Being pregnant is a dream come true for most women. The thought of carrying a baby inside you and actually feeling every movement it makes is one of the most rewarding feelings. While the joy of having your own baby is beyond words, being pregnant also means undergoing different changes in the body.
Aside from the usual weight gain, morning sickness, sudden changes in the mood, backaches, and feeling of tiredness, every woman will experience a lot of skin problems associated with pregnancy. In fact, below are the five common skin problems every pregnant woman is most like to have during their 9-month journey.
The darkening of the skin, also known as pregnancy mask or melasma gravidarum, is very common during pregnancy. Because of hormonal changes that stimulate a temporary increase in the body’s melanin production, blotches in the skin may occur. These splotches may appear on the upper lip, nose, cheekbones, jawline, and any other areas that are exposed to the sun. Aside from these areas, darkening of the skin can also occur in underarms, inner thighs, nipples, and even in the skin of your genitals.
Hyper-pigmentation will gradually decrease and disappear as soon as you give birth. However, skin darkening may be minimized by protecting yourself from the sun and applying sunscreen, use cleansers or facial creams that are gentle on your skin, or by covering it using a concealer.
Although it may not be alarming, there are certain discolorations that may indicate more serious problems. If pigmentation is accompanied by pain, redness, or bleeding or there is a change in color and size, it is important to consult your doctor immediately.
2. Stretch Marks
Another common skin problem faced by pregnant women is stretch marks. In fact, at least 75% of soon-to-be mothers will develop this because of the gradual stretching in the stomach area. Over the course of 9 months, your skin will stretch, causing it to develop thin, scar-like lines. This is due to the excessive production of corticosteroid hormone which decreased the amount of collagen in the skin. Also, genetics, rapid weight gain, carrying multiple babies, carrying a big baby, or excess in amniotic fluid can also contribute to the development of stretch marks.
There are several ways to prevent stretch marks. Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet by eating vitamin-enriched foods and drinking lots of water can help. Further, there are various creams and moisturizers that moms recommend and are known to be effective in reducing stretch marks.
Unfortunately, stretch marks are permanent. But the good news is that it can be less noticeable and becomes lighter 12 months after giving birth. However, the texture remains the same.
During pregnancy, hormones called androgens prompt the skin’s sebaceous glands to get bigger and increase its sebum production. The combination of sebum and hair follicles blocks the pores, creating an environment that is conducive for bacteria to multiply. As a result, one out of two pregnant women will develop acne, which can go from mild, moderate, and severe. The good news is that pregnancy acne usually occurs during the first trimester. If you did not develop acne during this period, then there is a lower risk of break out on the succeeding months. However, having a history of acne will still increase your chances of developing this condition.
Although there is no proven formula to prevent acne during pregnancy, washing your face using your fingertips with gentle and alcohol-free soap or cleanser twice a day with lukewarm water and using an oil-free moisturizer can do the trick.
Further, avoid over-cleansing or wearing oil-based make-up since it will only aggravate the condition. If acne becomes unavoidable, avoid popping or squeezing the pimple since it will only worsen the problem and may even lead to scars.
4. Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy (PUPPP)
In simple terms, PUPPP is an itchy, bumpy rash that is usually developed on the abdomen area, near the umbilical cord. It can also spread in the thighs and other lower extremities of the body but not in the face. One out of every 150 women develops this kind of rash, most common among first-time mothers and women carrying multiples. It usually occurs during the third trimester and can even last up to 2 weeks after delivery. Although PUPPP can be severe, no threats will be posed both for you and your baby.
There is no exact cause for the development of this kind of rash. However, theories suggest that PUPPP is hereditarily brought about by male fetal DNA while others say that the abdominal wall distension damages the connective tissue which causes an inflammatory response.
Unfortunately, there is no way you can prevent this type of rash. Still, PUPPP can be treated through steroid creams and ointments to relieve the itching and prevent the spreading of the rash. There are also various home remedies such as cold compress or applying aloe vera gel after the bath which you can do to alleviate the itching.
Also referred to as dermatitis, eczema is a non-contagious skin condition, causing the skin to itch and become dry. In worst cases, eczema may even bleed. It may be due to genes or exposure to environmental allergens, which is known as atopic eczema. It may also be due to various irritants such as chemicals, detergents, soap, perfume, yeast or surprisingly, your wedding ring.
When you experience eczema, topical steroids or antihistamines may help. However, it is important to consult your physician before taking anything. Nonetheless, prevention is better than cure so as much as possible, avoid products that contain alcohol and limit your contact with possible irritants.
Further, keep yourself cool and comfortable at all times since sudden changes in temperature may trigger eczema. Also, keep your skin moisturized in order to prevent dryness and cracking.
Although pregnant women experience various skin conditions, the good news is that it will gradually subside as soon as you give birth. Nonetheless, it is important to take care of your skin by maintaining a healthy diet and keeping it clean and moisturized at all times.