I am a dermatologist, and I would like to enlighten you regarding the care of your skin during pregnancy. I see many pregnant women patients coming to my OP with skin and hair problems. There are common skin issues during pregnancy, such as stretch marks and pigmentation; other issues include pimples (acne), itching, increase of pre-existing skin diseases, etc.
1. Stretch Marks
These can be found on the abdomen, breasts, back, thighs, and legs. Stretch marks are inevitable, but the extent to which they develop depends mostly on genes, type of skin, elasticity, and collagen content.
You cannot avoid them, but you can decrease them by trying to maintain your weight during pregnancy. It’s a common belief that mothers should eat twice during their pregnancy, and that the baby’s weight depends on the mother’s weight. It’s a false belief. Pregnancy needs an additional 350 to 500 calories, and a weight gain of 8 to 12 kg. The more weight you gain, the worse your stretch marks are.
You can start using oil for stretch marks from your 4th month. Massage gently with the oil, twice daily, over the abdomen, breasts, and even the face. It will also decrease itching.
Eat a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, protein, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Keep your skin well hydrated, too.
Pigmentation or darkening can happen on the neck, in the armpits, and around the lips due to hormonal changes during pregnancy. It usually reduces or disappears after delivery.
You can decrease it by consuming Vitamin C through your diet (for example, eating gooseberries or oranges). You can also try home remedies like applying lemon juice (diluted with water or mixed with honey), potato juice, tomato juice or pulp, or curd to the affected areas.
3. Other problems like pimples or acne can increase during pregnancy. You can use azelaic acid 10% or 20% cream. If the acne is severe, consult your dermatologist.
Many women ask about the safety of using sunscreens during pregnancy. Studies show that it may not be very safe. It’s best to cover your face with a cloth, rather than using sunscreens, which contain many chemicals.
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