Pregnancy is beautiful, and the resulting baby brings so much love and joy to a family. However, pregnancy does a number on your skin. Unfortunately, some of these effects linger until well after the birth of your baby. Some of the changes to your skin may be temporary, while others will be permanent without intervention. Here are three of the most common skin changes in pregnancy and tips on what to do about them.
Acne and pregnancy
Acne is particularly problematic during the first trimester of pregnancy as the body’s hormones rev up and the body goes through a number of changes very quickly to create a hospitable environment for the baby to grow and develop. Unfortunately, this is a particularly vulnerable time for acne development and many products that are safe at any other time may not be okay to use during pregnancy. Chemicals in many skincare and makeup products may be absorbed by the skin, enter the bloodstream, and make their way to the fetus. Some of these may be harmful to your baby’s development.
Acne during pregnancy should be treated using gentle cleansers, preferably those that contain botanical and all-natural formulations. In addition, your skin may be more sensitive than usual and should be approached with care. Ideally, you should have your skin examined by a trained aesthetician who can help you to determine a pregnancy and post-pregnancy cleansing routine that is not only effective for your particular type of acne, but also safe for your baby.
Pigmentation changes and pregnancy
Melasma, or darkening of the skin in localized patches, is another common pregnancy change. Unfortunately, it often occurs in highly visible areas like the cheeks, forehead, upper lip, and across the nose. During pregnancy, the body may produce an excess of melanocyte-stimulating hormones which are responsible for these dark patches. An estimated 50 percent of all women will experience this malady, and although it is fairly common, it can be embarrassing for some.
Although melasma may be treated after it occurs, the best way to deal with it is by taking preventative steps. Although you may not be able to stop it from occurring entirely, you may be able to help prevent it from worsening by protecting your skin with a broad spectrum UVA / UVB-blocking sunscreen. Use a sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30, and be sure to apply it liberally to the entire face several times during the day.
For many women, melasma will fade after pregnancy, but for those patches that seem to linger, photorejuvenation may help, as well as gentle exfoliation as part of your regular skincare routine. Photorejuvenation uses broad-band light energy to treat skin conditions, including melasma, without damaging the surrounding or underlying skin tissue. Profractional treatment may also be indicated for such pigmentation changes. Just be sure to wait until after pregnancy to undergo such treatments.
Stretch marks and pregnancy
Of course, we can’t talk about pregnancy skin changes without addressing stretch marks. Lucky and rare is the woman who has gone through pregnancy without stretch marks. Stretch marks occur as the baby grows, causing the abdomen (and sometimes the breasts and other parts of the body) to also become larger, stretching the skin beyond its natural level of elasticity. As a result, damage can be caused to the connective tissues that holds the skin intact. Stretch marks may range from mild to severe and be white, pink, or purple in color depending on the amount of damage and stretching experienced. Unfortunately, white stretch marks are typically permanent, although they may fade over time. Pink, purple, or reddish stretch marks, however, may respond to some forms of treatment.
During pregnancy, use moisturizers that are rich in vitamin E. Other treatments for stretch marks should wait until after pregnancy, and ideally after the body has recovered from pregnancy and you are no longer breastfeeding. The best treatment for stretch marks will depend on the depth of the stretch marks and the associated skin changes. Your aesthetician will be able to evaluate your skin and make recommendations specifically for your needs. Some women find relief from stretch marks with topical creams, moisturizers, or ointments, while others require more intensive treatments such as chemical peels or laser skin treatments.Regardless of your pregnancy skin changes, be sure to see your Monarch Skin Rejuvenation Center aesthetician for guidance in choosing the best pregnancy skin care regimen for your skin type. Your aesthetician may also help you bridge your skin care needs during pregnancy to a post-pregnancy routine as well. To schedule a consultation, please call Monarch Skin Rejuvenation Center today at (913) 317-9386 or fill out our easy-to-use online consultation request form. We look forward to seeing you soon.