Everything changes when you’re pregnant. Your feet swell, your appetite increases, you’re easily fatigued- the list goes on. One thing pregnant women have long enjoyed, however, is the “pregnancy glow” on their skin; unfortunately, pregnant women are also prone to experiencing several other changes in their skin, and not all skincare products are safe for pregnant women to use. Here’s a brief overview of what changes you might see in your skin while pregnant, and what skincare products you can safely use.
Melasma, the darkening of the skin of a pregnant women’s face, is caused by hormonal changes and an overproduction of melanin. Also known as “the mask of pregnancy,” melasma can be camouflaged with makeup and concealers, and wearing sunscreen can prevent further darkening of the skin. Prescription products with azelaic acid and topical vitamin C have also been proven to naturally suppress skin pigmentation.
90% of women experience stretch marks during pregnancy, typically in the sixth or seventh month. These minor tears just beneath the skin are red or purple in color and may never disappear entirely. Moisturizer can improve their appearance and reduce itchiness; however, research is inconclusive on the best way to manage stretch marks during pregnancy. For other itchy skin issues, pregnant women can turn to over-the-counter mentholated or oatmeal-based moisturizers without artificial scents.
Pregnant women are also prone to experience adult acne, caused by the increased oil production in the skin. In this case, women must be especially careful to avoid using over-the-counter acne products that contain benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or retinoids, which can cause birth defects.
In the third trimester, increased blood circulation can cause puffiness in the face and eyelids; luckily, this can be easily remedied with ice and cold packs combined with increased vitamin and mineral consumption. Finally, some women may also develop harmless rashes, which can be treated with fragrance-free topical moisturizers and prescription corticosteroids.