This is what happens to the skin during pregnancy

There are many skin changes during pregnancy, since in this state great modifications of internal and external order take place. There are chemical transformations in the body and the skin must give and stretch to accommodate the growing fetus.

Pregnancy leads to a series of disturbances in metabolism, the endocrine system, blood vessels, and the immune system. All this together affects the skin during pregnancy, since this organ is very susceptible.

Anyway, effects cannot be generalized. Although there are certain patterns that are common to many women, there are also others in which the transformations are almost imperceptible.

Main skin changes during pregnancy

Most women have changes to their skin during pregnancy, as well as to their hair and nails. They are noticed, in particular, during the second trimester And they don't mean that something bad happens.

Shiny skin

This is one of the most common changes in pregnant women. It can appear at any time, but it occurs most often during the second trimester. It disappears spontaneously after delivery.

The skin can be seen more radiant, but it also gets to look oilier. This is due to two factors. On the one hand, blood flow increases up to 50% and this increases the oxygenation of skin cells.

On the other hand, hormonal changes cause an increase in the production of fat from the sebaceous glands. Both factors combined make the skin look shiny.

The glowing skin of pregnancy responds to hormonal changes that increase sebum production.

Spots on the skin

Changes in hormones also lead to increased production of melanin, the substance that gives skin its color. This generates brown spots that can be of two types:

  • Pregnancy mask: It is so called because the brown spots appear on the cheeks, nose and forehead. Usually they disappear at term of pregnancy, but the sun can make them worse. The technical name is chloasma.
  • Black line: It is a dark line that connects the navel to the groin and usually disappears a few weeks after giving birth.

Striae gravidarum

Striae gravidarum are caused by stretching of the skin during pregnancy. They are stripes or streaks that appear due to changes in weight. The most common are those of the abdomen, but there are also in the breasts, hips and buttocks.

They are usually red in color, but they can vary to brown or even purple. These marks appear and are accentuated as the baby grows, while increasing in some areas of the mother's body. After delivery they disappear gradually.

You may also be interested in: Treatments to end stretch marks on the skin

Acne and rash

Acne is more common in women who used to have a rash on their face before menstruation. Obey what the production of the sebaceous glands is increased. Interestingly, some women who suffer from acne before pregnancy tend to be less affected by this problem during pregnancy.

Some rashes also appear as a result of heat and sweat that are more intense during pregnancy. Sometimes itching appears in the abdomen during the last months of pregnancy and can spread to other areas of the body. However, it is not dangerous.

Other skin problems during pregnancy

Other skin problems during pregnancy may include the following:

  • Spider veins: appear in different areas of the body, including the face. They usually disappear at the end of pregnancy.
  • Red palms: it is a symptom derived from the concentration of estrogen and may cause itching. It can also appear on the soles of the feet.
  • Skin tags: Some women have these papillomas that may be skin-colored or slightly darker. They also disappear at the end of pregnancy.
  • Blue legs: It is a discoloration of some areas of the legs, more frequent in cold climates. At the end of the pregnancy it disappears.

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Why do these changes occur?

Stretch marks in the abdomen area are due to stretching of the skin that breaks down the collagen fibers.

As already mentioned, several of the changes in the skin during pregnancy are the effect of the biochemical and functional transformation that occurs in the body to make gestation possible. In general terms, the causes are as follows:

  • Hormonal changes: estrogen, progesterone, and human chorionic gonadotropin are produced in greater amounts. This increases the glow of the skin and sometimes makes it look redder.
  • Increased blood flow: there is greater blood production to ensure the development of the baby. This causes redness and spider veins.
  • Stimulation of the sebaceous glands: hormonal changes and increased blood flow help the body produce more sebum.
  • Skin tightening: leads to small breaks in the skin fibers and thus stretch marks appear.
  • Heat and sweat: During pregnancy, body temperature increases and with it sweat. Sometimes this causes skin rashes.

The skin changes like the whole body does in pregnancy

Although most skin changes during pregnancy resolve on their own at the end of the process, it is important to take care of yourself. The best way to do this is by drinking lots of water and using a product to hydrate the dermis.

The dermatologist may also order a cream with vitamins, red algae, or similar components. The use of sunscreen should not be omitted. Performing physical activity on a regular basis, according to the medical advice, is also a good way to prevent some skin problems.