How Pregnancy Affects the Skin: The Good, the Bad, and the In-Between

Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz

Pregnancy is a life-changing and exciting time; however, new mothers can be distracted by some skin conditions, such as stretch marks; skin discoloration, also known as chloasma; and acne. Many of my patients experience such skin conditions, so I have developed a few recommendations on how to care for those conditions that may result from pregnancy.

One of the most common skin problems resulting from pregnancy is stretch marks, or striae gravidarum. Ninety percent of pregnant women develop them by their third trimester. The stretch marks most commonly develop on their breasts, stomachs, buttocks, arms and thighs. While you may not be able to prevent stretch marks, there are products available to help improve their appearance, such as Mederma® Stretch Marks Therapy. Mederma® Stretch Marks Therapy is dermatologist-recommended and clinically shown to reduce discoloration, improve texture and enhance softness in twelve weeks, with noticeable results in as little as four weeks. Even though Mederma® Stretch Marks Therapy contains botanical ingredients that are commonly used in many creams and lotions, I advise patients to consult their healthcare professional or OB/GYN prior to using any new products while pregnant or nursing.

Another skin issue is chloasma, often called the “mask of pregnancy,” which causes the skin on the face and body to darken during pregnancy. Many women experience the darkening of scars as a result of chloasma, which can be also be accelerated by exposure to the sun. To prevent scars from darkening from the sun, I recommend using Mederma® Scar Cream Plus SPF 30, which protects from sunburn while helping to improve the overall appearance, color, texture and softness of scars. Like any topical skin care product, I recommend asking a healthcare professional or OB/GYN before using Mederma® Scar Cream Plus SPF 30 while pregnant.

Due to increased hormone activity, many women also experience acne on the mouth or chin during pregnancy. You should avoid products that contain benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or any other retinoids, because they are not safe during pregnancy. However, sulphur-based topical products and products containing glycolic acid or alpha hydroxy acids are safe to use during pregnancy. Again, prior to using any of these topical treatments, make sure to consult your dermatologist or OB/GYN during pregnancy.

While there may be some negative skin conditions associated with pregnancy, you should be able to use the tips above to help take control of your skin during this time and get back that pregnancy glow.

All information in the Mederma® Learning Center is intended for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical advice. You should seek professional medical care if you have any concerns about your skin.