A lot of women face several skin problems during pregnancy including acne, skin rashes, pigmentation etc. Your hormones are at a whole new level and while some of them are busy working to give you that much-awaited pregnancy glow, some might be working towards assuaging it. Don’t worry these are just normal symptoms. After all giving a birth to a new life is a challenge in itself.
In PART 1 of the skin problems you face during pregnancy, we are going to discuss about acne, skin tags, and itching.
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Acne is faced by one out of two pregnant women. It is one of the most common problems dealt by women who are pregnant. Symptoms of acne generally appear in the first trimester of pregnancy since this is the time when your body is preparing itself to grow another human being inside of it.
During the first trimester your fetus will not grow much because your body is going through some major physical changes to make room for the baby. Hormones like progesterone, estrogen, androgen, HCG etc. are released which are responsible for functions such as shutting off the supply of maturing egg each month, keeping the uterus relaxed, developing a support system to nourish the baby etc. A huge surge in hormones causes uneasiness, tiredness, morning sickness, skin problems etc.
One of these hormones called androgen is responsible for increasing the activity of skin’s oil gland called sebaceous glands. Your body is not able to cope up with the sudden increase in the secretion of oil. This clogs pores which result in pimples and zits formation.
If you don’t get pimples during your first trimester there are fewer chances of you getting them in the next trimesters.
Some women do get pimples even during postpartum due to hormones returning back to their normal level.
If you have a history of acne conditions it might affect you more than others, so prepare yourself for it beforehand.
- DO NOT use medicated creams like those containing salicylic acid as they get absorbed into your skin and may harm your baby. Ask your doctor before applying any medicated gel.
Follow CTM routine twice daily even if you are not going out. You might have to change your daily products to those meant for acne-prone skin.
Cleansers: Try Forrest Essentials cleanser since they are natural and are not chemically laden. ( Buy here ), You can also use cleansing oils such as Chamomile cleansing oil by the Body shop.
Toners: You can use natural rose water for toning your skin. Fabindia toners are also safe and cheap like this one here just for Rs.180/-.
Moisturizers: Use facial oils like Body shop facial oil or Josie Maran Argan oil withSPF. Body shop-Oils of life has an amazing blend of oils with some high absorbing properties (Rosehip Oil and Camellia Seed oil are known for their amazing properties to seep inside the skin layers). They will also help in balancing the production of sebum no matter what skin type you have.
Serums: Don’t use serums which contain anti-aging substances such as hydroquinone or retinol. You can use Vitamin-C or Vitamin-E serums. They also boost the production of collagen. The vitamin-c serum can also be applied on your belly to increase elasticity and minimize itching and dryness.
Face Masks: Try this Dead Sea Mud face mask from Pure body Naturals. It’s slightly expensive but highly effective as you can see from the reviews here. It will clean up your acne and unclog pores. Even Kiehl’s facial masks suit well to all skin types and balance sebum production. There are few DIY’s which can also work for you like Fuller’s Earth+Sandalwood Powder+Tomato Juice+Rose Water or Gram flour+Milk+A pinch of turmeric.
- Splash your face with cold water or wrap ice in a cloth and apply it to your face.
- Scrub your face with powdered almonds, milk, and gram flour. Wash with warm water after 10-15 minutes,
- Apply lemon and honey. Wait for 10 minutes and wash off. Honey clears your face from inside and lemon’s acidic properties tighten the pores and remove pimple marks too.
- A good facial massage increases blood circulation and hence prevent accumulation of oils at a particular point on your face. You can use facial oils such as tea tree oil or lavender oil mixed with carrier oils such as jojoba oil or argan oil. Try this full-face facial massage here. A good facial massage 3-4 times a week also helps in retaining the pregnancy glow after delivery. AVOID these chemicals in all cosmetic products you use: Retinoids, Formaldehyde, Hydroquinone, Toluene, Parabens, Phthalates, DEA and DHA’s.
Skin tags are caused by friction. They occur because of the weight gain during pregnancy. Most common places are armpits, neck, under the breasts and groins. Unlike all other skin conditions which might fade away after pregnancy, this one has to be removed medically. If you are already prone to skin tags then there is a higher chance of you getting them.
They might also occur on your belly as flesh-like projections. Right now it might not be noticeable but after delivery, their prominence increases.
They appear during the second half of pregnancy when your body weight is increasing massively. A few good things about them is they are painless, harmless and do not occur on the face.
Unlike all other problems, there are no DIY or homemade ingredients which would work for this. Don’t even try anything during pregnancy. After delivery, ask your doctor to suggest an appropriate method to remove them either by snipping it off, freezing it with liquid nitrogen or burning it off with an electric needle.
Itchy skin is the most irritating problem faced by pregnant women especially after half-way through pregnancy. It occurs when your skin starts to stretch especially around stomach, hips, thighs, palms and feet etc. Inside of your knees and elbows are also affected to some extent.
As baby grows your skin expands. As skin stretches small cracks are formed which can cause dryness. However if these cracks are nourished with high-absorbent oils or eating healthy fats, itching can be prevented.
Severe itching can be a cause of obstetric cholestasis (OC) which is very common in India. Itching during cholestasis goes deep within the skin and even scratching is not able to relieve it. Other common symptoms which you experience during cholestasis is excessive fatigue, loss of appetite, dark urine color and depression. OC happens in the third trimester of pregnancy. When you have OC, bile (liquid produced by the liver for the breakdown of fats in digestion) production stops. Cholestasis is also one of the leading causes of stillbirth. So check with your doctor if itching worsens.
- DO NOT scratch with your nails since this will cause stretch marks.
- Include healthy fats in your diet. Cook food with olive oil or coconut oil. Have a bowlful of nuts as soon as you find out you are pregnant. Have a spoonful of the mixture of seeds such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds etc. More nourished is your skin from inside, less the dryness and cracking from outside.
- Take more protein (75-100 gms) daily. It will boost collagen and elasticity.
- Drink enough water.
- Drink liver cleansing juice such as beet and carrot juice, apple juice etc.
- To prevent drying out of the skin and hence stretch marks you need the product you are using externally to dive into the skin cells. Now there are very fewer products which do that. Eg: Vaseline or petroleum jelly based products don’t get absorbed at all. On the other hand, drugstore lotions are not chemical free so even if they do get absorbed they might harm the baby. So use Vitamin serums such as Vitamin C serum and oils such as rosehip oil, camellia seed oil or Apricot kernel oil. Other common oils such as coconut oil or olive oil have low absorbency rates even though you can use them as a substitute. Read this blog here to remove stretch marks once and for all.
- Avoid hot baths or hot showers. Some mothers are worried about water harming their baby but as long as your water doesn’t break, amniotic sac wouldn’t let anything touch your baby(not even penis so even sex is safe).
- You can mix oatmeal and milk cream in the tub if you want to relax in the bath for a while. They will moisturize your skin and help with dryness.
- You can also add your favorite essential oils to the bath. Just be careful since oils might make the tub slippery.
- You can add Epsom salts to the bath. Epsom salts are actually beneficial in reducing swelling and aching of feet and hands.
- Adding any moisturizing oils to the bath is no reason not to moisturize after the bath. Do use a nourishing lotion after the bath.
We hope this post helped you with some valuable information, which you could try safely. If you have any hacks/tricks of your own that can combat the above-mentioned skin conditions, then DON’T FORGET to mention them in the Comments Section below.
STAY TUNED FOR PART 2 – PIGMENTATION & HAIRFALL.