Pregnancy brings with it new highs and lows of all kinds. You’ll experience new joys, new sensations, and new beginnings…but also new concerns like pregnancy skin care issues.
If pregnancy has altered your skin, you may be wondering how to deal with your skin’s new needs without feeling overwhelmed. The great news is that most pregnancy skin changes don’t require much more than a new product or routine, and some skin changes don’t require you to do anything at all.
Here’s a glimpse at some of the most common pregnancy skin care concerns, and what you can do about them.
Dry Itchy Skin
Between hormonal changes and physical growth, your skin may get drier and itchier during pregnancy. It’s not uncommon for your skin to feel tight—like you can actually feel it stretching.
If this describes your skin, there are a few things you can do to bring comfort back to your body. First, make sure your water intake is adequate for your body’s needs. The Institute of Medicine says that a pregnant woman should be drinking ten 8-ounce glasses of water per day, or more if she’s particularly active. Drinking enough water will lay the foundation for avoiding dry, itchy skin sensations.
Aside from water intake, using pregnancy-safe skin care products will go a long way toward reducing dry and itchy skin. Use an oil or lotion to moisturize daily, paying special attention to extra sensitive areas.
One thing to note is that severe itching with or without the presence of a rash is not considered a normal part of pregnancy. If you’re experiencing intense itching and/or the appearance of a rash, call your doctor or midwife and let them know.
Just like the breakouts we all remember from puberty, hormones might bring breakouts back during pregnancy.
Interestingly, some women who deal with pimples regularly see an improvement in their breakouts. This could be due to higher blood volume, which brings more blood to the surface of the skin. (It’s also responsible for the famous pregnancy glow.)
If you’re one of the many women dealing with increased breakouts during pregnancy, adding in a gentle product for problematic skin will help keep things clear and comfortable. For some, just using a blemish-centered moisturizer will do the trick, while others may switch to a full skin care range for blemishes until their skin clears on its own.
Mask of Pregnancy (Melasma) and Linea Nigra
Another cool trick of increased hormones during pregnancy is producing more melanin. Melanin is what gives skin its pigmentation, and it is in high production during pregnancy.
Two of the areas that show increased pigmentation during pregnancy are the face, and what is known as the linea nigra. Linea nigra is the slightly darker line that runs from the naval to the pubis. It’s always there, though depending on your skin, you may have never noticed it before. It is often very noticeable during pregnancy, but it usually lightens or disappears again after baby is born.
As far as pigmentation on the face is concerned, this is known as melasma or the mask of pregnancy. Nearly 50% of women experience some form of melasma during pregnancy. It usually shows up as symmetrical darkened “splotches” on the cheeks or forehead, though some women will notice their entire complexion looking darker. Like linea nigra, most women see melasma disappear after pregnancy.
When it comes to melasma and linea nigra, it is not recommended that you use any lightening or brightening products during pregnancy aside from vitamin C, which is considered safe for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The #1 thing you can do for your melasma and linea nigra is to protect daily with an SPF, as sun exposure will worsen pigmentation issues.
Darker Moles (and More)
On the same note as melasma and linea nigra, increased pigmentation may also darken areas that are naturally darker anyway. This includes freckles, moles, labia, nipples, and areolas. It is not recommended that you use any products to try to alter these pigmentation changes, and it’s important to know that they may not ever go back to their pre-pregnancy shades.
An important note: while darker moles and freckles are usually normal, it is not normal for a mole or freckle to drastically change shape, become sensitive, or become an odd color like red—even during pregnancy. If you see a concerning mole or freckle, bring it up to your doctor, midwife, or dermatologist and ask for an exam.
Ah, stretch marks—the skin change most commonly associated with pregnancy. Stretch marks effect a whopping 90% of pregnant women, but stretch marks are not confined to pregnancy. Most people have stretch marks, regardless of size, age, or gender. They are a natural sign of growth and change.
If you’re afraid of getting stretch marks during pregnancy, don’t be. While they may look angry and red at first, they will eventually fade to a shimmery silver or white. They are proof of your journey, and if nothing else, they are totally normal.
While mainstream beauty likes to pretend that stretch marks are something to hide, most people have them. It’s the equivalent of everyone trying to hide that they have belly buttons!
All that being said, sometimes stretch marks itch—badly. The areas that are prone to stretch marks (breasts, hips, belly, inner thighs) are likewise the most prone to quick growth during pregnancy, resulting in itching that could drive a person crazy.
That’s when ATOPALM Stretch Mark Cream comes in. It will deeply soothe and moisturize stretch mark-prone areas, and yes, it may even help prevent to reduce the appearance of some stretch marks, but that doesn’t have to be your goal. If you need itch relief in stretch mark-prone areas, Stretch Mark Cream is for you.
Like stretch marks, skin tags are not unique to pregnancy, but do commonly appear during those 40+ weeks. They are small, loose growths that usually appear in areas of friction, such as under breasts or armpits.
Skin tags generally go away on their own and shouldn’t cause any discomfort. However, if they are becoming itchy or sensitive, or if they just won’t disappear, you can contact your dermatologist to discuss removal options.
Pregnancy is a unique, memorable time without skin care issues creating the wrong sorts of memories. If you’re struggling to keep your skin comfortable during pregnancy, don’t hesitate to reach out to your pregnancy care provider, and be sure to discuss skin care changes with them as well.