Common Skin Problems During Pregnancy
Becoming a mother is an overwhelming experience in a woman's life. A woman's body goes through a number of hormonal changes especially during pregnancy. While for most women, the skin begins to glow during the second trimester, some can have skin concerns that require skin specialist consultation. Increase in acne, flaring of pigmentation are some of the skin concerns faced by women during pregnancy.
Many times acne tends to flare during pregnancy. Hormonal changes, increased sensitivity and changes in oil secretion can cause acne to flare up. It is best advised to take expert opinion to treat acne and keep skin healthy. Common medications used for acne such as retinoid, salicylic acid etc is best to be avoided during pregnancy as they may cause birth defects in the baby.
Increased estrogen levels in the body make skin more sensitive to sun rays. The skin also gets sensitised to the light emitted by the cell phone screen and laptop. Pigmented spots can appear on face, forehead, lips, and cheek bones, skin folds, neck, armpits and groin. Pigmentation appearing over the cheeks, forehead and upper lips is also called as chloasma or “mask of pregnancy”. Pigmented line running down the abdomen called as linea nigra is a normal change and reverts back to normal post pregnancy.
Use of broad spectrum sunscreen is of utmost importance to protect the skin. Sunscreen containing minerals such as zinc and titanium oxide are preferred over the chemical sunscreens during pregnancy.
One of the most common skin issues faced during pregnancy is stretch marks. The skin of the abdomen stretches to make room for the growing baby. This causes the supporting fibres of the skin such as collagen to break leading to stretch marks. Most important measure to prevent it, is good skin moisturization. Superadded dryness and itching also worsens the condition. Shea butter, rosehip oil, argan oil, vitamin E oil help to hydrate the skin and reduce the formation of stretch marks.
Post delivery stretch marks can be treated with skin tightening modalities and lasers. The earlier the treatment is started, better are the results.
Dryness and itching
Hormonal changes tend to make the skin dry and flaky. This condition can exaggerate by underlying medical conditions such as thyroid and gestational diabetes. General steps that help the skin to retain moisture should be followed such as use of mild soaps and cleansers, vigorous moisturization, avoiding hot water for bathing etc. Thick, bland, fragrance free moisturizers are best suited in pregnancy.
Itching can occur either part of dryness or related to some dermatological manifestation. If the itching is too severe/not relieved with skin hydration/ associated with skin eruptions a dermatological consultation must be sort to identify the pathology.
As this phase of a womens life is special in many ways, every symptom has to be handled with utmost care. Rather than following “friends advise” or seeking over the counter remedies, one must take opinion from a skin expert.
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