Pregnancy changes not only the shape of a woman's body but also the texture and tone of her skin. Though many women say that during the time they are pregnant their skin has a special glow, other women deal with skin concerns like acne and melasma during pregnancy. To complicate matters, pregnant woman cannot use all skin care products because some are unsafe during pregnancy.
According to the website BabyCenter.com, acne is common during pregnancy because of fluctuating estrogen levels. Some products designed to reduce acne may be unsafe for unborn babies. BabyCenter.com recommends speaking with a dermatologist about what products are safe to treat acne during pregnancy. The dermatologist may recommend using a product with a mild strength of benzoyl peroxide. BabyCenter.com explains that creams, gels and peels with retinoids like tretinoin and Retin-A should not be used during pregnancy. Accutane, a pill that decreases acne, is also unsafe for unborn babies.
Melasma is a common skin condition during pregnancy. Dr. Jeanine Downie, an experienced dermatologist and owner of Image Dermatology in New Jersey, told the magazine "Pregnancy Today" that melasma is so common it is often called the "mask of pregnancy." She explains that melasma usually shows as patches of brown discoloration on the cheeks and sometimes around the eyes and on the forehead. Chemical peels, which can even the skin tone, are generally not safe during pregnancy. Dr. Downie tells her patients that wearing sunblock can reduce the severity of melasma.
Mild and gentle cleansers are best during pregnancy. Dr. Amy Newburger, a dermatologist in New York, told Discovery Health that glycerin-based facial cleansers are best during pregnancy because they are gentle and moisturizing. Cleansers with ingredients like salicylic acid or glycolic acid may possibly harm the baby, according to "Pregnancy Today," so it is best to stick with basic cleansers that don't have added acids or chemicals.
Discovery Health states that the most important skin care product for a pregnant woman is sunscreen. It recommends that pregnant woman use a sunscreen that has broad-spectrum protection, because it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. The sunscreen should have an SPF of at least 15. Sunscreen is recommended during pregnancy to reduce the appearances of blotches caused by melasma and also to prevent burning.
The use of moisturizers is important during pregnancy, as pregnant women's skin tends to become dry easier than that of other women. BabyCenter.com states that because pregnant women's skin is extra sensitive, they should wear a mild moisturizer with SPF 15 every day. Sandra Marchese Johnson, a dermatologist in Arkansas, told BabyCenter.com that some ingredients in topical skin care products like moisturizers may be absorbed into the skin. It is a good idea to talk to your dermatologist or doctor about what moisturizer is safest during pregnancy.