There is a common myth that all women have glowing skin when pregnant. The truth is very different. Whilst some lucky ladies do have a glowing complexion thanks to the higher blood flow associated with pregnancy, many others experience a variety of skin issues.
When pregnant, your body goes through various physiological changes and there are several types of skin conditions that can occur. These conditions generally fall into three classes:
Hormone changes may cause several skin conditions such as stretch marks, hyper-pigmentation, thinning hair and brittle nails.
2) Preexisting issues
Common pre-existing conditions such as acne, atopic dermatitis, perioral dermatitis and psoriasis may flare up during pregnancy. These conditions may have been underlying for many years and only surface during pregnancy. Many of these conditions can also be linked to hormonal changes.
There are several pregnancy-specific skin conditions that can arise during pregnancy and most of which only require symptomatic treatment and resolve postpartum. One common condition is pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP). This manifests as an outbreak of red bumps that can itch, sting or even cause a burning feeling. The bumps range in size and can combine to form plaques that cover a large skin area. They are most common on the abdomen, whilst legs and arms are also susceptible.
Hormone-related and preexisting skin issues are very common in pregnant women. According to Kiri Yanchenko, founder of AMPERNA®, the most common conditions her clients need help with during pregnancy are perioral dermatitis and acne. We take a closer look at both of these skin conditions:
Perioral dermatitis (PD) means peri (around) oral (the mouth) and sometimes gets confused for acne. The rash tends to appear around the mouth and the folds of skin around the nose. It is made up of little bumps are that are red in people with light skin and flesh coloured in people with darker skin. Along with the rash comes dry and flaky skin that often itches and causes a burning sensation.
It is more common in women than men, with pregnancy known to exacerbate the problem. One of Kiri’s clients recently wrote to her explaining:
“I’m certain that my PD was due to hormonal changes after I had my children...what do you think? My doctor seemed adamant that that was not the case, and pretty much pushed the subject aside and said they weren’t concerned with the “rash”, it would go away with some steroid cream. I wonder how many women have experienced what I’ve experienced. Seems more common now that I have taken the time to look into it more.”
The challenge for this lady and many other PD sufferers is that steroids are often prescribed as the ‘go-to’ solution. The problem is that many people have serious side effects to topical steroids such as topical steroid addiction/withdrawal, sometimes referred to as ‘red skin syndrome’. This side effect can occur when frequently using or misusing moderate to high potency corticosteroids then stopping. It can result in a worsening rash that requires stronger and more frequent application of topical steroids to control. It is a vicious cycle. You can find more information about topical steroid withdrawal here.
Kiri regularly helps her pregnant clients suffering from PD with the AMPERNA® range. The products are suitable for all skin types and for use during pregnancy. The range has been tested on eczema, perioral dermatitis, rosacea, acne prone skin and more.
During pregnancy, acne can be triggered, get worse or for some people it can actually improve. For the majority of women, acne tends to get a bit worse in the early phase of pregnancy and improve as pregnancy progresses.
One of the major causes of acne during pregnancy is hormone surges. Around the 6-week mark into pregnancy, hormones start to surge which can cause glands to increase the production of sebum (the acne-causing oil). When this occurs the hair follicles can become clogged with the over-supply of sebum and dead skin cells. Soon enough whiteheads, blackheads or pimples can appear on the face, chest, upper back and shoulders.
In addition to surging hormones, your body is also retaining significantly more fluid when pregnant and this can encourage the accumulation of toxins which promote the build up of acne.
With all these changes during pregnancy, it is extremely important to take good care of your health, which includes looking after your skin. Kiri works with many pregnant women to tailor a skincare regime to help them manage their acne, PD and other skin conditions. Her clientele has experienced extremely encouraging results. Find out more about the AMPERNA® regime and how it can help you.
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. If symptoms persist, we recommend that you see your GP or dermatologist.