Pregnancy can put a woman's system out of whack—you have dizzy bouts, you need to make a bathroom run every so often to pee, you feel tired all the time, and your skin looks different. While many couldn't be happier about their glowing pregnancy skin, there are also pregnant women whose hormones are causing them acne, dark spots, and itchiness. But this is an especially sensitive time, which means you can't take just any medicine to treat these issues. How do you deal with these when you're pregnant?
Common skin problems during pregnancy
Progesterone, a hormone that your body produces in high levels during pregnancy, can cause your skin to become oily during this stage. As a result, you might get a few (or more) pimples no matter how religiously you stick to your beauty routine. Use a topical antibiotic to lessen the inflammation and treat the bacteria that contributes to the infection.
Avoid tretinoin and retinoid, which have been show to cause harm to your unborn baby. Stay away from benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, which studies show may cause birth defects.
It can happen that sometimes, you feel an itch that may be caused by a number of things. It could be an inflammation, your skin stretching (Find out here if you are prone to stretch marks), or just plain skin dryness. If it's a rash, it could be eczema triggered by pregnancy, or polymorphic eruption of pregnancy (PEP) which will manifest on your buttocks, abdomen, and thighs.
The safest treatment? “Look for a product that has ceramides as a main ingredient,” says Jody Levine, M.D., director of dermatology at Plastic Surgery & Dermatology of New York City.
If you notice some dark patches on parts of your face, don't be alarmed. This is melasma, a hyperpigmentation of the skin, and it can be quite common in pregnancy, moreso among women with a darker complexion. You'll see it on your cheeks, your forehead, or chin, but it usually goes away a few months after you give birth.
Melasma can be caused by a number of things (birth control pills, for example), but if it occurs during pregnancy, it is likely triggered by the hormone progesterone. So as not to aggravate the pigmentation, be sure to use sunblock as often as possible (you don't have to go for the highest SPF; an SPF 30 will do). “Ultraviolet light is a known trigger,” Justin Ko, M.D., a clinical associate professor of dermatology at Stanford Health Care, told Parents. Azelaic acid in cream or gel is used to safely lighten dark patches.
Noticed veiny, spider-like marks on your face? Hormones can trigger the blood vessels to grow and become visible. They may look red and painful, but in reality, they are not. Thankfully, these marks disappear on their own eventually after childbirth, and don't require any medication. However, if their appearance bothers you, or if they cause pain in rare cases, a laser treatment would be best to remove them after you've given birth.