Where’s The Glow?
Sadly, the radiant glow emitted by pregnant women only happens to a lucky few. Most expectant mums experience rashes, stretch marks, dark blotches on the skin and hair growth in odd places! Existing skin conditions may worsen too. The sad fact is that the hormonal changes a woman goes through during pregnancy can affect the skin, hair and nails and not always in a positive way.
During pregnancy the body produces a huge amount of growth factors as well as an increase in blood flow. That increase can give a woman a rosy glow indeed, but it can also lead to broken blood vessels, which are known as spider angiomas. These radiate from a central point and look like spider legs, hence the name. They may develop on the chest, face or abdomen and may clear up after pregnancy, but if not, laser treatment can be effective in removing them.
This is also known as melasma or the mask of pregnancy, and occurs when sun exposed skin on the face, particularly the upper cheeks and forehead, turns a tan colour. This is due to excess pigment being deposited in the upper layers of the skin and can create a rather odd mask effect. Using sunscreen during pregnancy will prevent it from occurring or at least will stop existing areas from becoming darker. The good news is that it usually disappears after delivery though in some cases, skin-bleaching creams or chemical peels may have to be used to remove it.
Experienced by most pregnant women, these are caused by the stretching of underlying skin. They mainly appear on the stomach, breasts and thighs and look like pink or purple bands. They will eventually fade to leave the classic silvery lines that women know so well but extreme stretch marks can be removed using chemical peels. Prevention is better than cure with these marks and controlling weight when pregnant along with exercise and using creams containing alpha-hydroxy acids will prevent them from occurring.
Unfortunately, acne may become worse during pregnancy. Due to an increase in androgen, the male sex hormone, the oil glands in the skin produce excess sebum, which can clog the opening of the oil gland and result in a blackhead. If it becomes infected, it will cause a pus-filled spot. Thankfully, acne does tend to clear up after pregnancy and can be safely treated whilst pregnant with safe medication and alpha-hydroxy acids.
It does seem that pregnancy may be responsible for rather a lot of skin conditions and resultant scarring and blemishes. The good news is that specialists in skin treatment, such as dermatologists, have the knowledge and the equipment to deal with both the skin problems and the after effects. Using lasers, microdermabrasion and other modern techniques, scars can be eradicated, pigmentation removed and stretch marks blitzed without having to resort to surgery. And no need to make a trip to Harley Street in London for treatment any more as most of the cities in the UK can boast of a skin specialist. There is even a dermatology clinic in Middlesbrough for North Yorkshire mums.