Changes in skin are common during pregnancy, many of which are benign, resolve postpartum, and don’t require any substantial treatment. They may be pre-existing, hormone-related, or be directly related to the pregnancy. The most common pregnancy related skin conditions women may experience include:
Caused by an increase in melanin, hyperpigmentation occurs to some extent in most women who become pregnant. It is characterized by dark spots or patches. These can resolve after delivery or last for several years afterward. Women with darker skin typically have more pronounced changes.
Melasma is a type of hyperpigmentation that causes brown patches to form across the face and forehead. It’s often worsened by exposure to sunlight and ultraviolet radiation and can be triggered by using oral contraceptives. During pregnancy, skin treatments for conditions of this nature usually aren’t required.
Hyperpigmentation can be addressed by:
- Using an SPF 30 sunscreen or higher
- Wearing a wide-brimmed hat outside
- Limiting sun exposure from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Rashes are common skin conditions while pregnant. They are caused by various skin disorders such as:
- PUPPP: A pregnancy-specific dermatosis, Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy, or PUPPP, usually involve the body and extremities with no adverse side effects. The condition is most often treated with oral antihistamines and topical corticosteroids.
- Prurigo of pregnancy: Changes in the immune system can cause tiny, itchy bumps to form. Often resembling insect bites, it can worsen by day and take months to heal. Topical or oral medications may be prescribed.
- Pemphigoid gestationis: An autoimmune disorder, it can occur during the second or third trimester or immediately after childbirth. Abdominal blisters may require topical or oral medications. The condition carries a slight risk of preterm birth or low birth weight.
Common in pregnant women, stretch marks can form across the abdomen, thighs, breasts, and buttocks. Often reddish-purple, they tend to fade over time, becoming silver or white, but are usually permanent. Your doctor might recommend prescription creams and even laser treatment. Moisturizers to hydrate the skin might help as a preventative measure.
Spider veins triggered by hormonal changes and higher blood volume appear as small, red lines on the face, neck, and arms, while varicose veins are enlarged veins that can be painful. Varicose veins are caused by increased weight and uterine pressure, which decrease blood flow to the legs. They’re best treated by limiting how long you sit or stand, avoiding crossing your legs while sitting, and elevating your legs whenever possible. Frequent exercise and support garments can help too.
Small benign lesions that can appear on various parts of the body. They are not dangerous. However, they can be easily removed by a doctor if they occur where the risk of bleeding or irritation is high.
Acne may be triggered or exacerbated by pregnancy. Washing your face, using mild cleansers and oil-free cosmetics, and avoiding picking at pimples helps treat it. Consult a doctor when considering any medications, as not all are safe to use during pregnancy. Avoid hormonal therapy, isotretinoin, oral tetracyclines, and topical retinoids.
Consider Skin Rejuvenation with LDI
If you’re concerned about any pregnancy related skin conditions, visit Laser & Dermatology Institute of California at one of our three locations—LDI of Los Angeles, LDI of Covina, or LDI of Newport Beach. Schedule a free consultation and we’ll recommend the best skin rejuvenation options for you, including RF and laser therapy. Call 866-809-1102, contact us online, or self-schedule an appointment today.