When you find out that you’re pregnant, there are so many changes in store for your body. Not only will your waistline expand, but you could get unusual cravings, fluctuating moods and alterations to the look and feel of your skin.
Are pregnancy skin changes normal? Yes, for most women, skin breakouts, discoloration, varicose veins and skin tags are totally common – but that doesn’t stop them from being annoying. It really isn’t all bad though – most women also experience a healthy glow that you wish you got to keep forever.
Here are 7 ways that pregnancy may change your skin, so you know what to expect when you’re expecting:
1. An amazing glow
It’s thought that the increase of oil, hormones and up to 40% more blood volume contributes to your skin radiating a gorgeous glow. When pregnant, your body produces more oxygen and delivers extra nutrients to your organs – including your skin.
The extra oil on your skin won’t just contribute to a luminous glow – it could also trigger breakouts. Some women experience acne during pregnancy, which can normally be alleviated by using a gentle foam cleanser and being extra careful about what your skin comes into contact with.
3. Dark patches
Around 50% of women develop melasma when pregnant. What is melasma? Melasma is a hyperpigmentation, typically found symmetrically on the nose, cheeks and forehead. Caused (again) by increased hormone levels, it’s most likely to occur during your third trimester. To prevent melasma, it’s recommended to stay in the shade when it’s hot.
Usually, this hyperpigmentation disappears after you’ve had your baby, but sometimes it lingers for years. Some women also notice a dark line that goes from the navel to the pubic bone (known as linea nigra).
4. Varicose veins
The increased blood flow that causes the glow to your cheeks can put pressure on the veins in your legs. This can cause painful swelling and, in some cases, varicose veins.
Light exercise is an easy remedy for varicose veins because it boosts circulation, and stops blood from pooling. Compression stockings can also help.
5. Sensitive skin
When you’re pregnant, your skin could become more sensitive – even to products and items you’ve been in contact with for years.
I recommend using fragrance-free products and to test new skincare products behind your ear before using them. This will prevent nasty rashes and allergic reactions from developing.
Some women develop new moles when they’re pregnant. Existing moles may also get bigger. Skin cancers can also appear during pregnancy so it’s important to get them examined by a trained professional if you’re concerned.
7. Skin tags
What is a skin tag? A skin tag is a small growth often found on the skin at high-friction points like the underarms and groin area. They’re totally harmless, so there’s no need to worry about them. Skin tags are most likely to appear during the second and third trimester of pregnancy.
Skin tags are caused when the increased levels of estrogen and progesterone stimulate the growth of outer skin layers. Some women find that they shrink eventually. If you have a skin tag that is at greater risk of irritation due to its location, it can be removed by a dermatologist.
8. Stretch Marks
Getting stretch marks during pregnancy is probably one of the more well-known skin changes that women experience. You may start to notice stretch marks after about 13 weeks of being pregnant. Up to 90% of women get these marks – typically on their thighs, belly, butt and breasts.
Stretch marks are caused by small tears in the layers of tissue under your skin. The best way to minimise their appearance is to use a good quality moisturising cream daily, such as a pure vitamin E cream, Shea butter or coconut oil. And nourish yourself from the inside out, with a balanced, healthy diet. Some evidence suggests that vitamin C can help keep your skin stay toned, and less prone, to stretch marks.
What can you do?
- Stick to a diet that contains a balance of vitamins and nutrients so that your skin doesn’t lose out
- Drink plenty of water with electrolytes so that your skin stays healthy and hydrated-mineral water, coconut water, lemon or cucumber in water.
- Stay cool to avoid heat rash
- See a dermatologist if you have concerns
To find out how pregnancy naturopathy can help you, book an appointment today.