Know more about dry skin during pregnancy and other common skin issues that may arise due to pregnancy! Keep reading the article to know more.
Pregnancy is a period of change for the body as it accommodates and nourishes a developing fetus. It lasts for an average of 40 weeks, and this duration is divided into three distinct trimesters.
Right from the start, there are complex vascular, endocrinological, immunological, and metabolic changes that affect nearly every aspect of the pregnant body. The skin isn’t immune to these changes and manifests the consequences of this underlying transformation.
The skin changes in Pregnancy are a response to gestational hormone fluctuations. Estrogen and Progesterone are the chief pregnancy hormones. There are many issues that may arise due to such hormonal changes and your skin undergoes changes as well. Learn more about your skin during pregnancy and some pregnancy skincare regime to take proper care of your skin during that phase of your life.
Dry Skin During Pregnancy
Dry skin appears during the first trimester and may persist until the third trimester. It mainly affects the face, neck, hands, and stomach. The outermost layer of skin- the epidermis houses the stratum corneum. It is covered by a film of wax, fat, and water called the hydrolipidic barrier that stops moisture from evaporating from the skin surface.
Fluctuating hormones cause the hydrolipidic barrier to thin and break down, creating ‘holes,’ through which moisture escapes. This is known as Trans-Epidermal Water Loss.
Furthermore, pregnancy hormones are taxing on skin elasticity and oil glands; there is an increased fluid demand to cope with Pregnancy, and unless met, dehydration and dry skin follow. Dietary changes, pregnancy-related stress, and rise in body temperature also take a toll on the tone and elasticity of the skin.
Other Common Skin Issues During Pregnancy
Melasma and Chloasma are the appearances of dark splotchy patches on the forehead and cheeks. This is popularly known as “Mask of pregnancy”; corresponding to an abundance of Melanocyte- stimulating hormone (MSH).
Existing acne may worsen during Pregnancy as surging hormones provoke the overproduction of oily sebum that clogs pores and causes breakouts.
3. Stretch Marks
Indented streaks of variable coloration appear on the abdomen, breasts, hips, thighs, and buttocks as the tissues stretch to accommodate the developing fetus.
4. Varicose Veins
Enlarged bluish veins appear on the legs as the body copes with the extra blood flow due to pregnancy.
You can expect these physiological changes in your body as it undergoes Pregnancy. These conditions are benign and self-resolving at the end of Pregnancy. However, keep an eye out for skin changes that require medical attention:
- Pregnancy can trigger an eczema outbreak in those with a history of the condition. There is acute and widespread dry skin that is itchy, and on scratching, the skin may flake and tear.
- Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP): Characterised by dry skin along with dark urine, light-colored stools, fatigue, loss of appetite, and depression, it is a liver disorder where the normal flow of bile is affected. Acid builds up and can spill into blood. It is a dangerous condition that can lead to stillbirth or also premature delivery.
- Report any new skin lesions, unexplained rashes, or severe skin dryness and itching to your physician.
Pregnancy Skincare Dos and Don’ts
- Massage with aloe vera gel, coconut, or almond oil, to nourish your skin and fight dryness and itching. Use Yoghurt as a mask to detoxify and also hydrate the skin.
- Exfoliate skin once a week to remove dead skin cells that clog pores and promote new healthy skin.
- Drink plenty of water to flush out toxins and to hydrate yourself.
- Use towels, pillowcases, and clothes made from soft, breathable natural fabrics. Avoid any fabric that’s rough and can possibly cause rashes.
- Use lukewarm water to bathe and wash the face instead of excess cold water.
- Regularly apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF15 when you go outside as Pregnancy elevates pigment-producing cells.
- Use a natural face mask with turmeric powder and milk, or apply lemon juice and cucumber water on the dark spots.
- Use natural skin care products and avoid these ingredients: diethyl phthalate [DEP], formaldehyde-releasing chemicals, hydroquinone, high-dose salicylic acid and retinoids, and oxybenzone.
Dry skin during pregnancy is a common skin issue among many others, but taking proper care of your skin can help regulate such issues.