Managing skin changes during Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a state when a woman’s body goes through tremendous changes. Hormonal ups and downs, changes in blood dynamics, mood swings, craving and what not!

Majority of women are aware of the “pregnancy Glow” however, some women also have a few distressing skin issues due to pregnancy. Changes in the levels of hormones in your body, and changes to your circulation and immune system, can all have an effect on your skin. The good news is that most of the changes that take place during pregnancy, clear up on their own after your baby is born.

It is very important to know about the changes that can occur in your skin during pregnancy so that it does not become a cause of distress! This article will take you through a few common skin issues and what you can do for relief.

Dryness / irritable skin: Higher hormone levels, an increased blood supply to the skin, and the fact that your skin has become more stretched and delicate, can cause it to feel sensitive. Giving up scented products and harsh scrubs and products like bleaches is very important. Make sure you’re drinking lots of water—you need more now that you’re expecting—if weather is too dry, try running a humidifier in your bedroom at night to help your body keep in as much moisture as possible.

Sensitivity to sun: Increased sensitivity to sun during pregnancy may make your skin irritable and more susceptible to tan or pigmentation. It is ideal to stay away from direct sunlight at peak hours. If unavoidable, use natural protection like using umbrellas and long sleeves clothes.

Breakouts/Acne: Your hormones are all out of whack by now, and that might mean pimples like you got back in high school. The most important thing to keep in mind is that majority of Acne medicines are contraindicated in pregnancy. It is a must to talk to your doctor before using any Anti-Acne products!  Cleanse no more than twice a day with a mild soap and lukewarm water or a gentle cleanser. If your skin is dry, use a fragrance-free, water-based emollient and an oil-free moisturizer.

Pigmentation on face: Dark Pigmentation on face (Melasma/chloasma)- About two out of three mothers-to-be are thought to experience this in pregnancy. It is triggered by sun exposure. the good news is that it should fade within about three months of your baby’s birth. In the meantime, tinted moisturiser, foundation and concealer can all help to cover any unevenness in skin colour.

Stretch marks: Stretch marks appear around your breasts, tummy or thighs, as your baby grows bigger and you put on weight. Pregnancy causes your skin to stretch more, and faster, than usual. Higher levels of hormones also disrupt your skin’s protein balance, making it thinner. There is nothing much that can be done once they appear ,however, can try to minimise them by avoiding putting on too much weight too quickly,  by gently exfoliating and thoroughly moisturizing your belly, breasts, stomach, hips and thighs as much as you can. Cocoa  and shea butter/cream , natural oils like coconut oil can be considered.

Itching: Although it can sometimes be a sign of a specific condition, general itchiness is most likely to be harmless. It could be due to the increased blood supply to your skin, or your skin stretching as your baby (and therefore your bump!) grows. There’s a relatively uncommon condition called obstetric cholestasis (OC) which causes severe itching all over your body. The itching may be particularly intense on the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet. See your doctor if you experience these symptoms.

8 tips to deal with skin issues-

  1. Stay hydrated.
  2. Stick to a healthy diet.
  3. Avoid using harsh /scented skin products
  4. Never use any OTC / previously prescribed creams/tablets for Acne.
  5. Avoid getting your body very hot. Take luke warm – tepid water short showers.
  6. Scrub your skin very gently.
  7. If you visit a dermatologist for skin issues, always tell them that you are expecting.
  8. Always carry sun protection agents like umbrellas, wide hats, long sleeved shirts with you as they are the best and safest protection against sun.

Some issues like stretch marks or rashes and skin dryness may cause you to feel low. But in the end it is all worth it.


– Dr. Afroze Fathima