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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 Belly Itches continued...

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.

Pregnancy Stretch Marks

From old-fashioned cocoa butter to high-tech skin creams that claim to prevent stretch marks, there is certainly no shortage of products to try.

But today, most doctors believe that those red, blue, purple, and brown stretch marks that divide your belly like the Grand Canyon are largely hereditary, and most topical preparations won't prevent them from occurring.

"If there was something that worked to prevent stretch marks, believe me, we would all know it by now," says Jamal.

But while you might not be able to prevent stretch marks, Palm Beach dermatologist Ken Beer, MD, says in many instances a few laser treatments after baby is born will cause your stretch marks to fade as quickly as your memory of labor pains.

After the baby is born, "Treating stretch marks when they are red or purple can be accomplished with a pulse dye laser," says Beer, author of Palm BeachPerfect Skin. "Once they have turned beige, microdermabrasion, Retin A, Intense Pulsed Light and injections of fillers have varying degrees of success."

If you want to try a topical preparation during pregnancy, Beer suggests glycolic acid creams or those containing green tea as most effective on stretch marks.

Pregnancy, Botox, and Wrinkle Fillers

Finally, in case you're wondering whether or not it's safe to get antiaging wrinkle treatments like Botox or Restylane during pregnancy, it's important to note that there have been no tests to confirm safety.

Says Marmur: "I wouldn't advise a pregnant woman to intentionally have a wrinkle injection or a Botox shot. But many women, including myself, had wrinkle injections and then got pregnant within a couple of months and went on to deliver perfect, healthy babies."

Colette Bouchez is the author of Your Perfectly Pampered Pregnancy: Health, Beauty and Lifestyle Advice for the Best Years of Your Life and editorial director of PamperingMom.com.

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Reviewed on February 06, 2009

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