Pregnancy is a time when your body is going to undergo some major changes, and rather suddenly as well. One of the major changes you can expect is in the way your skin looks, and for some, feels as well.
Some of the more common changes which you may experience include:
- Stretch Marks
Around half of all pregnant women expereince stretch marks. Also known as striae gravidarum, stretch marks are scars that appear when the elastic fibers in the skin are damaged. Your susceptibility to stretch marks is largely controlled by genetics, so if your mother or sister have them, there’s a good chance you will develop them too.
Stretch marks usually begin as pink, purple or reddish-brown streaks, depending on your skin tone. In most cases, your stretch marks fade away gradually after you baby’s birth and become a less noticeable silvery color.
Women who gain a lot of weight during pregnancy or are carrying multiples are more likely to get stretch marks but even if you’re having a small baby, you could still get them if they run in your family.
Laser therapy also shows potential as a way to improve the appearance of stretch marks. Laser treatments may reduce the color of dark stretch marks and stimulate the production of collagen to help restore the skin’s elasticity.
If you prefer to use over the counter treatments instead, some women do notice a difference with 20% glycolic acid, topical vitamin C or products formulated to help smooth out and reduce scar tissue.
- Melasma a.k.a. Mask of Pregnancy
You may notice blotchy or brownish patches on your cheeks, upper lip and nose during your pregnancy. You need not worry, as this simply means that you may be suffering from melasma, which is also known as chloasma or the “mask of pregnancy”. Melasma is usually associated with estrogen and progesterone and they may get worse with exposure to the sun.
Chemical peels, microdermabrasion and laser surgery all may help with melasma, however the end results aren’t always consistent.
Even if your complexion has always been clear, pregnancy may cause you to break out for the first time, usually as a result of the extra hormones which are surging through your body play havoc on your skin, resulting in pimples and extra oil.
To be on the safe side, always consult with your healthcare provider before using any over-the-counter acne products. Try and avoid products which contain salicylic acid.