25 Feb How Pregnancy Can Affect Your Skin

Pregnancy transforms your body from top to toe, so it’s no surprise that pregnancy also affects the skin. During pregnancy, as many as nine in every ten women will notice changes in their skin[1].

From the first missed period to the final trimester, pregnancy affects your skin. It can cause pimples and pigmentation, stretch marks and itching[2]. In this blog, we’ll explore what to expect and how to soothe your skin problems.

Pregnancy pigmentation problems

The hormonal changes of pregnancy can affect the skin’s pigmentation. As many as ninety percent of women notice that pregnancy makes their skin darker and their pigmentation patchy. Some women develop central facial discolouration, which is known as chloasma, melasma or the mask of pregnancy[3]. Areas affected include the cheeks, forehead, nose, upper lip, chin and sometimes the neck.

Increased pigment makes the nipples darker. They may turn from pink to brown or beige to black. Also, skin colour can deepen around the tummy button. Many women develop something called a linea nigra, a dark line tracking down from the navel to the pubic bone[4], although it can extend further than this area.

The good news is that pigmentation can fade gradually after birth. Sunlight increases pigmentation problems, so follow these tips to protect your skin:

  • Avoid intense sunlight especially around the middle of the day
  • Take a folic acid supplement
  • Stay in the shade
  • Slip on a shirt and slap on a hat when you’re outside
  • Always wear a high-protection sunscreen[5] of SPF 30 or more

Skin tags

Skin tags are fleshy lumps that can appear on the skin in pregnancy. They typically develop on the face, neck, chest, and under the breasts[1] during the second and third trimesters[6]. Skin tags are harmless but can look unsightly[7].

Generally, no treatment is needed. The tags usually disappear after the birth without surgery, freezing, or any other intervention. If yours become sore, infected or unattractive, see your doctor for advice and referral[8].

Stretch marks

The scientific name for stretch marks is striae. Stretch marks appear when the skin is stretched. They are one of the most common ways in which pregnancy can affect your skin. Surveys suggest that they affect as many as nine in ten pregnant women[1]. The hormonal disturbance, weight gain, and body shape changes of pregnancy stretch tissues in the dermis so much that they tear. This results in the characteristic reddish or purple lines known as stretch marks[9].

Initially, stretch marks look angry, raised, and red, but over time, they fade to fine, flat silvery lines that are less obvious. Although research is ongoing, the treatment of stretch marks remains tricky. However, you may be able to reduce your chances of getting them by:

  • Controlling your weight: Eating a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight gain[9].
  • Applying topical treatments: Although evidence is contradictory, research suggests that certain active ingredients may prevent stretch marks. Creams containing Centella asiatica (Gotu Kola) and vitamin E helped prevent stretch marks. Massaging the skin with bitter almond oil or hyaluronic acid may also have a slight protective effect[10].
  • Moisturising with emollients: One study found that the regular application of emollients can increase skin elasticity and reduce the risk of stretch marks[11].
  • Sealing in moisture: Moisturiser maybe 50% more effective when applied to damp skin[11]. Apply AproDerm® Emollient Cream to your bump straight after bathing to reduce moisture loss[10].

AproDerm® Colloidal Oat Cream, formulated with active colloidal oatmeal, and AproDerm® Emollient Cream are both available on our Amazon Storefront. Apply them regularly and generously for softer, smoother, less irritated skin during pregnancy and after the birth.

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