Thursday, February 3, 2011

Changes in Skin

It's not uncommon for expecting moms to have changes in their skin.  Of course every woman's experience is different, but here is some information to help you prepare for, and even prevent, some of the changes from occurring.   

One of the most common skin changes occurs on the face.  The "Mask of Pregnancy", also referred to as melasma, causes dark splotchy spots to appear on the forehead, upper lip and cheeks.  Women with darker complexions seem to be more prone to this condition than women with lighter skin.  You may also notice that areas with dark pigmentation, such as freckles and moles, may become even darker. Hormonal changes during pregnancy stimulate a temporary increase in your body's production of melanin, the natural substance that gives color to hair, skin, and eyes. So what's a girl to do to prevent the "mask of pregnancy"?  When you are planning to be outside, be sure to always wear a good sunscreen that is at least SPF 15, or wear your favorite hat or ball cap to protect your face from the sun.  A good concealer can also be your new BFF if the spots really bother you. 

You may have also noticed a dark line on your pretty baby bump.  This is called linea nigra and may have always been there, but not as noticeable because it was a lighter color. During pregnancy this line darkens. It usually appears around the fourth or fifth month of pregnancy and will begin to fade after delivery. Stretch marks may also appear on a mom's growing belly, but using a stretch mark cream high in vitamin E can help strengthen the skins elasticity and even prevent them from appearing.

The "pregnancy glow" is a welcomed change to a woman's skin.  The glow is often from the knowledge and anticipation of the life growing inside, as well as eating right and taking a daily prenatal vitamin.  It can also be linked to an increase in blood volume. Women typically see an increase of 40-50% in blood volume during pregnancy, which can give a mom-to-be a nice healthy look.

After delivery your skin may take a few months to return to it's "pre-pregnancy" state.  It's crucial to continue protecting yourself from the sun during this time.  If your skin is still blotchy after a few months and it's bothering you, talk to your practitioner or a dermatologist about treatment options.

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