Pregnancy is a time in a woman’s life when she gets a lot of love and attention from her loved ones. The condition brings plenty of changes with itself.
Most of expectant mommies get a glowing skin. It’s the courtesy of pregnancy hormones. The hormonal changes increase the body’s water retention capacity, which results in skin glow.
However, sometimes, those exact hormones are the culprit behind the dryness of the skin. It must be noted that pregnancy and dry skin go hand in hand and are not cause for concern.
A woman’s skin might become dry, itchy, red, and flaky. It can start peeling or can gain a scaly appearance. Sometimes, an expectant mother can develop cracks and deep, bleeding fissures. This typically occurs in the first trimester.
Easy and effective home remedies can be used in treatment. Still, it’s best to try and prevent the condition from developing as dry skin is more susceptible to infections. Such a state can also pose a bit of an inconvenience in your everyday life as it can prevent you from doing certain activities.
Is it Normal?
Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can cause plenty of other bodily changes, and dry, flaky skin is just one of many. You really needn’t worry as it’s quite normal and treatable.
Your skin becomes sensitive during pregnancy and dryness is not unusual. It typically becomes dry around the face and neck. Some expectant mothers can have dry hands.
In some cases, the condition can become severe to a certain extent, and it might require immediate medical treatment. But that’s rare – in most cases, it’s just a simple nuisance.
When and Where Does It Appear?
Typically, the dryness appears during the first few months, and it might persist until the third trimester, in some cases. The most common areas of the body that it affects are the face, neck, and hands.
Other parts can also be affected, such as heels, knees, and elbows. In rare cases, it can affect the breasts and stomach.
What Causes Dry Skin in Pregnancy?
Here are some of the causes of skin dryness in pregnancy:
- Pregnancy-related stress.
- Fluctuating level of hormones – the most common cause
- Oil glands producing an excess of oil, resulting in acne. The oil and acne themselves are harmless, but one might tend to wash them too frequently, thus causing dryness.
- Dietary changes can have an effect on the elasticity of the skin.
- During pregnancy, your body requires more fluid in order to hydrate the developing infant. Risk of dehydration is always present.
In most cases, the only complication is itchiness. However, aggressive scratches can lead to minor cracks or tears, which put you at risk of scarring or infection.
If an expectant mother has had eczema, dry skin can bring it back. Acute and widespread dryness that is resistant to home remedies will eventually have to be treated by a dermatologist.
Tips and Tricks
If you are pestered by this condition the following steps may help:
- Some lotions can help moisturize and soothe the skin. Calamine Lotion, vitamin E oil, and petroleum jelly may prove to be helpful.
- Using a blend of water and apple cider (1:2) can prove to be a great cleanser and very beneficial as it restores the natural pH balance.
- Bathing in milk can be helpful as the lactic acid can soothe and hydrate the skin. To try it out, prepare a milk bath by mixing half a cup of cornstarch, half a cup of baking soda, and two cups of powdered milk. Pour the content into your bath water.
- Using Mild cleansers such as Cetaphil or Aquanil can repair the damage done by harsh soaps that rid the skin of essential oils. Don’t forget to pat down your skin after washing instead of rubbing it.
- Avoid wearing synthetic clothing. It traps heat, and that can only make matters worse. Instead, wear comfortable, cool cotton clothing. Still, don’t scratch your skin through cotton fabric.
- Yogurt can prove to be an excellent home remedy as it contains lactic acid and protein. It’s not only great for cleaning the skin but hydrating it as well. The yogurt ought to tighten the skin and remove dead pores.
- Try as hard as you can not to scratch the dry areas.
- Avoid going to the pool as the chlorinated water can cause further damage.
- As it has been noted, prevention is so much better than cure. Just a little bit of effort can help you avoid the problem. There are a couple of ways to prevent the condition from developing:
- Drink plenty of liquids to keep hydrated. Drinks such as soda, tea, energy drinks, and caffeine ought to be avoided. Instead, it’s better to drink green tea, ginger ale, and fresh fruit juices.
- Avoid chemical treatments like peels and steaming. It will only make things worse.
- Showering in lukewarm water can help prevent the condition. Hot water can rid your body of its natural oils. It’s also important not to shower for too long.
- Use nourishing body oil or hydrating lotion right after stepping out of the shower to retain the moisture. Instead of using chemical moisturizes and perfumes, stick to lotions and creams that contain natural ingredients.
- Always apply quality sunscreen before stepping out in the sun.
- Pregnancy-related stress is troublesome on its own, and the fact that it’s a cause of many unwanted conditions means you should try and take extra steps to avoid it. Listening to soothing music, acquiring useful breathing techniques and practicing meditation or yoga can help you avoid that.
- Stay active by going out for walks and doing light exercises.
- Mud packs and hydrating face masks, when applied occasionally, can be good for the overall health of the skin.
- Have a good meal plan and eat fatty foods like avocados, nuts, and olive oil, as well as foods with a higher water content, such as watermelon, soup, and green leafy vegetables.
- Do not bathe too often or wash your hands. After washing your hands, apply cream instantly. Reapply moisturizers regularly.
- Place a humidifier in your bedroom during the night.
When to Consult a Dermatologist?
- Typically, such a condition can be treated at home. In most cases, there are no dangers, only mild discomfort. However, certain situations might deem a visit to the doctor’s office. You should see a specialist in the following cases:
- If you develop folliculitis – a condition in which hair follicles become sore or read because of swelling.
- If the itching and dryness become quite intense, especially on the palms and feet. That might be a sign of OC (Obstetric Cholestasis).
- If the dryness becomes acute and doesn’t go away after being subjected to various home remedies.
- If the color of your stool becomes pale, or your urine becomes dark. Such symptoms are typical of the condition known as ICP (Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy). It’s a liver disease that only occurs in pregnancy.
- If you develop cellulitis, a bacterial infection.
- If you get atopic dermatitis or eczema.
- If the dryness starts to spread to other areas of the body – especially if it starts from the abdomen and then spreads onto the arms and legs. Itching and red patches may follow. It could be PUPP (Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques)
- If the skin develops deep, bleeding fissures or cracks up.
- As you may know, there is a big chance of getting stretch marks or striae in pregnancy, especially when the skin is dry. You should be using a good quality stretch cream to prevent or get rid of these marks.
Dryness of the skin is an entirely normal occurrence in pregnancy and is usually harmless. Most of the pregnancy-related conditions go away after childbirth. Instead of worrying, try to enjoy the pregnancy while you await the arrival of your precious little angel.