Expecting, pregnancy, skin

When pregnant your body and even your skin go through many changes. Image: Pexels/ Yan Krukau

Expecting? Here’s what to expect from your skin during pregnancy

Expecting a little bundle of joy but struggling with bad skin? Here’s what you can expect and how to treat it.

Expecting, pregnancy, skin

When pregnant your body and even your skin go through many changes. Image: Pexels/ Yan Krukau

It’s no secret that a woman’s body goes through many changes during pregnancy. These changes also affect the skin. Here’s what to expect from your skin while pregnant.

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The hormonal changes a woman goes through during the various stages of pregnancy may disrupt the skin’s delicate balance, resulting in anything from dehydration to breakouts and hyperpigmentation.

Your pre-pregnancy skincare routine will likely not suffice for the new challenges brought on by pregnancy, plus, if you use products containing active ingredients, you may need to reconsider your regime as the ingredients may not be safe for your baby.

Pregnancy brings on a radiant glow for most women, especially during the first trimester. This is due to increased blood flow, fluctuating hormone levels, and increased oil production. However, this glow sadly doesn’t always last, and as a woman’s pregnancy journey evolves, she may begin to experience less desirable skincare changes.

Heavily pregnant bride dancing
Heavily pregnant bride dancing. Image: CANVA

Some of the most common skin concerns women experience during pregnancy are:


Acne is extremely common among pregnant women, especially among those who have a history of acne or those who experience hormonal acne linked to their menstrual cycle. The change in hormones and increased oil production that is responsible for that pregnancy glow may lead to clogged pores and an increase in breakouts. This may range from occasional breakouts to severe acne.


Have you ever heard of the “pregnancy mask”? Also known as melasma, it is a condition in which women develop dark marks on their skin during pregnancy. For some women, it may be small freckle-like spots; for others, it may be larger, blotchy patches. Melasma is often symmetrical and occurs most commonly on the nose and cheeks (thus where the term “mask of pregnancy” comes from) but may also appear on the upper lip and forehead. Anyone can develop melasma, but it is particularly common among women with darker skin.

Melasma occurs when a steep rise in the hormones estrogen and progesterone stimulates excess melanin production in the body. It usually develops during the second and third trimesters when these hormones are found at higher levels in the body.

Melasma may be intensified by sun exposure, and one of the most important things you can do to avoid this is to protect your skin against the sun’s rays by applying a broad-spectrum SPF product every day. The good news is that melasma is usually temporary and will fade after pregnancy.

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Skin sensitivity is extremely common during pregnancy, mainly due to increased hormone levels. Some women may also experience flare-ups of conditions like eczema or dermatitis. It’s important to avoid harsh or dry skincare ingredients and to opt for soothing products free from fragrances and colourants.


Hormone changes may cause the skin to lose elasticity and moisture, which is why dry skin is a common concern during pregnancy. Replenish moisture by drinking plenty of water and applying moisturising products containing hydrating and moisturising ingredients like hyaluronic acid.                      

Ingredients to avoid:

Some ingredients used in certain skincare products may harm your baby, so it’s important to reconsider your skincare regime as soon as you find out you’re pregnant (or if you’re trying to conceive). Avoid products with high caffeine content, retinol (vitamin A), and salicylic acid, especially during the first trimester.

It’s important to avoid prescription skincare products during pregnancy, as these may harm your baby. Professional treatments like Botulinum Toxin injections, filler, laser, and certain chemical peels are also not recommended during pregnancy, however, there are plenty of pregnancy-safe facials available.

Speak to your doctor or healthcare professional if you’re uncertain as to which products are safe.

Ingredients you may use:

Hyaluronic acid is considered the best ingredient for dry and dehydrated skin and it is safe to apply during pregnancy. Natural ingredients like tea tree oil, aloe vera, coconut oil, etc., are also safe. UVB ray blockers like zinc and titanium are safe and are a must to help prevent the darkening of hyperpigmentation.

Whether you’re loving your pregnancy skin or facing skincare challenges, it’s important to stick to all the skincare basics you knew before you were expecting:

  • Maintain a suitable skincare regime twice a day.
  • Never go to bed with makeup on.
  • Change your pillowcase regularly.
  • Disinfect your cellphone regularly.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Eat fresh and unprocessed foods.
  • Try not to touch your face and remember to apply SPF every day.

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