Pregnancy and post-pregnancy are two periods in which a mum’s body undergoes incredible changes. Closely linked to these changes are hormonal fluctuations that affect the skin during pregnancy...
We don’t have to tell you that pregnancy brings a multitude of changes to your body, turning your world inside out and back again.
However one area, which many seem to notice changes, but don’t necessarily plan for, is in their skin. While stretch marks are a common worry during pregnancy, there are many other conditions such as hyperpigmentation, melasma, acne and eczema that commonly present themselves during pregnancy.
The key thing to remember when it comes to your skin during and after pregnancy, the majority is hormone-related. You can hear one woman express feelings of joy over her glowing skin during pregnancy, while the next can be complaining of horrible acne.
This can also differ from pregnancy to pregnancy. For example, with one child you can have the glowing skin and the next – a whole different story and vice-versa. It is also important to remember there are treatment options available that can offer some relief for the conditions you are experiencing, although some may not be available until post-pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Here are some of the most common conditions related to the skin during pregnancy.
Pregnancy is known to cause an increase in melanin production (the substance responsible for the colour pigmentation of skin). When melanin increases, you’ll notice darkening of the skin in certain areas of the face.
Melasma is a patchy discolouration of the face from sun exposure. The best way to try and prevent melasma from occurring is by avoiding the sun in its peak hours and to always wear sunscreen. To put it simply, hormones + sun exposure = melasma. Melasma can be treated post-pregnancy and breast-feeding with topical treatments like Cosmelan or Dermalan depigmentation peel by mesoestetic or laser treatments.
During pregnancy and breast-feeding you can use homecare products that contain active ingredients such as vitamin C and other forms of antioxidants. Exfoliation can also assist in preventing or reducing the severity of melasma. Using an exfoliating serum or mask that contains enzymes such as pomegranate or cranberry will assist in accelerating cellular turnover.
Product recommendations for Hyperpigmentation & Melasma during pregnancy and breastfeeding:
- Douglas Pereira Skin Health Vitamin C Serum
- Douglas Pereira Skin Health Antioxidant Serum
- Medik8 White Balance Brightening Serum
- Osmosis Beauty Cranberry Enzyme Mask
- Mesoestetic Melan Pigment Control
Treatment recommendations for Hyperpigmentation & Melasma post-pregnancy and breastfeeding:
Pregnancy can trigger acne or make existing adult acne worse. On the other hand, some women with acne-prone skin report a decrease in breakouts during pregnancy, so you never know.
Higher levels of hormones called androgens are at least partly responsible for pregnancy breakouts because they can prompt the sebaceous glands in your skin to get bigger and boost production of an oily substance called sebum.
This extra sebum combined with the shed skin cells that line your hair follicles, blocks your pores, creating an environment in which bacteria can rapidly multiply. All this can eventually lead to the inflammation and skin eruptions of acne.
Acne during pregnancy can be mild, moderate, or even severe, and it can occur at any time during the pregnancy. It may come and go, or it may last the entire pregnancy
During pregnancy and breast-feeding, avoid retinoids, salicylic acid and most oral medications (Accutane etc.). There are treatment options for acne but it is best to discuss these with your GP and skincare professional before starting these treatments. You may notice acne issues continue after giving birth and during breastfeeding while your body is adjusting and re-balancing its hormonal system.
The best and safest way to treat acne during pregnancy and breastfeeding is using a good homecare range a mild cleanser and serums with pregnancy-safe ingredients such as Vitamin B, Lactic acid, hyaluronic acid and fruit-based enzymes.
It is also recommended to have frequent skin treatments that use technology and products safe for pregnancy. Look at treatments that use gentle microdermabrasion, light therapy and more natural based products. A good clinic or salon will be able to recommend the best treatment to target your hormonal acne issues
Product recommendations for Acne during pregnancy and breastfeeding:
- Douglas Pereira Skin Health Vitamin B
- Douglas Pereira Skin Health Enzyme Cleanser
- Medik8 Breakout Defence Age Repair
- Skinceuticals Hyaluronic Acid Serum Hydrating B5 Serum
Eczema is the most common skin condition of pregnancy, accounting for one-third to one-half of all cases of skin problems in pregnant women. Among women suffering with eczema during pregnancy, 20–40% will have a pre-existing history of eczema, and the rest will develop symptoms for the first time during pregnancy, within the first two trimesters.
Pregnancy does seem to affect eczema – some women notice an improvement, whilst others find that their skin gets worse. Pre-existing eczema may deteriorate at any stage of pregnancy, but there is a slightly higher rate of this happening in the second trimester. Some women experience a flare soon after delivery.
Ways of treating and calming eczema during pregnancy:
- LED light therapy
Red light therapy can be an effective, natural treatment for eczema, reducing itchiness and inflammation, and helping speed the healing process.
- Cryo facial therapy
Cryotherapy facials assist in reducing inflammation and increasing hydration, two key factors of eczema. A subzero temperature hand probe is genteelly massaged over the face to administer the cooling temperature to the skin.
A combination of LED light therapy and Cryo facial therapy is the ideal treatment to target eczema during pregnancy, as it is safe throughout each trimester.