What to Expect from Your Skin When You’re Expecting
While incredible changes are taking place inside your body, your skin changes too.
22 May 2017
When you’re expecting, the increase in blood circulation and oil production makes your cheeks rosier and your face shiny. While incredible changes are taking place inside your body, your skin changes too. You may be lucky enough to experience radiant skin or your hormones might have less flattering plans for you.
Some of the most common skin 'issues' that women have:
The Mask of Pregnancy
The ‘mask of pregnancy’ refers to dark hyper-pigmented patches that appear on the face; these patches can also show up on your neck. It helps to use a face cream with SPF 15 or higher, and to wear a hat that protects your face from exposure to the sun. Not to worry though, these will fade away in the months after delivery.
Discolouration and New Spots
Areas of your body that have always been a different colour – such as birthmarks, nipples, areola and your underarms – will become even darker. Your freckles and moles may grow and you could even notice new moles. Please show any new moles to your doctor if they’re especially dark, raised or have irregular edges.
Redness and Visible Veins
You may notice that your palms and the soles of your feet are redder. This is normal, and it can show up as early as your second month of pregnancy. During the second half of pregnancy, one in a hundred women will experience itchy, red, raised patches on her belly, thighs, buttocks or arms and legs. This condition, which is called pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPP), may disappear for a while and then come back. In most cases, it vanishes shortly after delivery. Tiny blood vessels under the skin can become more visible during pregnancy. These spider veins, (so called because they look like a spider’s web), can take a while to disappear after delivery. If they bother you, please consult a dermatologist.
Acne is common. Avoid anti-acne prescription drugs, (some have been linked to birth defects), and use a gentle cleansing routine.
Some women develop skin tags (polyps) in places where there’s friction. These tags usually disappear a few months after delivery, but if they bother you, a doctor can remove them easily. Friction can also lead to heat rash. As your baby bump grows, in addition to stretch marks, you may find that the skin of your belly gets dry and itchy. You may also have itchy thighs and hips. Keep the skin in these areas moisturised. In your second trimester, you may notice a dark vertical line – the linea negra – on your belly. It will disappear after delivery, but it could take up to a year to do so.
Please keep in mind that many of these skin changes will pass or become less noticeable after pregnancy. Keep yourself moisturised inside and out by drinking plenty of water and using a cream or lotion. And remember this is all for a very good cause!