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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.

Existing Skin Conditions

Skin tags or "benign hanging things around the neck are hormonally related and tend to increase in number during pregnancy," Katz says. "We don't know why, but it may be that the increased blood flow to the skin encourages the tissue to proliferate," he says.

"Skin tags increase in numbers, moles can change color slightly and so can benign tumors, scars can become noticeable -- all because the high levels of estrogen have some effect on these tissues," Kroumpouzos agrees. "They may go away or change back after delivery," he says.

"Pregnant women with certain skin diseases are more likely to experience an aggravation, or less often, an improvement in their condition," Kroumpouzos says.

For example, women with atopic dermatitis, a skin disease causing itchy, irritating skin lesions, may experience a worsening during pregnancy. In some cases, atopic dermatitis may develop for the first time during pregnancy, he says.

Psoriasis, a skin condition marked by raised, thickened patches of red skin covered with silvery-white scales, may improve during pregnancy. This improvement may be attributed to the high levels of interleukin-10 in pregnancy, a protein that is released by one cell to regulate the function of another, Kroumpouzos says.

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Reviewed on February 01, 2005

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