Oh Baby! Skin Conditions Common in Pregnancy and How to Care for Them

Kalen Ashford, PACertified Physician Assistant Kalen Ashford shares her tips on how to care for your skin during pregnancy.

Spring is in the air and we have had many mommies-to-be asking about their skin care regimens. What is good, what is bad, and how can I keep my youthful complexion even with a baby on board? As a dermatology provider I understand your entire body, including your skin, and its changes during pregnancy. Here is a list of some common changes my patients ask about and some tips on how to help solve the problem!

Acne

Changes in the level of hormones in your body can cause problematic pimples. There are some acne medications that can be used in medications and others that are not considered safe during pregnancy. Some over the counter products to avoid while pregnant are benzoyl peroxide and Salicylic acid. All retinol products, both over-the-counter and prescription, should also be avoided during pregnancy. We can help you navigate the many products for acne and find the appropriate treatment for you. We also offer a Glycolic only chemical peel that is safe (and relaxing) for soon to be mommies!

Melasma

Also known as the “mask of pregnancy.” This dark pigmentation that can form on any part of the face as well as other parts of the body that are exposed to sun. The BEST and most common prevention is sun protection. Wearing SPF clothing, wide brimmed hats, and using (and reapplying) SPF daily is the best way to ward off these unwanted splotches. Avéne Face and Body Sunscreen is a perfect addition to your regimen.

If you happen to already have melasma we can help you find the best treatment for your skin type. These treatments can include topical creams, lasers, or chemical peels! Some of the treatments can’t be used while you are pregnant or nursing, but SPF should be worn daily to prevent further progression of melasma.

Spider Veins and Rosy Cheeks

There is extra blood circulating through your body which puts pressure on your capillaries. This can cause spider veins and broken capillaries in your face. While this is not an issue medically, some women find these unsightly. A combination of laser treatments and sclerotherapy can help diminish the appearance of vessels almost anywhere on the body!

Stretch marks

Stretch marks are a sign of growth! Growth spurts and fast weight gain are common culprits causing unwanted stretch marks. They come in many colors and the colors can change with time to more of a flesh tone. There are certain topical medications you can use to prevent stretch marks, but many are not safe during pregnancy. It is important to keep the skin hydrated by moisturizing daily (I use Avéne Trixera Emollient Balm) and drinking plenty of water (2-3L/day).  After you are done breastfeeding we can guide you in establishing the best regimen to treat your stretch marks and discuss certain procedures that can diminish their appearance.

Mineral Make-up & Sunscreen

Mineral makeup is a good choice during pregnancy, when skin may react unexpectedly. That’s because it doesn’t contain ingredients that can irritate skin, such as fragrance or preservatives. Mineral makeup also contains titanium and zinc, which act as a natural SPF to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. We carry ColoreScience® mineral make-up and sunscreens for all your needs.

Hair loss After Pregnancy

Many people experience hair loss after delivery of a baby. Any kind of stressor to the body can cause your hair follicles to go into a “resting” phase. During the resting phase your hair can shed and you can see large amounts of hair in the shower or when you brush your hair. You may also experience overall hair thinning and your ponytail may be slightly smaller than it has been in the past. GOOD NEWS!! This type of hair loss is not permanent and in about 6-12 months you will have your thick mane back! The question many women ask is “What do I do in the meantime?”  Below are some strategies you can use to decrease the appearance of thin hair.

  • Use volumizing shampoo and conditioner
  • Only condition the ends of your hair
  • Conditioning closer to the scalp can weigh down your hair making it look thinner.
  • Let your hair go wavy!
  •  Curls can add more volume and make hair look fuller.
  • Avoid high heat or over washing
  • Hair dryers, heat tools, and over washing can damage your hair and cause excess hair loss.
  • If you have excessive hair loss always see your provider for further treatment.

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