We don’t have to tell you that your body goes through a big change during pregnancy. Aside from your big bump, tiredness and needing to pee all the time, there are some unexpected side effects you’ll experience when you’re expecting. Thanks to a surge in oestrogen and progesterone hormones, the pregnancy glow is a real thing; your hair will appear thicker and your skin will noticeably healthy. While the luscious glow is one symptom of pregnancy, there are other (rather common) things that will happen to your skin that may surprise you.
- Suffer from breakouts and acne
- Find your skin is really sensitive
- See small skin tags forming
- Get dry and itchy patches of skin
- Find stretch marks forming
- Develop dark patches on your face and belly
1 — You might get acne
Acne breakouts are common during pregnancy because of your changes in hormone levels, even if your skin is generally clear. The surge of hormones can make skin more oily which can cause clogged pores and spots. Some women will face acne problems throughout pregnancy while for others it’s more common during the first trimester. It might take you back to your teenage years but sadly this time around you won’t be able to use acne creams, as many of them are unsafe during pregnancy or haven’t been tested on pregnant women. Some skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis, have cleared up during pregnancy, while others have reported it getting worse.
The solution: Wash your skin once or twice a day. Avoid picking at spots to prevent scars. Use a gentle cleanser that is suitable during pregnancy and try to keep makeup to a minimum. Always check with your GP before putting anything on your skin.
2 — Your skin may be really sensitive, in particular to sunlight
You may notice your skin getting red more easily when you scrub and it may be irritated by your usual shower products. It’s important to make sure your skincare products are safe to use during pregnancy and that you’re sticking to those that are free from parabens and fragrance. You’ll also burn more easily, so it’s advised that pregnant women avoid sunbathing and wear loose clothing so the sun’s rays don’t penetrate the skin.
The solution: Ensure you always wear at least SPF 15, even on cloudy days as it’s still possible to get burnt when it’s overcast.
3 – You might get skin tags
Don’t panic if you see extra bits of skin hanging off your body. Pregnancy hormones acne increase skin cell production and cause small tags to form where your clothing rubs against your skin.
The solution: They’re absolutely harmless so there’s no need to get rid of them but a dermatologist can remove them easily.
4 – You may experience dryness and itching
Many women experience dry skin during pregnancy because moisture that is usually keeping your skin hydrated is being used to carry nutrients through the blood to your baby. Itchy skin is very common with around one in five women reporting itchiness and rashes. General itchiness is normal and not harmful to your baby, however, be sure to check with your GP as it can be a sign of a specific skin condition too. Itchy hands and feet can be a sign of cholestasis of pregnancy, something that can cause liver problems for your baby if not treated.
The solution: Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated. Get a dehumidifier for your bedroom as this can help your body retain moisture. For itchiness, a warm oatmeal bath can be very soothing. Make sure the water isn’t too hot because this can dry you out more by stripping skin of its moisture.
5 — Find stretch marks forming
Stretch marks occur because of changes to the skin both down to hormones and skin stretching quickly to accommodate your baby. You may have experienced them already in your teenage years, as up to ninety percent of women get them at some point. Pregnancy stretch marks tend to appear on your breasts, thighs, and stomach and can be red, purple or brown in colour. If you can prepare for this stretching period during pregnancy, it can be possible to avoid stretch marks. Post-pregnancy stretch mark cream can also help stretch marks to fade. Do take into account that some people are more genetically predisposed to get stretch marks than others.
The solution: The simplest way to upkeep perfect skin is to use preventative measures and this applies to stretch marks too. ME AND ME Anti-stretch Marks Firming Cream can prevent the formation of stretch marks, as well as reduce the appearance of existing ones. ME AND ME Breast Firming Cream For Stretch Marks helps target those in the breast area, as well as helping to keep your bust firm.
6 — You may develop dark patches on your face and belly
Brown patches on the cheeks, forehead, and nose are caused by an increase in melanin and are referred to as chloasma and melasma. Moles, freckles, and nipples getting darker are often one of the first signs of pregnancy. You may also find a dark line forming from your belly button to pubic area: this is known as the linea nigra, or “the pregnancy line”. Each of these areas will lighten back to normal after your pregnancy.
The solution: There isn’t anything you can do about this and discolourations will mostly fade after your baby has been born. Always wear sunscreen and stay covered up when you’re outside, as this can help discolouration worsening. There are skin-lightening creams that can be used after pregnancy to help reduce the darkened pigment.
Most things go back to normal eventually pregnancy hormones decrease and this usually takes around six weeks post-birth. Your blood and hormone levels will be normal so you’ll sadly lose your pregnancy glow. Your breasts will still be larger than usual and only decrease in size once you’ve stopped breastfeeding. The best way to get through the changes to your skin is to keep yourself hydrated, eat a healthy diet, keep your skin clean and invest in a good concealer.
These changes aren’t harmful to your baby but if you’re suffering from a rash or soreness that persists for longer than a couple of days, please speak to your doctor.
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