Some women have perfect, glowing skin during pregnancy. But not everyone is so lucky. There are some who experience skin ailments because of hormonal fluctuations.
Sister Heike Millar, a registered professional nurse and midwife, says women are often caught off-guard by the unexpected changes their skin experiences.
“I find that the best reassurance in these cases is to explain the physiological reasons behind their skin worries,” she says.
“For example, changing or increased levels of hormones can cause pigmentation and then there are stretch marks from your skin expanding and stretching to accommodate your growing baby.”
We go through three skin-related issues you could experience during pregnancy, and what you can do to combat them.
Remember: consult with your doctor before trying any of these solutions.
Pimples and zits
Pregnancy can mean a resurgence of pimples and zits, particularly around the oily areas of your skin.
Although some over-the-counter preparations can help, says dermatologist Sumayah Jamal, an Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology and Microbiology at NYU Medical Centre in New York City, you must choose wisely.
“You should not use any products that contain benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or any of the retinoids. They are not safe to use during pregnancy,” she says, speaking to WebMD.
You could also try swapping your foundation for an oil-free one or use mineral powder to counteract oily skin. In addition, cleanse your face twice a day with a mild face soap and use an oil-free moisturiser.
It is inevitable that your skin will stretch to accommodate the growing foetus, and this often results in red or brown (depending on your skin tone) stripes across the thighs, breasts and abdomen.
The best way to treat these marks is to maintain skin suppleness.
You can keep your skin hydrated by using a good tissue oil regularly. It can also be used post-birth and the stretch marks could fade over time.
General pigment problems
One of the most frustrating problems women face is when patches of dark skin appear on the face – also called melasma, chloasma or “pregnancy mask”.
“The American Academy of Dermatology says women with darker complexions and dark hair are at greatest risk,” reads the WebMD website.
The recommendation is to stay out of the sun and wear a good sunscreen when outdoors.
“You can use azelaic acid, which is good for pigmentation, as well as any topical vitamin C product, which helps suppress pigment naturally,” Jamal says.
Back to lifestyle.