Pregnancy will cause a woman’s body to undergo some of the most drastic changes that she will experience in her lifetime. And it’s no surprise that many of those changes, while expected, can be unpleasant. Others, will come as a surprise and leave you scratching your head.
Your skin is the largest organ in the body so naturally you can expect some changes to it during your pregnancy. Fortunately, a lot of those conditions are only temporary and subside after you have delivered your baby. Some skin conditions, like dry skin, require an effective treatment solution while others will go away on their own over time.
Every woman’s body is different and will have her own unique experience during pregnancy. However, below are a few common skin conditions that may arise during the months prior to the birth of your baby.
Changes in skin discoloration
Skin discoloration may be one of the first signs that you’re pregnant. The condition is called Chloasma and it’s often referred to as the “mask of pregnancy.” It’s characterized by brown patches that are irregular in size and appear in several parts of your body. Skin discoloration can also be caused by oral contraceptives.
The cause of Chloasma is the body’s overproduction of melanin. Melanin serves to protect your body against the sun’s UV rays. While it may be pleasant to bask your tummy and the rest of your body under the warm sun, sun exposure can actually worsen the spots. Limit your sun exposure and always be sure to apply a SPF formula that protects against both UVB & UVA rays.
What’s that line running up my tummy?
This condition is more rare and may not happen for all women. It’s basically a vertical line that runs up your abdomen. The technical term is linnea nigra. It looks more threatening than it really is since it gives the illusion that your abdominal muscles are splitting apart. In reality, it has nothing to do with this and it’s just another condition resulting from imbalanced pigmentation levels in the skin due to hormonal changes. This condition should clear up in the weeks after you have given birth.
Stretch marks are very common during pregnancy. You may see stretch marks appear on your belly, breasts, thighs, or other parts of the body. Stretch marks are the result of your skin expanding as your body grows. Genetics also plays a role in how likely you are to develop them. If your mother had stretch marks during her pregnancy, there’s a good chance you will develop them too. There’s not much you can do to avoid them; however, most women can expect to see the appearance of their marks improve over time. In the meantime, you can apply a moisturizer to help relieve any dryness or itchiness. Also be sure that your diet includes plenty of vitamin C to ensure that your skin stays toned and healthy.
As if breakouts weren’t enough to taunt us during our teenaged lives, acne can reoccur in some pregnant women. On the flip side, some women may actually see their skin clear up. An excess in the production of hormones called androgens cause the sebaceous glands on your skin to get bigger and cause an increase in the production of sebum. The extra sebum, along with other skin debris, clogs the pores which is the direct cause of breakouts. Be sure to keep your skin clean and exfoliate regularly to remove dirt and oil.
While some women experience problems with oily skin leading to acne, others have to deal with dry skin. Nevertheless, it’s possible to suffer from both conditions. Dry skin usually takes place during the later stages of pregnancy as the skin stretches to accommodate the growing baby. The body undergoes specific hormonal changes in order to make this possible. During this process, the skin loses some of its elasticity and natural moisture.
Be sure to implement a quality moisturizer and stay hydrated as much as possible. Other things you can do include washing your skin with exfoliating soap to remove dead skin cells which can lead to dryness. Applying a mask on a regular basis also helps by sealing in your skin’s water content. If you have a humidifier, you can use it at night to make sure your skin doesn’t lose any additional moisture during your sleep hours.
Is the pregnant glow a real thing?
That radiant pregnant glow; yes, it’s actually a thing! This is caused by your skin’s increase in mass as it plumps up during pregnancy. Your skin will stretch out and smooth out a lot of the lines and wrinkles. The actual glow is due to increased blood flow circulating through your body which gives your skin the pinkish and reddish tones.
In conclusion, the months leading up to the birth of your newborn will bring many changes to your skin. Most of these skin conditions are not serious and can be handled through self-care and with a little bit of patience. Always consult with your doctor if you experience any unusual changes or symptoms. It’s better to be safe than sorry. And as a general rule, always be sure that you’re following a healthy lifestyle during your pregnancy as this will not only impact your own health but the health of your unborn child as well.