice them. But here are some things you can do to prevent or reduce the appearance of these lines: Massage your skin with a pregnancy stretch mark cream or oil containing Vitamin E at least twice a day, if not more. Avoid hot showers. Drink lots of water.
Our advice: Wear them with pride, Mumma. Your body is working to create a tiny miracle. They’re not stretch marks, they’re the tigress stripes that you earned.
2. DRY, SENSITIVE AND ITCHY SKIN
Stretching of the skin and loss of skin elasticity during pregnancy can lead to dryness and itchiness all over your body, including your face and neck, and especially your abdomen region. Changing hormones also lead to a lot of skin sensitivity. These are effects of pregnancy which will wear off after you have your baby.
During the last trimester, some women may experience a great deal of itching, particularly on their hands and feet, along with other symptoms such as nausea and fatigue. This could possibly be a case of ‘cholestasis’, a condition connected to the liver. If the symptoms persist, consult your healthcare provider to help treat the issue.
Remedies: Treat dry skin by moisturizing regularly, and staying hydrated from the inside. Avoid harsh products that can dry out your skin even further and switch to gentle skin cleansers, without any added fragrances. Make sure you wear a sunscreen daily to protect your skin which is super-sensitive during this time. Chlorinated water can further dry out skin, so try and skip visits to the swimming pool if you’re suffering from excessively dry skin. Leave a humidifier in your bedroom at night-time to draw moisture to your skin.
3. DARKENING OF SKIN
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to hyperpigmentation or simply put, darkening of your skin tone. This is usually more prominent in certain areas such as your face, hands, feet, underarms and thighs. While it may seem worrisome, don’t fret. Your skin tone will slowly go back to normal after your pregnancy, and for some women, after you finish breastfeeding.
Some women may also notice dark spots on their face, mostly on the forehead, cheeks and upper lip. This is known as ‘melasma’ or the ‘mask of pregnancy’ and is caused by excessive production of melanin that leads to hyperpigmentation. Thus, you might also notice already existing moles and freckles getting darker than before. The area around your nipples (areola) also tends to become darker. Many women might also develop a dark long line extending from under the navel going straight down to the pubic bone. This is called a ‘linea nigra’ and is very common during pregnancy. For most women, this line fades a couple of months after their delivery.
Remedies: While you cannot prevent hyperpigmentation from occurring, you can help reduce the effect. ALWAYS wear sunscreen, whether you are indoors or outdoors. Exposure to the sun’s rays can further stimulate skin pigmentation. When outdoors, try and protect yourself from the sun’s rays by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and appropriate clothing. Make sure you continue taking your pre-natal vitamins that are a good source of folic acid which can help combat pigmentation.
4. PREGNANCY GLOW
You’ve probably wondered why some pregnant women look like they’re glowing. It’s simple, really. During pregnancy, there is an increase in blood circulation through your body. This is what gives your face a flushed, radiant look. Hormonal changes also lead to an increase in oil secretion, giving your skin a slight sheen. Isn’t that amazing, ladies?
5. ACNE AND BREAKOUTS
While excessive secretion of oil can add to your pregnancy glow, it can also lead to acne and regular breakouts, especially for those with acne-prone skin.
Remedies: Wash your face with a gentle cleanser, always remove makeup properly, use a natural skin toner to get rid of excess oils and try and stick to a healthier diet. Stay away from any retinol-based products during your pregnancy. Instead, use natural acne-fighting ingredients like aloe vera gel, tea tree oil, honey etc as topical treatments.
6. VARICOSE VEINS AND SPIDER VEINS
Varicose veins are dark blue or purple thick veins that can be seen on one’s legs. They appear not only because of increased pressure and weight on the legs during pregnancy, but also due to increase in blood circulation, and can be quite painful.
Like the name suggests, spider veins are spidery-looking red veins that appear on one’s face, neck, chest, arms, legs or ankles during pregnancy. This also happens due to increase in blood circulation. The good news is that they fade soon after delivery.
REMEDIES: Varicose veins can be quite painful if not treated properly. Speak to your healthcare practitioner regarding this issue. If you have varicose veins, make sure you avoid sitting or standing for extended periods of time. Walk as much as you can. If you are in a sitting position, put your feet up and sit comfortably.
Tell us – what kind of skin changes did you experience while you were pregnant and how did you treat them?