With the joys of pregnancy also come the frustrations. One such frustration is rashes. Changes in hormones during pregnancy causes physical changes in the skin including dermatitis, rash and skin changes from which only pregnant women suffer.
There’s Acne on My Chest!
You probably thought you were past the awkward phase of acne breakouts that you experienced during your teenage years.
However, only a short time into your pregnancy you find you have acne on your chest amongst other areas of your body.
Thankfully, some of the other areas can be covered, but due to fashion trends, covering the décolletage promises to be more challenging.
Acne is the most common skin change for pregnant women, specifically on the chest, back and face.
While you may have conquered your acne with birth control before, the fluctuation in hormones while off of birth control and during pregnancy would explain the return of pimples, cysts, and pustules now.
While a precious few women get to tout the glow of pregnancy, most pregnant women experience a broad spectrum of changes in the skin. So, when you wonder, Why me? You are not alone.
Acne is one of the changes that is caused by a change in your hormones, but what are your hormones doing to create such a frustrating problem?
The Culprit: Hormones
Every pregnant woman wants to find and deal with the culprit that causes her acne.
Perhaps it is preparation for noticing the little culprit who will flush an apple down the toilet in your not too far future. Believe me. It will happen!
In the hunt for the culprit that causes your acne right now, we are going to address your hormones.
Your fluctuating hormones cause an increase in sebaceous function which causes acne. It also causes folliculitis, another type of acne.
The hormone androgen, which is a male hormone which increases during pregnancy (How ironic that pregnancy causes an increase in male hormones in women!) increases the production of sebum in your oil glands.
The overproduction of sebum clogs the pore of the oil gland creating a blackhead.
Other causes for acne during pregnancy include increased sweating due to increased activity in your eccrine glands, changes in your immune system, and increased activity in the sebaceous glands in the third trimester.
Do I Have Other Skin Conditions to Watch For?
There are additional skin conditions which you will need to watch for throughout your pregnancy.
The following list is caused by an increased function in the eccrine glands: miliaria (prickly heat), eczema, and hyperhidrosis.
Other changes to look for include atopic eruption which is a red and itchy rash and the polymorphic eruption of red, itchy bumps on and around stretch marks.
A rash may develop around your belly button called pemphigoid gestationis.
How to Treat Your Skin Condition
Now that you are completely beside yourself with all of the skin conditions that you may experience during your pregnancy, there is hope.
Skin conditions are treatable. Many can be treated in the privacy of your home, while others should be diagnosed and treated by your doctor.
To treat acne, daily cleansers with alpha-hydroxy acid can be used to minimize and control breakouts. To prevent breakouts, use a mild soap or a soothing cleanser on your skin twice daily. Make sure you use tepid water.
It is also helpful to avoid soap with fragrance in it and to moisturize with oil-free or water-based lotions.
It is advised to use little makeup and wash it off every evening. If you feel like you need to follow up with acne treatment, make sure you talk to your doctor first.
Some acne medications are not safe to use during your pregnancy. Fortunately, after your baby’s birth, these issues do clear up.
Don’t forget that all of your body’s changes during pregnancy are not negative. While the changes in hormones and immunity cause physiological changes in the skin, there are many changes that are both beautiful and exciting.
For many women, hair grows faster and may become thicker. Eyelashes fill in. Fingernails grow longer and stronger.
Many women “glow.” The growth of your belly is both exciting and, in my opinion, beautiful!
Other changes that are exciting are the first flutter of baby moving in your belly. Then there are the hiccups, and kicks from baby.
Some women love the fullness or growth in breast size; others …not so much! Do you like wider hips and a bigger booty? I would bet your significant other will!
Pregnancy is exciting! Rather than dwell on the negative changes in your body, concentrate and celebrate the beautiful ones! Soon baby will be here, and your body will heal over time. Celebrate the changes in you and your baby!