Pregnancy is a time of changes in the hormonal profile of the body that may contribute to changes in the skin. Since skin is the outermost layer of the body, even a slight change from the normal is evident. Pregnancy is also a time when special care should be taken to keep the skin healthy and glowing.
Many women frequently complain of dry skin due to overstretching but it is often taken as a normal part of pregnancy and no treatment is sought. However, some may also suffer from other skin conditions like herpes, itchy rashes, and mild discoloration.
Common skin conditions during pregnancy:
Melasma or ‘mask of pregnancy‘ – it is a condition caused due to hormonal imbalance in the body during pregnancy. It is characterised by a discolouration of the skin, mostly on the forehead, nose and the upper lip. The skin on these areas becomes darker in colour (looking like a tan) and may be wrinkly and may fall off easily. This condition may affect as many as 70 percent of all pregnant women, especially those with darker complexions.
The condition is normally seen at the end of the second trimester or the beginning of the third. It does not have a specific modality of treatment, but exposure to the sun makes it worse. Thus women suffering from melasma should protect themselves against the sun by using potent sunscreens. In most cases, the marks vanish after the baby is born.
Urticaria of pregnancy – medically called puerperal urticaria of pregnancy (PUP), it is a condition of itchy rashes or hives that erupt usually in the third trimester of pregnancy. These rashes can be mildly or severely itchy, but usually disappear after delivery. Though they do not harm the mother or the baby, they are very irritating for the patient.
Hives during pregnancy is usually soothed with ointments that provide relief. Calamine lotion is usually able to provide much relief. Though drugs are usually not prescribed during pregnancy, anti-histamines may have to be given for itching in some cases.
Herpes gestationis – herpes infection during pregnancy is called herpes gestationis. It is characterised by the eruption of intensely itchy lesions on the skin that may be pus filled. This condition can occur anytime during the pregnancy but is most common during the second trimester. The rashes mostly begin on the abdomen and, then, spread to other parts of the body.
Acne and psoriasis – acne, in people who are prone to it, usually worsens during pregnancy. Psoriasis, on the other hand, tends to improve during pregnancy, but may flare up after delivery. Acne during pregnancy is usually ignored. Some drugs may be given to treat psoriasis, but they have to be taken only under the physician’s supervision.
Varicose veins – they are one of the most common complaints of pregnancy. Due to excess weight, most women develop varicose veins in their legs. Some may even have ‘spider veins’ on their face and chest. They usually vanish after delivery.
Tips for skin care:
Apart from the medical conditions of the skin that may affect a pregnant woman, that have to be medically treated, some basic skin care methods can be adopted that will help to maintain healthy skin tone.
Sleep well – a proper sleep pattern during pregnancy is one of the best ways to maintain good and healthy skin. A well rested person appears healthier and this is especially so when a woman is pregnant since she gets tired easily.
Always use a sunscreen.
Clean face thoroughly – the face should be cleaned thoroughly since the skin of the face is usually oilier than the rest of the body. The pores of the face thus get clogged easily with dirt and cause pimples or acne. Cleaning the face regularly with a mild soap or face wash helps to prevent these conditions.
Moisturise often – since the skin is drier than usual during pregnancy, it helps to keep moisturising it often.
Women with oily skin could use a water-based moisturiser while those with dry skin can use an oil-based one. It is always necessary to follow a cleaning and moisturising routine for healthy skin.
Get a facial massage – facial and body massage with mild and fragrant oils may help to relax apart from increasing blood circulation to the area.
Drink plenty of water – the water balance in the body should be maintained. This also affects the tone of the skin. Water cleanses the skin and removes the toxins from the body.
Smile and remain happy – the age old belief that smiling exercises more muscles of the face than a frown may also help. Happiness increases the blood flow inside the body and, thus, reflects in the form of a healthy and glowing skin.
Source : doctor.ndtv.com