Pregnancy is a beautiful and unique time in a woman’s life as she prepares to welcome a new baby in her life. The hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy are responsible for many normal changes that are seen in pregnant women, most of which are reversible. These skin changes include melasma, changes in pigmentation, increase in acne, as well as a variety of other skin changes that you may notice. Here are a few tips that we have for safe and effective skin care during your pregnancy:
1- Avoid excessive sun exposure and use a good, wide spectrum, oil and paraben free sunscreen prior to sun exposure. Most of the pigmentary changes that accompany pregnancy such as melasma, tend to get worse with sun exposure.
2- Take a close look at your beauty product and make sure to avoid components such as retinoids. Retinoic acid, tretinoin, retinaldehyde, retinol, tazarotene and adapalene should be avoided during the nine months of your pregnancy because of potential harm to the fetus. Skin bleaching creams containing hydroquinone should also be avoided because of their systemic absorption and the potential risk they may pose. It is best to avoid acne products containing salicylic acid although the risk is largely theoretical.
3- Safe products include creams containing azelaic acid and alfa hydroxyl acids (AHA) such as glycolic acid and can be used without risk during pregnancy.
4- Depilatory and hair bleaching creams containing thioglycolic acid, sodium, calcium, and potassium hydroxide as well as hydrogen peroxide can be used with moderation during pregnancy as they have not been shown to pose a threat to the mother or the fetus.
5- Stretch marks are one of the most common skin changes during pregnancy. The areas that are the most at risk are the abdomen, hips, buttocks, and breasts. Genetic factors seem to be the main risk factors for the development of stretch marks, however weight gain during pregnancy may also contribute. So the best advice we can give you is to maintain a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy with regards to your nutrition and exercise and try not to exceed the amount of weight gain that is recommended by your obstetrician. You may also decrease your salt intake, which leads to water retention and excessive skin stretching.
Finally, your skin will experience a number of benign changes during your pregnancy, most of which are benign and some of which are reversible such as skin darkening. However should you experience any of the following skin changes you should notify your obstetrician or dermatologist and seek medical treatment:
Itching and a change of skin color to a yellowish hue (jaundice)
Red blotches over the abdomen and extremities
Blisters over the body
Pustules over the body
Worsening of a preexisting skin condition such as psoriasis or eczema