Skin changes and pregnancy rashes can be a large frustration during pregnancy. You may have to deal with increased acne, a darkening of your skin (the mask of pregnancy), heat rashes, dryness, itching as your skin stretches and stretch marks. There is also the possibility of contracting a rash unrelated to pregnancy, such as hives. If you have any questions about a skin change, contact your care provider.
However, there are some things you can do during pregnancy to minimize pregnancy rashes and skin changes.
- Keep your skin clean. Your skin will produce more facial oil in pregnancy, which may lead to clogged pores and acne. Wash your skin with a mild and gentle cleanser twice per day. Avoid using any acne treatments without the permission of your care provider-some acne treatments are contraindicated and can cause birth defects.
- Protect your skin from the sun. Acne and skin darkenings such as the ‘mask of pregnancy’ worsen in the sun. Try to use sun block and/or wear a hat outside. Some experts recommend avoiding the sun between 10 am and 2 pm, if possible.
- Moisturize. An all-over moisturizer is highly recommended in pregnancy to help with itching. Itching can be a huge problem during pregnancy, especially on your belly and breasts as your skin stretches.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking lots of water can help prevent dry skin and itching problems. If it is winter and your heat is always on, you may want to use a humidifier in your house.
- Stretch mark creams. Stretch mark creams claim to help pregnant women avoid getting stretch marks. However, stretch mark creams don’t seem to affect stretch marks at all. You can try to avoid getting stretch marks by gaining weight slowly-though experts agree that stretch marks are hereditary.
- Avoid excess heat. Excess heat can give you a heat rash. Use your air conditioner, wear loose, cotton clothing, stay inside, drink lots of water and try to avoid hot situations.
- Plastic surgery or dermatology options. Some skin changes in pregnancy can be helped by plastic surgery or a dermatologist, even though you are pregnant. Speak to your care provider for a recommendation and to see if your skin changes are even treatable by this method. If you see a plastic surgeon or a dermatologist, let them know you are pregnant. Many skin care treatments are not to be used during pregnancy.
- Avoid hot showers and baths. Hot water can make itching and heat rashes worse. In addition, pat yourself dry after showering.
- Avoid using heavy soaps and chemicals with alcohol. These products can increase dry skin and itching. Switch to a gentle soap and use it every other day if you have to.