Pregnancy is a time for changes to a woman’s body including the skin. It is rarely the case that a woman will escape skin problems during her pregnancy. The majority of pregnant women will experience one or more skin problems including acne, dark facial blotches and stretch marks. One thing that most pregnant women expect is a rosier complexion because that is what she is told she will experience. No one likes to talk about the skin problems of pregnancy. If you are a pregnant woman it does become important to know what skin problems to expect and the solutions for those problems.
Skin problems that occur during pregnancy are usually related to the fluctuating levels of hormones that pregnant women experience throughout pregnancy. These fluctuating hormones can have an affect on a pregnant woman’s skin leading to an unusual breakout of acne, tiny dilated blood vessels often called spider veins, the unsightly and common stretch marks, a pregnancy rash called PUPPP, and brown patchy skin referred to as the mask of pregnancy when it occurs on the face of the pregnant woman.
If a woman already has acne issues they can worsen when she becomes pregnant. Occasionally a pregnant woman will report that her acne actually cleared up during her pregnancy. The reason acne can occur or worsen during pregnancy is that the hormones aggravate acne. A condition such as pregnancy is ruled by hormones and the hormone levels are known to fluctuate throughout the pregnancy which means that the condition will get better or worsen depending on what the hormones are doing. Oil glands also produce more oil during pregnancy which can contribute to acne. Doctors caring for women during pregnancy will usually advice them to stay away from over-the-counter acne medications. Pregnant women do have a solution for acne that is safe for her to follow during pregnancy. While I was pregnant with my three daughers I always followed a healthy diet that includes lots of fruit and vegetables and most of all at least 8 glasses of water each day. Foods that can help your skin include berries, cantaloupe, dark green vegetables, olives, salmon and when cooking use extra virgin olive oil. If your skin becomes dry that can aggravate acne so use a light moisturizer.
Pregnant women can get spider veins anywhere including abdomen, arms, chest and on the face. I had angiomas (spider veins) pop up on my face during my third pregnancy. I was told they usually go away after the baby is born but mine did not go away. If the spider vein bothers you when the pregnancy is over you can have laser surgery to correct this condition. The increased volumne of blood that is an important part of pregnancy is the culprit that causes these tiny red or blue veins to appear. One solution for preventing spider veins during pregnancy is to get plenty of vitamin C in your diet because this vitamin is used by your body to manufacture collagen and elastin. These are important building blocks for connective tissue and are used by the body to repair veins and to make new veins. Do not have laser treatment or sclerotherapy while pregnant because a special solution is injected into the vein during these procedures. A solution that helps prevent spider vein that can be initiated during pregnancy is to avoid crossing your legs and to wear support stockings. Wearing loose clothing and avoiding clothing that is restrictive or too tight such as your favorite tight jeans is a definite no-no if you want to avoid spider veins. Another thing you can do is to avoid sitting for long periods of time by getting up and stretching or by going for a short walk every 30 minutes.
Just about every pregnant woman has heard about stretch marks and wants to avoid them. I experienced stretch marks with each of my pregnancies. They are pink or purple lines that appear on stretched skin such as on a pregnant woman’s stomach, breast or thigh. One solution is to use creams or lotions that contain alpha-hydroxy acids in order to avoid this skin problem.
Brown splotchy skin – The mask of pregnancy
The mask of pregnancy also known as chloasma or melasma happens during pregnancy. It is brownish in color and is caused by excess pigment deposited on the skin’s surface. Usually the brown spotches go away after the baby is born but mine did not. After the baby is born some women have resorted to using bleaching creams or chemical peels to rid themselves of this excess pigmentation. I choose to just cover it up with makeup. If you are interested in preventing the mask of pregnancy you can make a point to use sunscreen while pregnant.
The skin problems of pregnancy cannot always be avoided. Sometimes you simply must put up with the inconvenient skin problems of pregnancy and concentrate instead of the joys of that little bundle of joy you will soon be holding.
Skin Problems of Pregnancy Retrieved December 2, 2010 from http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=52164