Useful skincare tips to help you manage some common skin issues during pregnancy.

You've likely heard of the term "pregnancy glow". This isn't a myth. At around week 11, hormones, coupled with an increase in blood volume, bring more blood closer to the surface of the skin, giving it a more radiant look.

Unfortunately, along with this glow comes a host of skin issues that pregnant women have to deal with. But don't worry; these are merely minor blemishes that can be treated with a few simple skincare tips.

Putting up with pigmentation

The colour of your nipples, genitalia skin and the centre of your tummy will begin to darken, along with existing freckles and moles. You might even get something called melasma, which are dark blemishes on your cheeks, forehead, nose and chin. These symptoms are usually caused by an increase in melanin deposits around the body.

Many women will also start seeing a faint white line from their navel to the centre of the pubic bone. This is called a linea alba. In the second trimester, the line may darken, and is then known as a linea nigra.

What do I do?

Good news — these pigmentation issues will go away naturally after pregnancy. In the meantime, use sun block with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 to 20 to prevent further darkening of the pigmentations.

Sorting out stretch marks

The stretching of your tummy will cause the skin to show up as purple, wavy lines around the tummy, breasts, thighs and groin.

What do I do?

These marks will lighten after delivery. However, during the pregnancy, make sure to moisturise your skin frequently to minimise its effects. Also, consider wearing maternity underwear, which gives better support to the swelling tummy.

All about acne

Pregnant women sweat more as their sweat and oil glands are more active during pregnancy. This causes pimples and acne to form easily.

What do I do?

Keep your body clean at all times, but limit baths to just one a day. Remember to use moisturising soap and avoid intense scrubbing. If the acne is particularly bad, you might want to ask your doctor for some antibiotic lotion.

Solving skin rashes

Another common skin condition is a skin rash that can get quite itchy.

What do I do?

If your itching gets unbearable, do see your doctor. You may be prescribed a steroidal cream if you have particularly bad rashes or eczema.

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By Associate Professor TAN Thiam Chye Head & Senior Consultant, Dr Michelle LIM Senior O&G Resident, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital

The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World Scientific
Healthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore

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