First thing’s first – if you’re an expecting mama going through this beautiful pregnancy journey, congratulations! This phase in your life is something you will remember forever – your beautifully expanding belly and a priceless maternal bond that is growing stronger and stronger on the daily.
Now, that’s not to say that pregnancy doesn’t come with its own fair share of struggles. While it is mostly rainbows and butterflies, there are some unbearable things you will need to go through before meeting your little bundle of joy. Morning sickness, fatigue, swollen hands and feet, and don’t even get us started on those random food cravings. But one of the biggest changes most pregnant women face – and one that some even forget to prepare for! – is its effects on your skin.
And no, we don’t mean the “pregnancy glow” we all can’t wait to have (although trust us, that will come!) This one is slightly less exciting. Just think: Dark spots, stretch marks, and dry skin among others. But before you go into a panic, the good news is, these skin changes are temporary! Soon after popping, you’ll start looking and feeling more like yourself. All you need is patience, rest, and some skincare tips – which brings us to the point of this article.
Here, we break down everything you need to know about skin changes during pregnancy and the safe ways you can care for your body until d-day rolls around!
What Does Pregnancy Do To Your Skin?
And more importantly, can pregnancy cause skin problems?
There is no sugar coating it, pregnancy causes major changes in your body, the biggest one being an increase in hormone levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone. While this is needed to prepare your body for motherhood (development of your uterus, placenta, cervix, joints, the milk duct in your breasts, and so on!), it does come with some side effects too – like nausea, mood swings, heightened senses, fluid retention, and for some women, unwanted skin conditions.
Common Skin Conditions During Pregnancy
Pregnancy or not, stretch marks are totally common and, in our humble opinion, nothing to be ashamed of! These white, textured “scars” occur when our skin stretches or shrinks, typically too quickly that it damages the collagen and elastin in our skin.
For pregnant women in particular, stretch marks may appear more prominent and darker than usual. In fact, they are the most common skin condition during pregnancy, affecting about 90% of expectant mamas.
Apart from appearing in growing bellies, they are also usually found in areas where body fat is naturally more present, like our breasts, thighs, and hips. While they may not completely disappear post-pregnancy (and really, who doesn’t have a single stretch mark anyway?!), they will eventually lighten in colour after childbirth, appearing more like faded lines than proof of pregnancy.
Melasma or Skin Pigmentation
Next to stretch marks, melasma is probably one of the most notorious skin changes for soon-to-be mamas, so much so that it has earned a title of its own: The “mask of pregnancy”. A pretty accurate description if you ask us!
Melasma masks the face with dark, irregular-shaped spots scattered throughout the skin but most notably found in the forehead and cheeks. Experts attribute it to hormonal changes (at this point, what can we NOT blame on our hormones?!) that trigger the production of more melanin (the pigments responsible for the colour of our skin, eyes, and hair), hence causing more pigmentation and spots!
If you are one of the 50% of mamas with melasma, don’t worry too much about it, they are known to disappear as soon as pregnancy ends. Besides, a few dark spots aren’t enough to hide that pregnancy glow! But this next skin condition might.
Dry, Itchy Skin
While itchy and dry skin during pregnancy isn’t as common as stretch marks and melasma, some women suddenly experience these skin conditions towards the latter months. Truthfully, it can be hard to conclude if these are, in fact, due to pregnancy, especially since there are a lot of external factors that can cause the same symptoms – weather changes, stress, diet, skincare products, and so on. In that case, they shouldn’t cause any serious issues and can easily be addressed by daily moisturising and other lifestyle changes.
However, when the dryness and itching become too unbearable to handle, it pays to keep an eye out for these specific (and rare!) pregnancy conditions that are known to cause dry, itchy skin as a side-effect.
- Cholestasis is a temporary liver condition that reportedly affects one in every 1,000 pregnancies. Like most conditions, it is caused by the increase in pregnancy hormones, resulting in an irregular flow of bile. Long story short, it manifests in several uncomfortable ways like nausea, vomiting, fatigue, appetite lose, and – you guessed it! – intense itching on the belly.
- PUPPP (Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plagues) is a form of Cholestasis where dryness and itching spreads mostly to the arms and legs. They appear as red, itchy, raised skin patches that eventually disappear after pregnancy.
In case one of these are the root cause, pregnant women are advised to consult their doctors for proper medication and treatment.
Several things can cause excessive oil production in the skin, and pregnancy is one of them. In fact, did you know that the much-hyped “pregnancy glow” is actually a byproduct of too much oil?
So the good news is, pregnant women with mild oily skin can pass it off as a dewy, glowing complexion! But the bad news – those dealing with too much oil can potentially face worse skin conditions, this next one in particular:
Yup! You can be pregnant and still deal with an acne breakout circa teenage years! In both instances, too much oil buildup on the skin clogs the pores, thus leading to acne, blackheads, and whiteheads. The difference is, this time, these zits will likely disappear after pregnancy as oil production regulates. So don’t worry, 9 months of acne-prone skin is a far cry from years of teenage insecurities and pimple patches!
Spider Veins or Varicose Veins
Before the term starts freaking you out, trust us, spider veins are not as scary as they sound! They’re simply blood vessels that appear more prominent on the skin, likely due to the weight and pressure of the uterus on the veins, thus decreasing blood circulation in the lower body. In effect, they should naturally disappear shortly after childbirth. Normal uterus, normal veins!
Keep in mind though: Spider veins are not solely a pregnancy condition and can be caused by other factors like genes, ageing, injury – and weirdly enough – sunlight. So for women who have them even before pregnancy, getting rid of them is a different story. Chances are, there’s not much you can do to treat them completely. Your next best bet would be to minimise their appearance through laser treatments, compression stockings, and regular massages.
As its name suggests, linea nigra is a dark vertical line that usually starts from the belly button and down to the pubic area. In some cases, it can extend across the entire stomach. When it appears and and how long it stays truthfully varies per person, with some women experiencing it as early as the first trimester and disappearing a few months into postpartum. Whatever the case may be, it is definitely temporary and naturally fades as hormone levels temper.
Compared to the other skin conditions, it is not something that is necessarily dreadful or requires skincare maintenance. On the contrary, many women embrace it as a beautiful symbol of their growing belly!
Hair Loss or Hair Growth
Apart from skin changes, pregnancy can also have an impact on our hair. The fortunate ones will notice thicker and shinier locks, and if that’s your case, then lucky you! But, in many cases, things are far from smooth and shiny (pun intended). Some pregnant people either lose it or have too much of it. What’s the better choice? You tell us!
Scenario 1: That healthy hair growth can suddenly occur in unwanted places, like the face, neck, and back.
Scenario 2: Extreme changes happening in the body can cause stress or shock, causing excessive hair shedding or hair thinning.
Now, while both cases may seem stressful, not to worry! These hair conditions commonly last about 6 months to 1 year post-childbirth.
Safe Skincare Tips For Pregnant Women
If you find yourself dealing with any of these unfortunate conditions, here are some safe skincare tips to help get you by until the baby comes and all is well in the world (or should we say, your body) again:
- For Stretch Marks:
Invest in thick moisturising lotions, or better yet, stretch mark creams that are labelled safe for pregnancy and sensitive skin.
- For Melasma:
Daily SPF and protective clothing, like a stylish sun hat! When choosing the best SPF for pregnancy, mineral sunscreen is considered the safest, especially the ones containing zinc or titanium dioxide.
- For Dry Skin or Eczema:
A fragrance-free moisturiser, particularly ones that promote themselves as good for sensitive skin. Some dermatologists also remind soon-to-be mommas to be wary of “organic” or “natural” moisturisers as they likely substitute seemingly “toxic” ingredients with essential oils, which pregnant women may also be sensitive to.
That said, when it comes to all skincare products, make sure to carefully study the label. Another tip when it comes to the ingredients list: The less, the better!
- For Oily Skin:
Start and end your daily skincare routine with a gentle, soap-free, fragrance-free cleanser, which should help cleanse your pores from any dirt, oil, and unwanted gunk. Also, choose one that is non-comedogenic, short for non-pore-clogging.
As for moisturising, people with oily skin tend to think they can skip this skincare step. While it may help minimise the oily feeling, healthy skin still needs a certain amount of moisture and hydration. That said, you can opt for an oil-free moisturiser, perhaps one with safe yet effective ingredients like hyaluronic acid or glycerin.
As an added measure: It also helps to carry blotting paper with you throughout the day – just pat-pat-pat whenever you’re feeling extra shiny!
- For Acne:
Finding an anti-acne treatment that is both effective and safe for pregnancy can be tricky, which is why you should (1) do your research on the ingredients list, and (2) consult a dermatologist or skin expert first.
In any case, we suggest starting with a gentle facial wash or cleanser that is targeted towards acne-prone yet sensitive skin – ideally one that is soap-free, alcohol-free, and fragrance-free.
For a more potent option, you can explore skincare acids, which are proven effective for active acne or breakouts. Azelaic Acid and Lactic Acid are believed to be the safest ones for pregnant women.
Whatever it is you’re eyeing, just make sure to inform your doctor before using them!
Facial Treatments That Are Safe During Pregnancy
Apart from improving your skincare routine, getting regular facials at a salon or day spa can also do wonders during pregnancy. Not only do they keep your skin clean, hydrated, and healthy overall, they’re all a good way to get in some much-needed relaxation and pampering!
Now, we’re sure you’re wondering: Is it safe to have a facial while pregnant?
Yes, definitely! The key is to stick to basic treatments – only those that use safe ingredients, gentle techniques, and non-invasive technology. When in doubt, you can start by consulting a skin therapist to see
Here’s a list of professional treatments that are safe for pregnant women:
Deep Cleansing Facials
- Perfect for: Basic cleansing and hydrating during pregnancy
- Benefits: Deep Cleansing Facials rid our pores of dirt, oil, dead skin cells, and other junk through a series of gentle skincare steps: Cleansing, steaming, exfoliation, extraction, and moisturising, and ends with a rejuvenating mask and relaxing facial massage.
- Our facial at Lovoir: Book our Deep Cleansing Enzyme Facial
- Perfect for: Dry and dull skin during pregnancy
- Benefits: Hydrating Facials typically uses skin-friendly ingredients like vitamins, herbal extracts, anti-oxidants, and moisturisers to rejuvenate the skin and restore its overall glow and suppleness.
- Our facial at Lovoir: Book our Janesce Holistic Facial
- Perfect for: Problematic skin during pregnancy
- Benefits: Lymphatic Facials use a mask-massage tandem to eliminate toxins in our lymphatic system, which if left untreated, manifest as problems in our skin tone, texture, and overall complexion. By clearing these impurities, our vital organs function better, giving way to fresh, healthy skin!
- Our facial at Lovoir: Book our PRIN Lymphatic Facial
LED Light Therapy
- Perfect for: Problematic skin during pregnancy
- Benefits: LED Light Therapy Facials use safe, non-invasive lightwaves to address various skin concerns beyond the surface. By stimulating certain cellular functions, they aim to improve symptoms of acne, skin ageing, discoloration, rough texture, and other common skin conditions.
- Our facial at Lovoir: Book our LED Light Therapy Facial
- Perfect for: Relieving body aches and tension during pregnancy
- Benefits: Prenatal or Pregnancy Massages are a safe way to help reduce body aches, stress and ease muscle tension, which commonly burden pregnant women. They include careful techniques and a gentle lymphatic drainage to relax the body and reduce fluid retention as d-day draws near.
- Our facial at Lovoir: Book our Pregnancy Massage
Book Your Facial at Lovoir Skin Body & Beauty
Here at Lovoir Skin Body & Beauty, our treatments are tailor-fit to the needs and goals of all our customers, pregnant women included! We guarantee only the safest techniques, ingredients, and technology guaranteed to deliver the best results while keeping you and your baby’s wellbeing in mind.
If you’re interested in learning more about what we offer, browse through our beauty treatments or give us a call for any questions you may have. When you’re ready for a full day of pregnancy pampering and relaxation, book a consultation with our aestheticians and we’ll recommend the safest treatment plan for you. See you at the salon!