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Health & Pregnancy

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Pregnancy Skin Care: Get That Glow!

Experts give tips to help treat pregnancy skin problems -- from acne to 'pregnancy mask.'

Pregnancy Mask and Other Pigment Problems continued...

If all else fails, you can safely cover pregnancy mask with a high-pigment concealer or foundation. For best results, choose the color closest to your complexion and resist the urge to go lighter.

"If you select a light shade of concealer, you're not going to get better coverage, plus you're only going to draw attention to the mask by highlighting that area," says Holly Mordini, director of global artistry for Smashbox Cosmetics. Another tip, says Mordini, is to always use a good moisturizer before putting on your concealer. "This will help give better, more even coverage over large areas," she says.

If your mask does not clear after pregnancy, Marmur says a chemical peel "works like magic" to remove all traces.

Pregnancy Belly Itches

From annoying belly itches to potentially serious body rashes, there is no question that pregnancy can sometimes make your skin crawl.

"Part of the problem is caused by hormones and part is the result of skin stretching, which also causes it to itch," says Marmur.

Among the most common belly itches is PUPPP -- short for pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy. This is a hive-type reaction that commonly begins in the third trimester. It's first noticeable near the belly button, but it can quickly fan out over a wide area, including the thighs, breasts, and buttocks.

While PUPPP isn't dangerous, and it often resolves soon after delivery, it can be incredibly uncomfortable. If you just can't stand the itch, Marmur says prescription-strength steroid creams can definitely help. You can also try dipping a cloth in some warm milk and applying it to the skin, or add a handful of oatmeal to a warm (not hot) bath.

If your rash is itchy and contains fluid-filled blisters, Marmur says talk to your doctor right away. This can be an autoimmune reaction known as pemphigoid gestationis or herpesgestationis. Although not related to the herpes virus, it can increase the risk of premature birth, and it may affect your baby's health as well, so it's vital to seek treatment early on.

Many women also suffer harmless, all-over itchiness during pregnancy. Often all that's needed to soothe the skin is calamine lotion or a good moisturizer. But again, Marmur cautions women to bring any skin irritations to their doctor's attention. In rare instances, she says, itchy skin can be a symptom of a pregnancy-related liver condition known as cholestasis, which may increase the risk of premature labor or cause some fetal distress.

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