Halloween may just be less than 2 weeks away but mums-to-be definitely won’t welcome unsightly (real, physical) skin issues for this costume party. More often than not, most of us fret over possible occurrences of common skin changes which comes with pregnancy. You will be relieved to know that millions all over the world experience them too!
1) Linea nigra is a dark line that goes down the middle of belly; sometimes starting from above your belly button to down south. Apparently, the linea nigra is darker in darker skinned women and disappears several months after delivery. So, just take it in your stride, ladies! For myself, this pregnancy line appeared in the early months and it seemed to get darker by the second trimester.
Tips: Since it’s gonna stay till you pop, don’t get yourself bothered by it!
2) Stretch marks are small, depressed streaks in the skin that appear most often on the abdomen in the later stages of pregnancy when the belly is rapidly expanding to accommodate a growing baby. Some women also get them on their buttocks, thighs, hips, and breasts.
Caused by changes in the elastic supportive tissue that lies just beneath the skin, they creep out pink, reddish brown, purple, or dark brown, depending on your skin color. Over time, they become less obvious, although they never totally disappear. Sources point that if mum had them, chances of you having them are high too. Genes!!
Tips: Moisturize and hope for the best! Many women swear by concoctions of anti-stretch mark creams and oils. In the initial months, I started with Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Skin Therapy Oil, available at Watsons for less than $20. Takes awhile to get into the habit of applying daily, that’s from yours truly who religiously use body lotion on arms and legs daily for the past 10ish years. Fellow GFs shared raves about Clarins Stretch Mark Control Cream ($82) and Clarins Tonic Body Treatment aka Huile Tonic ($75). Despite the hefty price tags, both seem to have won the hearts of women all over the world (just do a quick google and you’ll know what I mean!) The cream is thick and feels rich but good to moisturize the drier stretched areas – using my 2nd tube already! It spreads easily and leaves a thin film of protection on skin. No stinky odor too since it’s fragrance-free. Both oils took awhile to get used to, as I’m not a fan of oil-based stuff. The Clarins Oil smells really good – feels like an after-spa session with its blend of plants extracts including Rosemary, Geranium and Mint. Get your husband to help you apply these potions – an opportunity for some bonding time for him with you and baby!
3) Itching Some areas of your skin may itch because they get dry and flaky, others may itch because of a prickly rash on certain areas. Many women find the itching is most bothersome in the skin that stretches, mainly over the abdomen, but also on hips and thighs.
Tips: Try a gentler body cleanser since the skin gets more sensitive during this period. Having experienced this in the early months, the itch and red spots on my lower abdomen got annoying. Darted to Watsons to try QV Wash and QV Cream though they didn’t immediately stop the itch, my skin does feel less dry. When both ran out, Physiogel Cleanser was my next option and I’m still using it – even my eczema-prone friend swears by Physiogel. Drinking more water helps to keep skin hydrated and healthy inside out too.
4) Dark areas become darker. Little moles and freckles may now become bigger, and brown spots or birthmarks become browner. New moles may also appear. The areola and nipples of your breasts will become quite a lot darker – according to Mrs Wong Boh Boi who conducts ParentCraft lessons, they play the roles of lighthouse for baby who seek for food!
Tips: Inform your doctor or dermatologist if these moles seem particularly raised, dark, or have irregular borders. I did notice more moles/brown spots appearing on my arms and even a couple of raised moles too. Hmmm…
5) Acne may spring a surprise with the onslaught of sudden hormonal changes. Skin may become oilier which causes it to be prone to clogged pores. Likely to last throughout the pregnancy and takes some effort to keep things under control.
Tips: Avoid harsh exfoliants and cleansers that may further aggravate the skin. Look for non-comedogenic skincare products and makeup, free of fragrance or coloring to reduce skin sensitivity to these. Due to the risk of birth defects, anti-acne prescription drugs, Accutane and Retin-A cannot be used during pregnancy. Find out why Dermalogica cleansers are one of my faves!
6) Pigmentation. Some women may be more prone to pigmentation especially fairer skinned ones. Melanin and the Sun’s rays cause skin to be more susceptible to skin damage. Some hidden parts of your body may have new pigmentation (akin to mini freckles) too, it’s all part of the hormonal changes.
Tips: Slap on sunscreen whenever you head out. A tube of UV protection definitely costs much lesser than laser treatments to undo any damage!
Many mums have also been singing praises for Bio-oil that’s launched in Singapore just this year. Have you got positive experiences with this stretch mark fighter too? Do share your views! :)