11 Skin Changes That Occur During Pregnancy
It might come as a shock for a new mama when they start seeing changes in their skin. While some may never experience some of this, it is great to be aware of them and also how to treat them.
With pregnancy comes a lot of physical changes, particularly to the skin. These skin changes during pregnancy happen due to a change in hormones. And they are perfectly normal. Changes differ from woman to woman. It can even differ from pregnancy to pregnancy.
11 Skin changes during pregnancy
The following are skin changes to watch out for during pregnancy.
- Stretch marks
This is one of the commonest skin changes most women experience during pregnancy. 90 per cent of pregnant women have stretch marks during pregnancy. Stretch marks appear in places like the belly, breasts, and forearm.
To prevent stretch marks during pregnancy, exercise your body. Also, use lotions that contain vitamin E and alpha-hydroxy acids. Though there’s no scientific evidence to back this up, you could still try.
- Acne and pimples
When you’re pregnant, hormones trigger the production of even more oil in your body. And this can cause acne to breakout. Worse still, acne may double and become more irritated if you had them on your face before pregnancy.
Make sure you cleanse your face morning and night. And when it’s dry apply astringent. It will remove any remaining oil on your face. Using the same procedure, apply a moisturizer that is free of oil. Please do not use an astringent that is medicated.
- Itchy abdomen
Sometimes, the itchy abdomen may be a sign of an underlying health problem known as cholestasis. Some women experience itching and dryness of skin as their bumps grow, stretching and tightening. If this itching is accompanied by fatigue and loss of appetite, vomiting and jaundice, see your doctor immediately.
Calamine lotion come in handy here. You can apply it over the itchy area. The trick is to keep your abdomen from remaining dry. Additionally, some medications can treat cholestasis, as per your doctor’s prescription.
- Skin pigmentation
There is nothing you can do to prevent some skin changes that come during pregnancy. Skin pigmentation is one of them. Pregnancy hormones are the cause of this. Spots, freckles, and moles can all appear on your skin. In some cases, some places in your body darken. Places like the nipples, labia, areolas etc. The darkening may not go away after pregnancy.
- Skin tags
Skin tags are harmless small growths that usually appear in tight places on the body including the armpits, neck, and under the breasts. Though skin tags may be harmless, they are not very pleasing to the eye. They usually disappear after pregnancy.
- Linea Nigra
Linea Nigra is another common skin changes in pregnant women. It is a dark line that runs from the navel down to the pubic bone. The line is always there, invisible to the eye, darkening only during pregnancy due to imbalances in hormones. It will be less visible after pregnancy. There is nothing anyone can do to prevent that darkening.
- Varicose veins
These are unusually big veins that can be seen on the legs during pregnancy. They are bluish and protruding in a way that is not very pleasing to the eye. Varicose veins usually run in the family. It’s your body’s way of expanding so that it can carry the extra blood that moves to your baby.
There are a few measures you can take to reduce the effects of the symptoms. These measures include walking to help blood reach your heart, not sitting or standing for a long time, taking enough vitamin C, and avoid adding more weight.
- Pregnancy glow
In Nigeria, it is not uncommon to hear someone in passing telling a pregnant woman that pregnancy is making her glow. Pregnancy glow is one of the wonders your body performs during pregnancy. Apart from producing 50 per cent more blood that circulates your body, it produces hormones that make your oil glands produce more oil. This leaves your face oily and with a glow that is known as pregnancy glow.
- Mask of pregnancy
As the name suggests, spots appear on your face as though you have a mask on. The spots are splotchy. They concentrate on your forehead and cheeks, which is a direct consequence of your body producing more hormones that are causing a rise in pigmentation.
During pregnancy, your skin becomes very sensitive. And too much exposure to the sun can bring about the mask of pregnancy. So whenever you’re going outdoors wear sunscreen or a baseball cap that shields your face from the sun’s rays.
- Spider veins
Like varicose veins, spider veins appear on the skin during pregnancy as a result of increased circulation of blood. They appear on the neck, face, and arms. They are tiny blood vessels that start from a spot and expand. Reddish in colour. Thankfully, spider veins do not cause pain and they usually disappear after delivery.
Just like varicose veins, they run in the family too. So if women in your family have a history of having spider veins during pregnancy, you will likely get it. As previously stated, they disappear after delivery. But in the event they don’t, laser treatment is used to remove them.
- Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy(PUPPP)
Typically, these show up in the form of bumps on your skin during pregnancy, pale and red. Their sizes vary, and they can sometimes attack a particular area like a plaque, as they’re sometimes called. PUPPPs are uncomfortable on the skin, causing itching or stinging sensations.
Washing with warm water helps ease the condition. Make sure the water is not hot. You can also dab wet cloth to the affected area. But don’t let soap touch the affected area; it will cause more itching.
While you’re pregnant beware of the medications you use for the treatment of any of those skin changes. Contact your doctor if you’re not sure.