There are common side effects of pregnancy, some glamorous and some not so much. One theme that pops up a lot when referring to pregnant women is their “pregnancy glow.” While this may sound like just an idea of reflecting happiness in a positive aura during this nine-month period, it turns out that there is actually some science behind the fact that pregnant women appear to show a certain radiance during their pregnancy.
The Upside to Pregnancy Glow
Dermatologists agree that having a glowing pregnancy is quite common. And this is where the science comes in. This pregnancy glow is due to the fact that pregnant women have more blood flowing throughout their bodies in order to provide sufficient blood to the growing baby. This dilates the blood vessels, which increases the flow of blood to the skin.
Pregnancy hormones may also make the skin produce more sebum. This puts a layer of oil on the face that may literally add a shine, adding to the glow of pregnancy.
When this combination is seen on a pregnant woman’s face, this can appear to be a healthy glow, when in fact, it can targeted to a healthier complexion.
The Bad News
Unfortunately, this excess of sebum and blood flow may also have a counter effect and for some pregnant women, causing breakouts. Depending on one’s age and type of skin, the pregnancy glow may not turn out to make everyone look so luminous. Similar to teenage years, some pregnant women will be lucky when it comes to their complexion, and some will struggle.
Acne during pregnancy should begin to clear up after the birth of the baby. While many women experience a breakout directly after giving birth, this is actually the tail end of an acne cycle, when all of the bacteria is leaving the skin. This breakout is likely to be the final extreme skin disaster throughout maternity.
It is important to not compare yourself to other pregnant women when it comes to skin complexion. Doctors who are concerned with your pregnancy are not likely to be concerned with your skin’s reactions to the hormones. They are more focused on the health of the baby, your lab results, your baby’s growth and your overall health and well-being.
Other Pregnancy Skin Conditions
It’s not just acne that may pop up during pregnancy. There are other skin-related conditions that may come along with pregnancy that are less than desirable. Some of these include stretch marks and varicose veins. With the rapid gain in weight, many women incur stretch marks while their baby is growing, especially during the third trimester. While there are products to use to lessen the chances of getting stretch marks, it is most important to turn to your mother or grandmother, because these are mostly genetic.
Using coconut oil or a thick moisturizer on your stomach may help keep stretch marks away a bit, but there is really not much that can be done to ensure they do not come about. The fast stretching of the skin may cause itchiness as well, however, this can be treated with a thick moisturizer or natural oil.
Another common yet less talked about skin condition that comes during and after pregnancy is melasma. Often referred to as the mask of pregnancy, melasma causes brown or grayish brown patches to appear on the face. This most commonly happens on the forehead, cheeks, nose, chin and upper lip. It may also appear on parts of the body that are often exposed to sunlight. Not too much is known about melasma, despite its common occurrence. It is thought, however, to be due to hormones.