Women’s skin during pregnancy

Women’s skin during pregnancy

Dra. Dª. Aurora Guerra . Dermatologist and member of the Spanish Academy of Dermatology.

With pregnancy there are a series of skin disorders in women, who must know how to prevent and treat. Most of these changes are minor, but knowing what they are and how to mitigate them will help you be more confident.

The use of sunscreen in pregnant women is mandatory because spots tend to appear that are aggravated by exposure to the sun

The skin undergoes multiple and varied changes during pregnancy, mainly due to the hormonal changes that take place at this stage . Most women know that their skin will present these changes but only half of them know how to treat them.

The skin during pregnancy becomes more sensitive and requires special attention . All injuries that can occur have preventive or curative treatment and most of them can disappear or diminish with proper care.

Main problems of women’s skin

Most women consider that stretch marks are the manifestation most related to pregnancy, but there are also other very frequent ones such as spots, itching in the abdomen and breasts, and spider veins (varicose veins), as well as others not as frequent as soft nails and brittle, acne, hair, etc.

– Spots on the face : Melasma is one of the most common spots, also known as the pregnancy mantle. It is a skin disorder that causes darkening in the central area of ​​the face , especially in women with dark complexions. About 70% of women develop it and it usually appears in the second half of pregnancy. Its cause is hormonal on a genetic predisposition, but exposure to the sun without adequate protection accentuates the problem. It is very important to prevent these types of stains because they are irreversible . While it is true that they can be treated with depigmentation, laser or other techniques, 100% success is not guaranteed.

– Another type of stains : The face is not the only one affected by the spots, also in other areas of the body such as the neck , the navel and even the genitals, pigmentations are formed. Small red spots are very common on the neck , known as hemangiomas or ruby ​​spots. They usually appear after the third month in 5% of women. It does not require treatment because they remit after delivery. Physiological pigmentations appear in the middle of the abdomen and on the genitals . These skin changes become evident at the end of the first trimester and last during pregnancy, but they are sporadic changes that disappear a few weeks after delivery.

– Change in skin type : Due to hormonal changes, in some women the skin type changes. There are some who get dry skin and others who start to suffer from acne. It is an unpredictable change but if this happens, the pregnant woman should go to her dermatologist to change the type of creams without this affecting the fetus.

– Stretch marks : They are atrophic skin lines, the result of a rupture of the dermis caused by a stretching of the skin. They are very common in adolescence and in pregnancy due to increases in volume. In adolescence, they usually appear on the thighs, buttocks and breasts and those of pregnancy appear first on the abdominal wall and later on the breasts. They are difficult to prevent and have no possible treatment. However, it is recommended to properly hydrate the skin with moisturizers .

– Hair : In general, hair improves during pregnancy because, during this stage, its life cycle is prolonged. But the woman should know that the fall is accentuated after delivery to regularize the cycle. To prevent this from happening in excess, it is necessary to control the level of some minerals such as iron in the blood.

– Nails : Iron is also essential for nails to remain strong and in good health during pregnancy. Otherwise they weaken and break. One measure that helps keep them in shape is to take 20-minute baths in warm olive oil and regularly use moisturizers to keep the cuticle and keratin of the nails flexible and well hydrated.

– Varicose veins : They are very frequent in pregnant women due to the increased pressure produced by the fetus in the venous circulation. In addition, the pregnancy hormones relax the wall of the veins and dilate the vessels of the legs. The symptoms are heaviness, tiredness and, of course, unsightly spider veins. To prevent its formation, some advice should be followed, such as not standing or sitting too long because it is necessary for the blood circulation to be fluid.

– Walking regularly and doing a little exercise will prevent them from arising. The compression stockings are another because they act as relieves massaging the area and favoring the return of blood.


Preventive and skin treatment measures

During pregnancy, as in the rest of the stages of life, the woman must take care of her skin with an adequate diet , with moderate exercise and with a series of healthy habits.

There are three keys that will help to take care of the skin at any age and that must be maintained during pregnancy:

Hygiene . It must be adequate, not excessive because it could damage the skin’s protective mantle. For the body, it is advisable to use products with antiseptic or antifungal action , especially if you are going to be in swimming pools or gyms, to avoid infections. For greater protection of the genitals, a very sensitive area at this stage, intimate gels can be used.

Hydrate . Hydration is another essential step. During pregnancy the skin stretches and it needs to be well hydrated to keep it flexible. In principle, the pregnant woman is not obliged to change her daily hydration treatment, but it is convenient to make sure that it does not contain retinoids or derivatives because there are anti-aging and anti-acne creams that are formulated with this substance. It should be taken into account because they affect the fetus, therefore, they are prohibited in pregnant people.

Protection . Protection against the harmful effects of the sun is the other key to skin care, especially skin that is exposed in summer and winter. In pregnant women, this protection must be respected because, at this stage, spots usually appear that are aggravated by exposure to the sun. The use of sunscreens that protect the area, both in summer and winter, is a must. Ideally, the daily moisturizers themselves contain protection factor. In this way, with a single gesture, both objectives will be achieved.

Know moreThere are other problems such as itching , rashes or herpes , less common but that must be treated by the specialist at the time they occur to mitigate the discomfort.

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