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Pregnancy Skincare: Address the Changes You Can Expect During Pregnancy In a Healthy Way

Pregnancy creates changes in a woman's skin, including stretch marks, mask of pregnancy and other responses to changes in her chemistry and shape.

we've explained skincare issues in pregnancy and when they indicate a health issue

Stretch Marks

Almost every woman will experience stretch marks during pregnancy. They'll appear as reddish, pinkish streaks in the skin of the abdomen and breasts. Some women experience more distinct stretch marks than others. The variation is normal, depending on each person's skin elasticity.

Some women believe that exercise and topical lotions and creams containing Vitamin E will help ease stretch marks. In fact, stretch marks will fade to light silvery streaks after delivery, when the body returns to its more usual shape, though they will never completely go away.

Mask of Pregnancy

Increased hormonal activity during pregnancy can cause excess pigmentation, which may be indicated on the face by dark spotches on the forehead and cheeks. Mask of Pregnancy is also known as melasma and chlosma. Nearly 50% of pregnant women show some signs of the "mask of pregnancy". You can help this by wearing a sunscreen with a SPF of 15. Other treatments available include the amnesty peel kit by Skin Amnesty, a gentle AHA/BHA formulation that helps fade pigmentation.

hormones in overdrive, body changing shape and chemistry in flux - pregnant skin needs care...

Varicose Veins

Uncomfortable, sometimes painful, varicose veins are apparent on the legs because the body is compensating for the increased blood flow to your womb. Some of the things you can do to help varicose veins include increasing your Vitamin C intake - it helps keep veins elastic and healthy. Wear support stockings. Elevate your legs when resting, even if just raising feet on a stool. And eat healthfully to avoid excessive weight gain.

Pregnancy Breakouts and Acne

It's those hormones again, causing excess oil production and resulting acne breakouts. For women who already experience acne, pregnancy can intensify breakouts.

Practice classic skincare. Cleanse skin morning and night with a gentle, fragrance-free over the counter facial soap. Use an astringent to dry up excess oil, but avoid acne-medicated astringents, whose active ingredients may not be recommended for use by pregnant women. Exfoliate the face with a clean cloth to remove topical buildup that may block pores. Follow with an oil-free, lanolin-free moisturizer.

If acne continues to be a problem, consult your health care provider.

Linea Nigra

The vertical "motherline" that runs from navel to pubic bone may darken and become very visible in the fourth or fifth month of pregnancy. The suspected cause of the darkened line, or linea nigra, is increased pigment production due to hormones. The line usually fades to its normal, lighter color after pregnancy.

Dry Itchy Abdominal Skin

As the baby grows inside you, your abdomen stretches and skin tightens, causing uncomfortable tightness and itching. This is normal, and may be helped by topical lotions containing calamine and other anti-itch remedies.

If the tightness and severe itching is one of several symptoms - dark urine, light coloring of the bowel movement, jaundice, nausea, loss of appetite and depression - you may want to talk to your health care provider. It could indicate Cholestasis, a liver disease that affects bile production in the gallbladder and that occurs only in pregnancy.

A diagnosis of cholestasis requires a complete physical examination and blood tests. Because it is specific to pregnancy, the symptoms of cholestasis usually disappear within a few days of delivery.

Darkening of Moles, Freckles, and other areas

The hormonal overdrive that comes with pregnancy means that existing features of your skin - including freckles, moles, areaola, labea and nipples - may appear darker. This is natural and unpreventable. Don't forget good skincare safety, though. If a mole changes shape and appearance, see a healthcare professional for evaluation.


Seeking information that will help you to a healthy pregnancy? the american pregnancy association has an online resource for you - visit, the health advocacy group's official website.

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