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Pregnancy & Skin Changes

Pregnancy brings about a sea of changes in the expecting mother. Pregnancy does not change just the way you look and your weight but a lot more. Did you know many women experience changes in skin during pregnancy? While some expecting mothers enjoy glowing skin, free of blemish and radiating with health, many experience not-so-great skin changes.

Read on to learn about the common skin problems during pregnancy and what to do about them.

Book an online appointment with Dr. Abhishek Aggarwal for Pregnancy & Gynecology related issues

Relation Between Pregnancy and Skin Changes

First, let’s understand why your skin changes during pregnancy.

When you get pregnant, your body starts producing more hormones to facilitate the baby’s growth. Your doctor also prescribes various medications and supplements to support the baby’s growth. Both of these, put together, will cause a lot of changes in your skin and hair.

As the baby grows, the body produces more growth hormones to facilitate the growth of skin, hair, and nails in the baby. The increase in these hormones will stimulate changes in the mother’s hair and skin too. Not all pregnant women have a great experience when it comes to pregnancy and skin changes.

Once you deliver the baby, the body will stop producing these growth hormones. The hormonal fluctuations will take some time to settle. During this time, you may notice an increase in hair fall, nails may start looking dull or change colour, and skin can also look dull.

Common Changes in Skin During Pregnancy

Some of the common skin changes you can experience during your pregnancy are:

  • Dark Patches

Our bodies contain a substance known as melanin, which is responsible for our skin and hair colour. It also causes your tan when you go out in the sun. It is a substance that increases on the skin surface to protect the skin from harmful UV rays.

Pregnancy can cause a surge in melanin production, leading to dark patches, more commonly known as the “mask of pregnancy”. Generally known as Melasma, such pigmentation during pregnancy is known as Chloasma.

Both Melasma and Chloasma are skin pigmentations due to hormonal changes in the body. Genetic conditions, reactions to medications, exposure to UV rays and sometimes even cosmetics can cause this Melasma. As your skin is very sensitive during pregnancy, even cosmetics you use regularly can cause dark spots or patches.

  • Pimples

An increase in certain hormones during pregnancy can lead to an increase in sebum (oil) production. An increase in sebum production can lead to pregnancy acne. If you are already suffering from adult acne, it may flare up during pregnancy. Even women who have clear skin or no history of acne can experience pregnancy acne due to hormonal changes.

While there are many prescription medications to treat acne, you cannot use them during pregnancy. These drugs can cause birth defects and other issues in the baby. Even if you are using over-the-counter medications or topical applications, you need to ensure the ingredients are pregnancy-safe. Only your doctor can help you here.

  • Facial Hair

All those increases in hormones – especially androgens, to support the baby’s growth and development can stimulate hair growth in the mother. Many women enjoy thicker and shinier hair but some women experience an increase in facial hair. You can remove this hair or keep the growth under control using pregnancy-safe methods.

In most cases, all the extra facial hair growing during pregnancy will subside and go away within 6 months post-delivery.

  • Stretch Marks

Abdominal skin changes in pregnancy and stretch marks are one of the biggest worries for any pregnant woman. Some women develop stretch marks only around the abdomen, upper thighs, buttocks, and upper arms – the areas that tend to gain more weight and expand rapidly. Many women get stretch marks in many different parts of the body. Some women may not have any visible stretch marks at all.

When the skin stretches too much too fast, it causes these marks. Unfortunately, stretch marks are not reversible. After the pregnancy, if you lose weight and your body reduces in size, some of these marks may not be easily visible. Only cosmetic procedures can remove these marks for good.

Moisturizing your skin with topical applications and consuming a lot of fluids can reduce such marks. There is no sure way to avoid these marks completely.

  • Dry-itchy Skin

The hormonal changes can make your skin very dry. It can lead to dull-looking skin. You may feel itchy and even end up scratching more than you would like. Many women scratch enough to leave marks on their skin. In addition to the dry skin, the increase in blood flow can make the skin itchy.

Always use a pregnancy-safe moisturizer and keep the skin well nourished. Drinking plenty of water and other fluids can help keep the skin hydrated and reduce the itchy feeling. If the itch is uncontrollable, you must consult your doctor to rule out cholestasis.

Not-So-Common Changes in Skin During Pregnancy

Some skin changes during pregnancy are not so common and so, everyone does not discuss it. If you are experiencing any of the following skin changes, don’t worry, you are not alone.

  • Skin Tags

Sometimes, the surge in growth hormones during pregnancy can lead to the formation of extra skin leading to skin tags in various parts of the expecting mother’s body. These will go away post-delivery. There are procedures to remove such skin tags in a safe manner, but you should refrain from such procedures until you deliver the baby.

  • Freckles and Moles

For some women, the Chloasma during pregnancy can be severe enough to cause moles and freckles on the face and other parts of the body. These marks will reduce and most of them will fade away within a few months after pregnancy. If they don’t, you can always consult a dermatologist and opt for appropriate treatment.

  • Varicose Veins

Varicose veins have more to do with the nerves than changes in the skin during pregnancy. The increase in blood circulation can cause varicose veins, more commonly known as spider veins. They can lead to visible dark lines on the skin, which can sometimes be itchy. Varicose veins can also be hereditary and you cannot prevent them. You just have to wait for them to fade away after pregnancy.

How to Treat Skin Changes During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy skin changes are temporary. They will flare up due to the hormonal fluctuations and settle down when the hormones settle down. Some women may see the difference soon after their delivery and some women may continue to suffer from the skin issues even for months after the delivery.

If you are planning to undergo any treatment or take medications to control skin issues during pregnancy, you should talk to your gynaecologist first. You should also let your dermatologist know about your pregnancy.

Pregnancy is a tricky time and the hormonal fluctuations are very unpredictable. You cannot control the increase in hormone production. The best solution would be to wait until the pregnancy ends. After the safe delivery of your baby, you can consult a dermatologist and decide on various treatments to help restore your skin health and appearance.


1. Can pregnancy cause skin changes?

Yes, pregnancy can cause changes to your skin. During pregnancy, your hormones shift and fluctuate constantly to support the growth of the baby inside. The body produces more of some hormones than others. As a result, you can see visible changes in your skin, like an increase in glow, clear skin, pimples, pigmentation, or even an increase in facial hair.

2. What are the symptoms of 5th month pregnancy?

In addition to a prominent baby bump, 5th month of pregnancy can also cause heartburn, constipation, and changes in breast and skin.

3. Does your face change in early pregnancy?

Different women experience different changes during pregnancy. The hormonal changes in the body can cause your skin to break out, leading to pimples and blisters on your face or other body parts. Your body can also retain more water than usual, and lead to bloating around your face and limbs. If you are experiencing Chloasma during pregnancy, you can develop dark patches on your face.

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