Your Skin is Pregnant Too, Part 1

I have had several requests for some “pregnant skin” info. This is a big topic, so I thought I’d break it down into sections. Let’s first focus on pregnancy from the neck up. We will get to the rest, I promise. Since I just went through this process, I am technically reporting from the front lines.

So the first thing you hear about is that “glow” you are supposed to have when you are pregnant. Um, sure. Pregnant women do have a significant increase of blood flow, and that might make some ladies appear a little more rosy or bright. I think the “glow” is a bit subjective. I was more concerned with the pregnancy “shine” I battled. Increased activity in our oil glands makes our skin more ‘greasy’ than normal. If you are oily at baseline, this can be a real issue. You have to get into a daily cleansing routine. Consider including a skin brush like a Clarisonic.  Cetaphil just came out with Dermacontrol Oil Control Facial Wash which is a great option. Your skin might be able to tolerate a gentle astringent, too.

This change in your skin’s oil balance can lead to clogged pores and our next problem; acne. The worst part of this is the lack of safe medications during pregnancy. Get on a consistent cleansing routine right away, like above.  If break outs get unruly, see a Dermatologist. There are just a few options, like azeleic acid cream, which can be prescribed. I often offer my pregnant patients blue light therapy. Red and blue light systems have been found to help reduce the bacteria associated with acne and I’ve had great success with it. Check with your doctor, because not every office has it.

OK moving on, another thing you hear about is the “mask” of pregnancy. Melasma is hyperpigmentation of your skin from a combination of hormonal factors and sun exposure. It is not exclusively found in pregnant women, but about 50% of pregnant women will get it. The prevention of this is one thing; SUN PROTECTION. Sunblock, hats, and shade for your entire pregnancy. No way around this. There are lots of ways to combat the dark spots once pregnancy is over (topical prescriptions, laser treatments), but prevention is key, so focus on it when you have the chance.

Doesn’t it all sound glamorous?  It is, actually. Pregnancy does make you beautiful, because you are happy, excited and (hopefully) healthy. People love pregnant women, so bask in the kindness of strangers and the weird stories and advice that will come, unprovoked, from said strangers. Your belly makes everyone happy! Speaking of your belly, we will talk about the skin changes in that area next week…

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