When hormones change during the wild nine month pregnancy duration, some characteristics change in lusciously feminine ways like growing thicker, shinier hair and supporting more voluptuous cleavage—and then there’s the less ideal physical changes like the appearance of stretch marks, linea nigra (the dark, vertical line stretching from the belly button down to the pubic area), spider veins, melasma (patchy brown marks on the face), puffiness and overall swelling. While many women look forward to the maternity “glow,” it is often interrupted with a few dermatological hiccups that can be treated or even prevented.
Acne: because acne is often a hormonally driven skin condition, it is common for some pregnant women to experience acne flare-ups during pregnancy. Though some women report clearer skin while expecting, many have to be more diligent about cleansing skin to prevent breakouts. To keep pores clear from make-up and oil, but note that you’re skin becomes very dry when you’re pregnant so you should reframe from using products with salicylic acid which is common in acne fighting products, particularly for spot treatment. For the same reason, it is also important to avoid retinoid creams that are typically used to erase under eye bags.
Stretch marks: Alright, this one is pretty much inevitable. With the unavoidable stretching of the skin to support a healthy growing baby, the skin is going to go through some major adjusting to accommodate stretching. Enter Stretch marks. These thin, brownish, flesh-colored or reddish lines are tell-tale indicators that the skin’s maxing out on elasticity. These marks will often fade naturally over time, but they can also be prevented by eating foods that are rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin E and antioxidants. While curbing cravings isn’t a number one priority during pregnancy, it is important to eat nutrient rich foods to keep skin healthy and elastic. Topical aids may also be applied to improve elasticity. Applying thick, moisturizing creams like cocoa butter or Shea butter on a daily basis is a great way to keep skin moisturized and less prone to stretch marks on the stomach and thighs. And as always, staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water is essential for healthy, hydrated skin, especially since skin is prone to dryness during pregnancy.
Spider veins: With the body literally stretching and growing, blood circulation increases, hormones run haywire, and spider veins (or larger varicose veins) multiply. These purple-ish spindly veins often appear with drastic changes in hormone levels which is why they’re often associated with pregnancy. The pesky network of spider veins often disappear within a few months after pregnancy, but if they persist you should talk to you doctor about making certain lifestyle changes, like improving exercise, elevating your legs and wearing sunscreen, which might improve blood flow and the appearance of veins. If this does not improve the appearance, other options like laser treatment may be effective in treating the veins so they are less visible.
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