- Stretch marks – appears near the breasts, tummy or thighs, as the baby grows bigger. Higher levels of hormones disrupt the skin’s protein balance, making it thinner and making stretch marks more prominent.Stretch marks are a necessary evil and generally disappear after pregnancy. Regular oils massage, exercise, and anti-stretch mark screams (rich in vitamin E) can come handy in combating them.
- Changes in skin colour (pigmentation) – Darkening of skin is commonly noticed in many parts of the body, and is one of the first signs of pregnancy. Areas around the mother’s nipples and the surrounding skin darken. So do moles and freckles, the area around the navel, armpits and even the inner thighs.Brown patches of pigmentation are also observed at times on the forehead, cheeks, and neck. This is known as Chloasma or Melasma and is also commonly called the mask of pregnancy.
Chloasma is caused by the excessive production of melanin by the body, the tanning hormone, which is meant to protect the skin against ultraviolet light. Use a strong sunscreen to avoid this.
- Spots or acne – Higher levels of hormones encourage the production of sebum, the oil that keeps skin supple. Too much sebum causes pores to become blocked, resulting in greasy skin, spots, and acne.Keep dry skin moisturized. Use oil-free moisturizer. Use mild soap and lukewarm water to cleanse the skin. Do not use excessive make-ups and always remove it before going to bed. Do not use acne creams and treatments without asking the doctor.
- Sensitive or itchy skin – General itchiness which is harmless in nature, is caused due to the increased blood supply to the skin, or due to the skin stretching as the pregnancy develops.
Using moisturisers or lotions on itchy areas would help soothe itchiness.Extreme skin irritation can indicate Obstetric cholestasis, an uncommon pregnancy condition that affects the liver. The itching may be particularly intense on the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet.
Hives are yet another common skin disease that occurs during pregnancy They appear as raised, swollen areas on the skin that tend to be very itchy. They are caused by histamine which is produced in response to a trigger, such as temperature changes, or a substance that one is allergic to.
Also during pregnancy, the mother’s skin tends to retain more moisture which plumps the skin up, smoothening out fine lines and wrinkles. It gives a healthier and fuller look to the mother’s face.
Oil glands also work overtime during pregnancy, lending to the face a glossy touch.
The pinkish glow that makes mothers look radiant is caused by changes in hormone levels, and by the extra blood circulating in the body.
– All these reasons contribute in making pregnant women appear more fresh and vibrant, giving rise to the concept of ‘pregnancy glow’ or ‘pregnancy bloom’.
These skin issues are mostly caused by hormonal changes that happen inside a mother’s body. Also, the immunity system may take a beating in some cases, and hence, the skin gets more prone to infection and contamination.
Most skin disorders are non-threatening in nature and can be kept under control by the application of either natural home remedies or ointments.
Drinking large amounts of water and maintaining a healthy nutrient-rich diet will also help.
Most of the skin problems are temporary occurrences and do not pose any serious threat either to the baby or to the mother.
However if there are rashes of blisters which seem to get bad with time, or there is excessive swelling, pain, or irritation, then a doctor’s opinion must be sought. Also, if one wants to intake any specific medicine or use any specific treatment or lotion or ointment, a doctor’s go-ahead must be sought.