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Health & Pregnancy

Skin Problems of Pregnancy

A rosy glow is not all that happens to a pregnant woman's skin. She might also have to deal with bumps, blotches, masks, and rashes.
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Acne continued...

On the flip side, some women actually report their acne gets better with pregnancy, he tells WebMD. "Acne is a hormonally-driven condition, which is why some women take oral contraceptives to clear up their complexion, so it makes sense that hormone fluctuations during pregnancy would affect acne," he says.

In addition, oil glands respond to androgen, the male sex hormone that increases during pregnancy, too. This causes the oil glands to produce large quantities of oil called sebum, which clogs the opening of the oil gland and results in a "blackhead."

But don't panic, your skin will most likely clear up after pregnancy. "If breakouts are severe while pregnant, there are certain safe medicines we can use during pregnancy including topical antibiotics," he says.

"Cleansing daily with an over-the-counter cleanser that contains alpha-hydroxy acid can also keep breakouts to a minimum," he says.

Spider Woman?

Spider angiomas are collections of tiny dilated blood vessels that usually radiate from a central point and resemble the legs of a spider. "They are thought to be related to changes in hormone levels, which is why they can come out during pregnancy," Katz says.

"Some women develop angiomas during pregnancy on their face, chest, or sometimes on the arms or the abdomen, " he says. Angiomas may clear up after pregnancy, but if not, they can be treated effectively with lasers, he says.

Stretch Marks

More than 90% of pregnant women will develop stretch marks in response to the pulling and stretching of underlying skin during pregnancy, Kroumpouzos says. Stretch marks are pink or purple bands in the stomach area and sometimes on breasts or thighs.

"Exercise and use of lotions or creams with alpha-hydroxy acids can be used to prevent stretch marks from occurring," he says.

Mask of Pregnancy?

Chloasma, also known as melasma or the mask of pregnancy, occurs when the sun-exposed skin on the upper cheeks, forehead, and/or upper lip turns a tan, brownish color because excess pigment is deposited in the skin's upper layers.

"This is a similar phenomenon that occurs when women take oral contraceptives and very often it will go away after pregnancy," Leffel says. And, "in some cases, it persists and we have to try different treatments including bleaching creams or chemical peels after delivery."

It's a good idea to use sunscreen during pregnancy to prevent chloasma from occurring or to prevent existing patches from getting darker, he says.

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