You were expecting the pregnancy glow and now you’ve got skin pigmentation? There are a lot of positive things that you hear about pregnancy but most of the problems are usually sidelined. Therefore, some unpleasant surprises like skin changes sneak up on you. While changes to your skin are very normal and common during pregnancy, they can often make you more troubled and self-conscious. It is better to take precautions and deal with all these changes quickly.
What are the ways in which skin is affected?
Other than the expected stretch marks, there are many unexpected changes that happen to your skin, especially on the face and legs. Some of the skin issues you may develop include:
- Pregnancy Acne
- Itchy skin
- Skin Rashes
- Spider Angiomas
- Pigmentation and Spot
The reason behind most of these lie in hormonal shifts, change in blood circulation, nutritional deficiencies and lower immunity; incidentally, all of them naturally very likely to develop during pregnancy. While most of them will subside on their own after the birth of your child, it is not the case for all of them.
It is a phenomenon so common that most pregnant women are expected to develop acne during or after the first trimester. The main cause being the increased hormone levels in these initial months that increase the production of natural oils in the skin. Those who are already prone to acne, in general, will definitely have acne during this time as well.
Here’s how you can deal with acne on your own at home:
- Wash or take a bath twice daily, especially after heavy sweating.
- Do not over-cleanse or make your skin too sensitive by washing it too frequently.
- Use alcohol-free and oil-free cleansers and moisturise gently after drying.
- Avoid touching your face too much so that any bacteria on your hands don’t reach your face.
- Use clean and washed cloth around your face like napkins, handkerchiefs, towels and pillowcases.
Other than all of the above, the one thing you should take the utmost care of is not giving in the urge to scratch, squeeze or pop your pimples. Acne only either increases or leaves scars when you do that. If you are suffering too much, consult your doctor or a cosmetologist regarding medicinal treatments as well.
Another problem that occurs very frequently during pregnancy is itchiness, usually on your limbs. Legs can get especially itchy and the irritation caused by it often hinders rest or sleep routines. It is so common that about one-fifth of pregnant women everywhere deal with it. The causes for general itchiness can range from an increase in blood flow to the stretching of skin as your figure changes in pregnancy. Pregnancy also causes increased sensitivity in your skin, another possible reason for itchiness.
This is how you can deal with itchy skin on your own:
- Gently apply moisturiser on your itchy skin to soothe it.
- Avoid getting in contact with chemicals like too much chlorine in swimming pools.
- Use emollients that can be added to your bath since they are medicated solution to your itchy skin problems.
- Massaging coconut oil on itchy skin can also be an effective solution.
- Stay hydrated and eat foods that fulfil your nutritional requirements.
Outside of these fairly regular causes, a specific medical condition called Obstetric Cholestasis (OC) affects the liver and causes itchiness. During pregnancy, OC is also known as Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP). If you experience intense itching over the palm of your hands and soles of your feet, see your doctor about this.
Rashes on the skin are usually an allergic reaction to unfavourable substances or environmental conditions. Urticaria, hives or rashes, all are generally temporary conditions that can be triggered by a lot of things or your body producing excess histamine. Indicated by swollen and red patches of skin, rashes can be very itchy and sensitive to the point of being painful.
Rashes can be dealt with in the following ways:
- Detoxing your body with fruits, vegetables and various juices helps in reducing rashes.
- Rubbing aloe vera gel or paste on rashes cools them and soothes the skin irritation.
- Cool baths with mild bath products containing chamomile and lavender are also helpful.
- Pressing a cold compress is another simple yet effective way to reduce a rash.
Consult your doctor or a dermatologist in case the condition worsens.
Another common occurrence in pregnancy is the breaking of smaller blood vessels called capillaries. This happens due to the pressure built by extra blood circulation happening in your body to nourish your unborn child. There are spider veins and the condition is called spider angioma. These veins will fade away on their own after childbirth. While there are no proper cures for it, you can reduce their intensity by protecting your skin from extreme cold or heat in the environment.
Pigmentation and Spot
You may have noticed darker patches developing on your skin after getting pregnant. Women often mention skin pigmentation as one of the earliest changes in their appearance during this time. Developing of dark patches, pigmentation of areas around the nipples and dark spots in pregnancy is called Melasma. Also known as ‘mask of pregnancy’, this condition is triggered by a combination of exposure to UV rays and the changing hormones in you. Melasma usually develops on all areas of your face and visible parts of the neck. Spots triggered by hormonal shifts can occur separately too because of an excess of oil or sebum generation in the skin after the first trimester.
You can deal with this with the help of some easy solutions like:
- The first and simplest precaution is to use a strong SPF sunscreen wherever you go out.
- Keep your skin covered and protected from the sun to reduce the pigmentation.
- Apply diluted lemon juice to lighten pigmented skin and wash off after 10 mins.
- To keep a breakout of spots from happening, clean your face with lukewarm water and gentle oil-free cleanser twice daily.
- Avoid excessive use of make-up that covers up the pores in the skin and causes more spots.
Pigmentation and spots subside naturally in the months after the birth of your child. See a dermatologist or your gynaecologist if they persist too long. Self treatment with ointments and medicines without consulting your doctor is inadvisable.
Skin changes and problems are a part of the journey of pregnancy and are not something to be afraid of. Most of them are also temporary. So, let go of the stress because too much stress is also a known cause of skin problems. And if after all this you are wondering whether the ‘pregnancy glow’ is just a myth, it is not! When you take care of yourself, eat healthily and have healthy blood circulation, are calm and happy on the inside, it reflects on the outside too. It doesn’t matter whether there are spots or your skin is darkening, you will shine if you are happy, healthy and confident in pregnancy!