When a woman is expecting a child, her body goes through a host of hormonal and physical changes, some of which continue after she has given birth. In the process of dealing with different physical symptoms, moms-to-be may not consider looking after their skin as much as they might have before becoming pregnant. Learn more about these common skin problems for moms-to-be, and protect your skin before and after you give birth to ensure that you look great for many years to come.
Melasma. Melasma is a common condition, which, according to the Mayo Clinic, can affect up to 75 percent of pregnant women. Often known as the “mask of pregnancy,” melasma affects pregnant women’s skin pigmentation, leaving irregular patches of tan or brown around the face. To minimize the risk of melasma, moms-to-be should wear appropriate sun protection at all times. Apply sunscreen every day, even if you are mainly indoors. Even brief periods in the sun may cause melasma when you are pregnant.
Stretch marks. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, stretch marks occur in most women during the sixth and seventh months of pregnancy. Stretch marks are caused by the pulling and stretching that take place in the underlying layers of skin and appear as unsightly red or purple marks on the abdomen and thighs. Moisturize the skin during and after pregnancy to reduce the risk of stretch marks. The symptoms can be treated with a prescription cream or with laser therapy.
Itchy skin. Many moms-to-be suffer from itchy skin during pregnancy, particularly on the soles of the feet and the palms of the hand. Using a gentle, fragrance-free, non-soap cleanser may prevent the problem, according to the AAD. To alleviate the symptoms, keep a mentholated moisturizer in the fridge, and apply to the affected areas for an instant soothing effect.
Acne. Acne can affect women of all ages, but is commonly experienced during pregnancy due to elevated hormone levels. According to the American Pregnancy Association, certain prescription drugs offered to women who are not pregnant are not suitable for moms-to-be. These include Accutane, Retin-A and Tetracycline. Consult your doctor before using these drugs, or opt for products containing benzoyl peroxide, which has been deemed safe for moms-to-be.