How Your Skin Changes During Pregnancy

“You are glowing! Your skin looks fabulous!” Many pregnant women hear this throughout their pregnancy, and it actually is true and one of the benefits of being pregnant. Your skin glows because it retains more moisture during pregnancy. Your skin actually plumps up and smooths out any fine lines or wrinkles. Also, since there is more blood in your body you may have a pinkish glow.

But even though it’s nice to glow, there are some downsides to pregnancy skin changes.

Pregnancy Acne

Once you are pregnant and your hormones start changing, acne can reappear like when you were a teen. It is often seen around the mouth and chin areas.  But it isn’t as easy to get rid of as when you were younger. Some doctors recommend pregnant women to not use products with salicylic acid or retinoids.

Salicylic Acid Side Effects

Salicylic acids are used to treat acne, but high quantities in its oral form can possibly cause birth defects and pregnancy complications. Yet, in its topical form, if you use a product once or twice a day that contains no more than 2% salicylic acid, you should be ok. Definitely avoid intense face and body peels that use salicylic acid.

Retinoids are commonly found in anti-aging moisturizers and help reduce wrinkles and improve skin tone. But the high amount of vitamin A in retinoids can be harmful to your unborn child. But if you are using the topical form, it hasn’t been shown to cause pregnant women any issues. Doctors do recommend using it with caution.

But there is hope if you want to avoid the products above and still remove your acne. Try sulphur-based topical products, glycolic acid or alpha hydroxyl acids. There are also topical prescription drugs that are safe to use during pregnancy such as erythromycin cream and azelaic acid.

[box type=”important”]Always talk to your doctor and check MotherRisk before using any medication during pregnancy.[/box]


Stretch Marks

When you become pregnant, you begin to hear horror stories about stretch marks from other moms and how their skin is changed forever. But only half of pregnant women get them, so you may not.

Stretch marks are small, depressed streaks in the skin that are found in areas like the abdomen. They appear later on in the third trimester as the belly grows faster because the baby is rapidly changing.

Stretch marks are the result of changes in the elastic supportive tissues that lie just beneath your skin. They will turn pink, reddish-brown, purple or dark brown and later fade but never completely go away.

The tricky part of stretch marks is there isn’t much to do to prevent them, and many doctors now say they are hereditary. But gaining no more than your recommended weight gain and gaining it gradually may help.

Stretch marks do fade six to 12 months after you give birth. You can talk to a dermatologist to get treatments that will help lessen their appearance even more. Options are topical medications like tretinoin and glycolic acid. Laser treatments may also help, and there are many different types now available.

Author Bio:

Sherri writes for Dr. Darling, a Kansas City dermatologist at the Skin, Vein and Skin Surgery Center. Dr. Darling has helped many women embrace their skin as it changes during their pregnancy.


Sherri writes for a number of dermatological and dental clients. In her free time he enjoys bicycling, reading and swimming in the springs near her house.

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