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Pregnancy Can Also Affect Your Skin: Here's How

Know about the common skin changes during pregnancy.

Published
Her Health
3 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Few skin problems that are common during pregnancy</p></div>
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A woman goes through multiple changes during pregnancy— both physical and mental.

With your hormones going haywire, as your pregnancy progresses, it can also impact the health of your hair and skin.

These skin conditions may be a result of certain hormones like leptin, progesterone and estrogen, which are higher during pregnancy.

Other reasons may include vascular changes and increase in blood volume during pregnancy.

While some conditions may have simple preventive measures, others may disappear after delivery, and some others may require medical intervention.

Here are some changes you may notice in your skin during pregnancy.

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Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is a common skin problem in expecting mothers.

It is characterised by dark nipples, armpits, inner thighs, a line extending over the belly to the pubic area.

It is so common that it is also known as pregnancy mask, or melasma in medical terms.

Melasma is caused due to the over production of progesterone and estrogen and other hormonal imbalances. It may start to affect the skin during the first or second trimester of pregnancy.

The condition may worsen due to the exposure to the sun. But, the good news is that it generally fades away after the delivery within a few months without any targeted treatment.

Stretch Marks

Stretch marks appear as the pink, purple or red narrow lines on the stomach, inner thighs or near the breasts.

According to the UK NHS (National Health Services), 8 out of 10 women experience these stubborn marks during pregnancy.

It is caused due to the increasing size of the baby that makes the stomach grow larger and it is also caused due to the weight gain and hormonal changes.

There is no treatment for the stretch marks as it differs from woman to woman depending on their skin type and flexibility. But doctors advise to keep the skin smooth and moisturised to avoid the stretch marks. Stretch marks may be reversible if taken care during the early stages when they are pink and purple else after turning white they may not disappear easily.

Skin Tags 

Skin tags are the small skin growth near the folds of the body like armpits, neck, vagina and under the breasts.

According to the US NIH, pregnancy is the cause of various dermatological changes in women and skin tags comprises 12% of them.

Skin tags may be caused due to increased friction near the armpits, inner thighs and neck due to weight gain at this time.

Increase in the level of hormone-leptin is also associated with skin tags during pregnancy.

According to the reports of healthline, there are various medical procedures to remove skin stages like excision, cauterisation and cryosurgery.

Excision means cutting or snipping off the skin tags with the scissors, cauterization involves burning the skin tags with electrical energy and cryosurgery involves freesing and removing of skin tags using liquid nitrogen.

Acne

According to the doctors at Mayo Clinic, acne is quite common during the first or second trimester of pregnancy. It is caused due to the increase in hormone called androgens that produce the oily, waxy substance called sebum. This clogs the pores which results in breakouts, acne and inflammation.

The only way to prevent acne is to use mild facewash, avoiding the use of exfoliators that may dry out and irritate the skin.

Washing your hair frequently can also help avoid acne around the hairline.

Avoid touching your face often, this can transfer the bacteria on your face.

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Varicose Veins

According to the American Pregnancy Association, varicose veins are caused due to the increase in volume of the blood during pregnancy.

This puts a lot of pressure on the veins, a heavy uterus also pressurises the veins towards the legs resulting in breakage and enlargement of those veins that cause varicose veins.

The good news is that it minimises after the delivery within 3 to 12 months.

A few preventive measures to avoid varicose veins during pregnancy include, avoiding high heels, not standing in the same position for too long, avoid cross-legged sitting posture, exercises after consulting a doctor and increase in consumption of water and fibre.

Cholestasis

This condition is characterised by extremely dry and itchy skin caused by an increase in the pregnancy hormones that causes the excess flow of bile in the gall bladder.

It makes the person feel extremely itchy and you may end up scratching your palms and feet, especially as the delivery date comes near. It is advisable to consult a doctor if the condition worsens because it becomes very irritating and disrupts sleep as well.

The doctors may prescribe oral medications after tests or the condition may become better after the delivery without the need of any treatment.

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