How Does Your Skin Change When Pregnant?

Skin Care

How Does Your Skin Change When Pregnant?

by Liz Thompson
September 22, 2023

Growing belly aside, pregnancy can come with a host of new changes to your body — including your skin.

How does your skin change when pregnant? Here are the differences you might notice throughout a pregnancy and the best ways to address them.

7 Common Skin Changes During Pregnancy

If you're pregnant and your skin has seen better days, this is par for the course. Hormonal shifts in the body while pregnant can increase your chances for skin issues at this time — like dryness, oiliness, itchiness, sensitivity, stretch marks and discoloration — while others may experience a clear, glowing complexion. Some solutions are as simple as switching up your skincare products, while others take patience and may only resolve after the pregnancy.

How does your skin change during pregnancy, exactly? And what are some simple fixes for unexpected skin symptoms?

1. Pregnancy Glow

Ok, this one isn't a skin "problem," per se. But if your skin isn't normally clear and glowing, this new you could come as a surprise. Pregnancy glow isn't a myth! Johns Hopkins Medicine lists pregnancy glow as one of the most common pregnancy skin changes, stating that radiant skin during pregnancy stems from an increase in blood flow and oil production. Take advantage of this newly glowing skin by keeping skin hydrated for extra radiance.

2. Acne

Breakouts during pregnancy are totally normal due to hormonal changes increasing oil production. You might want to switch up your skincare products until your complexion gets back to normal. As with any bout of acne, cleansing your pores is a great way to clear away dirt, debris and excess oil. Using fragrance-free soap can help to minimize feelings of nausea associated with fragrance.

3. Discoloration

Melasma, otherwise known as "the mask of pregnancy," appears as dark patches on the face. It's typically spread evenly across the cheeks, nose and forehead — again, you can blame hormonal changes in the body. The best way to combat melasma is to stay out of the sun and use SPF. Good news: Melasma often fades after delivery.

4. Sensitivity

An increase in sensitivity during pregnancy may be due to a weakened skin barrier, which can lead to inflammation. Supporting your skin barrier with proper hydration will offer a calming sensation to upset skin.

5. Stretch Marks

Possibly the most common skin complaint during pregnancy, stretch marks often show up on the stomach, thighs and breasts. While stretch marks can be stressful to deal with, these marks usually lighten and fade with time, becoming less noticeable. One way to avoid the appearance of stretch marks is to keep skin well moisturized throughout your pregnancy. To lessen the appearance of stretch marks, talk with your dermatologist about baby-safe solutions. And remember, your stretch marks are normal — they're a physical reminder of the fact that you've grown life inside your body!

6. Itchiness & Dryness

A compromised skin barrier is most likely the cause of itchy skin during pregnancy. The skin on your belly can become itchy as it stretches along with your growing baby. To stay comfortable, keep your skin moisturized and opt for products designed to soothe the skin.

A change in hormones is typically the cause behind dry skin pregnancy concerns, too. Does your skin change when pregnant in ways that affect your whole body rather than just one area? Talk with your dermatologist about using skincare formulated to address dry skin and the issues that come with it to help alleviate the appearance of redness and flaking.

7. Broken Veins

Seeing tiny red lines on your face? These are most likely broken blood vessels (also referred to as spider veins or thread veins) and are another common skin change that hormonal shifts can encourage during pregnancy. These marks tend to show up on areas of the skin that is thinner, such as under the eyes and on the upper areas of the cheeks. They can also appear on the body in other areas like the neck, chest, stomach and legs. Spider veins often fade on their own within several months after delivery. While they are typically easy to cover with makeup, you can ask your doctor about treatments to reduce the appearance of broken veins.


Which Acne Ingredients Should I Avoid During Pregnancy?

You should always consult with your obstetrician or dermatologist before using any skincare products while pregnant. Generally, over-the-counter ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are generally considered safe for use during pregnancy in limited amounts. Check with your doctor first before using any products, and avoid tretinoin (Retin-A ®) while pregnant, which can be harmful.

How Do I Prevent Varicose Veins While Pregnant?

An increase in blood volume and hormonal shifts can lead to varicose veins while pregnant. While you may not get varicose veins at all during your pregnancy, getting off your feet, elevating your legs and wearing compression stockings can stop this concern from becoming worse once it develops. If you have concerns over varicose veins, speak with your doctor.

How Do I Prevent Skin Tags During Pregnancy?

Those benign tags of skin that crop up, often where your clothes frequently rub against your skin, are more common during pregnancy due to an increase in hormones. Sometimes skin tags go away on their own; you can also have them removed by your doctor.

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I’m a freelance copywriter for beauty and wellness brands and creative entrepreneur with an expertise in green beauty.

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