Skin Changes during Pregnancy and Postpartum
Pregnant women witness lots of changes in their skin, and they usually question whether these changes are normal or should be controlled.
To further discuss the most common skin changes, hyperpigmentation, stretch marks, hair loss, and more, I had an interview with the Dermatologist and Cosmetologist Dr. Diana Mezher where we explained many important details.
For my full interview with Dr. Diana Mezher, click on this Link
Question Number One: What are the skin changes faced by pregnant women, and which changes are normal?
Normal changes during pregnancy are related to hormonal changes, like hyperpigmentation or chloasma. Hyperpigmentation or chloasma implies a skin discoloration, where the melanin increases in a woman’s body due to estrogen. This skin discoloration appears on the face and we call it a pregnancy face mask, and is very common during pregnancy.
We are able to control these changes by decreasing their effect and presence after pregnancy, but we can’t stop them utterly.
Question Number Two: Do the skin changes which appear during pregnancy disappear after giving birth?
The skin changes gradually decrease but don’t entirely disappear after giving birth. However, with some treatments during and after pregnancy a woman can effectively help in controlling and reducing their presence.
Question Number Three: What can we do about these skin changes and what are the treatments?
For hyperpigmentation, sunscreen is highly recommended since the sun stimulates skin discoloration leading to more apparent, frequent and dark spots. Also, these spots become harder and take longer to treat after giving birth. Therefore, a woman should apply sun protection factor (SPF) all the time during pregnancy. Many argue that chemical SPF is harmful to the skin, because they can get into deeper layers of the skin, but no studies prove that. I personally recommend physical (mineral) SPFs during pregnancy to minimize all potential risks since they only cover the first layer of the skin.
Moreover, pregnant women should avoid getting direct contact with the sun by wearing a hat, and avoid getting tanned since it might lead to serious problems like dehydration. As for vitamin C serum, you can use it if you already have it as part of your skincare routine, but should be done in schedules to avoid skin irritation.
Question Number Four: Do you recommend using DIY products on the skin during pregnancy, like lemon for example?
I do not recommend using any random products on the face since its skin is more sensitive. Generally, there’s no proof that DIYs can help your skin. Also, lemons might cause skin breakouts because of their acidity.
Question Number Five: What about some hyperpigmentations that appear in specific areas of the body?
This means skin discoloration in the stomach, vaginal area, nipple area, inner thighs and others, do these go away after pregnancy?
The answer is:
This is called pure hyperpigmentation, and this type will commonly go away in about 6 months after delivery.
Question Number Six: Is acne normal during pregnancy too?
Acne is a condition that can happen during pregnancy, even if a woman has never experienced it before. The effective acne treatment is not allowed during pregnancy, so a woman should just apply a proper skincare routine like Lactic acid to gently exfoliate her skin.
Question Number Seven: Do all women get stretch marks, is it genetic, and what’s their treatment?
Stretch marks are commonly related to genetic and hereditary factors. Unfortunately, we can’t completely avoid stretch marks, but we can have treatments to minimize their presence.
I recommend that all pregnant women in general, and pregnant women with stretch marks in specific, apply ointments, creams and lubricates to moisturize their belly and skin. Some good products include Bio-Oil, Secaplus, and Neutrogena Hydro Boost.
After pregnancy, a woman should start treating stretch marks right away to have faster results. Retinols are not recommended during breastfeeding, while lasers are safer to use.
Question Number Eight: Should we avoid beauty treatments during pregnancy?
Yes, botox, fillers, high-frequency heat (lasers), retinol, benzoyl peroxide, essential oils, hydroquinone, salicylic acid, and many other ingredients should be avoided during pregnancy to avoid their dangerous effects.
A woman should even avoid dyeing her hair during pregnancy at least in the first trimester, as the hair dye may penetrate your skin and bloodstream.
Question Number Nine: Are these products harmful to the baby as well during breastfeeding?
My input on this is:
- No studies have shown that hair dyes can harm your baby during breastfeeding.
- As for botox, the general recommendation is to avoid them until after breastfeeding to avoid potential mistakes and harms.
- Fillers are safe to use during breastfeeding
Question Number Ten: What about Keratin, is it harmful during pregnancy?
I do not recommend keratin or any chemicals that can get into the bloodstream during pregnancy.
Inform your hairstylist and dermatologist of your pregnancy or recent birth so that they choose safer alternatives for you.
Question Number Eleven: What can pregnant women do about excess hair loss during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, due to hormones, a woman’s hair grows heavily and quickly. Then, after delivery, these hormones drop leading to excessive hair loss.
Luckily, we can reduce this issue by avoiding heat, using volumizing shampoos, reducing hair showers’ frequency, using microfiber towels and being gentle with your hair. You can also take prenatal vitamins. However, I recommend giving your hair some time to revive by itself and not taking hair treatments if they’re not necessary.
If hair loss continued for over a year you might need to consult your dermatologist or doctor for blood tests to check the origin of the problem.
Question Number Twelve: What are your top tips for healthy skin?
My first and greatest tip would be commitment. Make sure to have a proper skincare routine, choose the right products and stick to it.
Keep a healthy lifestyle. Take enough sleep to help your body remove all toxins and induce your skin’s glow (yes, beauty sleep is real), and make sure to have a healthy and balanced diet. Also, make sure to take care of mental health, if you’re happy inside it will show on your skin.
Question Number Thirteen: What chemicals should I avoid during pregnancy?
Chemicals that should be avoided during your pregnancy are:
- Retinols and all vitamin A derivatives
- Benzoyl Peroxide
- Salicylic Acid
- Topical Sulfur
- Essential Oils
Finally, love your skin, it has always been there for you!
We hope this information was helpful!
To view my full interview with Dr. Diana Mezher about skin changes during pregnancy and postpartum, click on this Link
Mirna Sabbagh, an adult and child dietitian, nutritionist, and lactation consultant sees patients physically in Dubai, and also does online consultations for weight loss for adults and children, pick eating and other services. In addition, she also has several digital courses: breastfeeding course, starting solids 6-12 months course, child nutrition for all children including picky eaters, and also a weight loss course for adults that you can sign up for from the comfort of your home. You can also e-mail Mirna for questions on firstname.lastname@example.org