The whole idea of having a baby is difficult enough, but the skin’s needs also change quite dramatically over the course of nine months. Factor in other aspects like pimple eruptions, dry skin and stretch marks can only contribute to stress.
“Pregnancy and birth both cause huge changes in one’s hormone levels,” says Dr. David Bank, Director of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic, and Laser Surgery. “It’s important to understand this and be armed with all of the information you may need as you go down this road.”
Dr. Bank recommends the following tips for pregnancy skin care. During Pregnancy:
ACNE – Breakouts are one of the most common skin side effects in pregnant women. As certain ingredients like retinoids, salicylic acid and beta hydroxy acids are not recommended for pregnant women, opt for products with glycolic acid, alpha hydroxy acids, or prescription Finacea to keep pimples at bay. Also speak to your dermatologist about that cortisone shot. The amount of cortisone is small enough and localized that it won’t affect the baby. On the flip side, many women who suffer from acne often get relief as their acne fades during pregnancy.
HYPERPIGMENTATION – Or otherwise known as Melasma is the stimulation of pigment-producing cells by hormones to produce more melanin when the skin is exposed to sun. One of the easiest ways to reduce the signs of melasma is to use a great broad-spectrum sunscreen. A mineral based sunscreen such as the Aveeno MineralBlock or the LaRoche-Posay Mineral only sunscreen is recommended.
STRETCH MARKS – A condition that affects about 90% of women, stretch marks are caused by changes in the supportive tissue that lies beneath the skin. While there’s little proof that any creams, salves or oils can help prevent stretch marks, some women have seen some help with cocoa butter. Gaining no more than the recommended amount of weight (25-35 pounds) may reduce your chances of getting stretch marks.
DRY/ITCHY SKIN – Dry skin as a result of increased hormones is a common skin ailment for pregnant mothers. Moisturize at least twice daily to keep skin hydrated and switch to a non-soap or non-scented cleansers as these can increase dryness.
POLYMORPHIC ERUPTION OF PREGNANCY (PEP/PUPPP) – One of the most common rashes in pregnancy occurring in one of every 120 pregnancies. It is an itchy rash that starts on the trunk, arms, and legs usually appearing around 36 weeks. It can be treated with topical corticosteroids.
ECZEMA FLARES OF PREGNANCY – Women with a history of eczema often flare during pregnancy. Like PEP it can be treated with topical corticosteroids.
Post-Pregnancy: Hair loss, loose skin, stretch marks, itchy dry skin and dark spots are all side effects of pregnancy.
ACNE – Oral antibiotics such as erythromycin and Zithromax kill acne-promoting bacteria. The good news is that new mothers can take them even if they’re nursing.
HYPERPIGMENTATION – Try Diode or Fraxel lasers to treat dark spots. These lasers use a gentle burst of light that selectively treats the problem areas without damaging surrounding tissue.
STRETCH MARKS – The good news is stretch marks tend to fade six to twelve months after childbirth. However, if waiting is not an option a topical product containing retinol, vitamin A or hydroquinone is recommended to diminish the marks, in addition to in-office treatments like V-beam and Fraxel lasers.
SPIDER ANGIOMAS – During pregnancy, increased pressure in the veins causes blood vessels to enlarge. These enlarged blood vessels are called Spider Angiomas, which can be treated with an IPL or V-beam.
HAIR LOSS – A significant change in life such as a pregnancy can shock the system throwing off hormones and your hair’s follicle cycle. When your cycle is thrown off during pregnancy your follicles sleep longer and do not produce new hair. Taking Appearex tablets (biotin, a Vitamin B) daily after delivery will provide your hair (and nails!) nutrients to accelerate and strengthen growth.
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