Skin Care During Pregnancy

A woman’s skin care needs often change during pregnancy. Acne, skin tags and stretch marks are among the common concerns a woman may have while expecting. Some women experience a healthy glow during pregnancy. Their skin looks radiant and remains unblemished for the duration. Others, however, find themselves dealing with new or worsening skin conditions.

Acne and Skin Blotches

Many women are subjected to surprising skin changes during pregnancy, and the changes are different for each woman. Some women develop acne or have it worsen during pregnancy, while others experience surprisingly clear skin. Often, blotchy patches develop on a woman’s legs while she’s expecting, and many women develop a darkening of the face that is referred to as the “mask of pregnancy.” Both types of skin discoloration are harmless.

During pregnancy, a woman’s best defense against acne may be keeping her skin clean. Washing at least twice a day, with a mild cleanser, may help. However, an acne problem may be caused by hormones, and preventing outbreaks of pimples can be difficult. A woman’s first thought may be to use an acne medication to treat her blemishes, but it’s best to see a doctor first. Over-the-counter topical acne medications may contain substances that could harm a developing baby. Prescription treatments, such as Accutane and Retin-A, are best reserved for after pregnancy because of their potential for causing birth defects.

Unfortunately, there’s no treatment for the blotchy patches that may develop on the legs or for the mask of pregnancy. They typically go away after birth and do not cause any harm. A pregnant woman should mention them to her doctor, however, as some skin changes can be signs of a serious medical condition.

Itchy Skin Care

Itchy skin is a common occurrence during pregnancy. This is particularly true in the second and third trimesters when a woman’s skin is doing most of its stretching. Itchy skin can develop on any part of the body, but many women develop it on their bellies and breasts.

In most cases, hormones and dry skin contribute to the itchiness that is so common during pregnancy. The normal stretching that occurs as the baby grows only make matters worse. To help keep the skin moisturized and at least a little less itchy, a woman may use moisturizing lotions and creams regularly and drink plenty of water. If these measures don’t help or the itching is intense, she should see her doctor right away. Intense itching can be a sign of a liver condition that could prove dangerous for the baby.

Skin Tags and Stretch Marks

Pregnant women often have to contend with skin tags, which are small growths or protrusions of skin. They commonly appear near or on the breasts, on the neck and on the armpits. However, they can form on any part of the body. Stretch marks are common developments as well, usually making an appearance during the latter part of pregnancy. Pregnancy stretch marks commonly develop on the breasts and abdomen, but some women develop them on the buttocks, thighs and hips as well.

If a woman has skin tags, they’ve probably developed because of hormonal changes, and a dermatologist can remove them during or after pregnancy. She should see her doctor to make sure the change she has noted is really a skin tag. Skin tags are harmless, but it’s wise to rule out other dangerous types of skin conditions. It’s important to wear sunscreen during pregnancy as well. This may help to lower a woman’s chances of developing the mask of pregnancy and prevent skin cancer.

Many women use creams and lotions in an attempt to avoid stretch marks. While advertisers may claim otherwise, moisturizers are not reliable for preventing stretch marks. They can help to keep the skin soft and supple, however. To minimize stretch marks, a woman can keep pregnancy weight gain within the range her doctor suggests, consume a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and stay hydrated.

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