Common Skin Changes During Pregnancy

Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy often lead to skin changes. Although most are benign, it is important to be especially careful. Learn more in this article!
Common skin changes during pregnancy

Skin changes during pregnancy are caused by changes in hormonal activity and blood circulation. Often, most pregnant women’s biggest concern is the occurrence of stretch marks. In addition to this, however, there may be spots, changes in skin color, pimples and other skin problems.

According to information published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, these changes are normal and do not endanger the mother or fetus. When it comes to aesthetics , however, they are important to many people. Some women actually prefer to seek solutions from a dermatologist.

In this article we will tell you all about it.

Why do skin changes occur during pregnancy?

The placenta acts as a hormonal organ and produces an increase in the adrenal glands and pituitary gland. In addition to the function of the endocrine glands of the fetus, it causes an increase in corticosteroids, accelerated metabolism and an increase in the levels of progesterone and estrogen, hormones that are responsible for changes in the skin during pregnancy.

Skin changes during pregnancy

The most common skin changes during pregnancy are benign and pose no risk beyond aesthetics. As an article published in the American Family Physician explains, there are pre-existing skin diseases as well as specific dermatoses during pregnancy that require vigilance due to the risk they carry.

If you take the above into account, it is best to consult a doctor or dermatologist in case of skin abnormalities.

Let’s take a closer look at some common changes.

Stretch marks

Most stretch marks occur on the abdomen. They are most noticeable in the third trimester of pregnancy. You can also find them on the breasts, hips and buttocks. These stretch marks appear as the pregnancy progresses and the weight increases.

They can be pink or purple in color. After birth, they begin to fade and will not be as noticeable. In some cases, however, they do not disappear completely. For this reason, it is important to prevent or treat them at the right time.

Their appearance will depend on skin type, elasticity and family history. Indications to reduce the chances of developing stretch marks include the following:

  • Avoid excessive weight gain during pregnancy.
  • Increase the daily application of moisturizing creams to promote elasticity.
Pregnant woman pointing at stretch marks.
Sudden weight change, on top of hormonal changes, causes stretch marks to appear during pregnancy.

Skin marks or soft fibroids

These are small truncated papules, sometimes elongated, brown or skin-colored, which usually appear in the folds of the neck, armpits or under the breasts, and occur around the second trimester. Many can disappear during the puerperium.

Skin changes during pregnancy: Hyperpigmentation

This is more common in women with dark skin and hair. Linea alba (located vertically in the middle of the abdomen, from the symphysis to a few centimeters above the navel), the periumbilical area, the external genitalia and the areolas become more intensely pigmented.

From the fifth month, an enlargement of the color of the areola mammae appears . Brown or yellow spots can be seen on the forehead, cheeks, nose or upper lip. This is called a pregnancy mask or chloasma.

To prevent these changes in pigmentation, we recommend that you avoid exposing yourself to the sun for long periods, use sunscreen with a high protection factor (50 SPF), a hat and clothes that protect your skin. In the months after giving birth, they may fade and improve, but some women will still have small freckles.

All these changes in pigmentation are a product of the hormonal change that takes place during pregnancy. This stimulates the production of melanin for a short time, which gives color to hair, skin and eyes.

In a study published in the International Journal of Dermatology, pigmentation changes were the most obvious change in patients. Some women may notice an increase in the size, number and activity of their moles. They tend to get darker and enlarge. If they start to bleed, we recommend that you see a dermatologist as soon as possible.

Woman with melasma on the face, skin changes due to pregnancy.
To reduce skin blemishes during pregnancy, it is important to increase the measures you take to protect yourself from the sun.

Skin changes during pregnancy: Vascular changes

During pregnancy, blood volume increases, vascular dilation occurs, capillary permeability increases, and new vasculature occurs. These changes in circulation are responsible for the occurrence of edema in the limbs, varicose veins, palmar erythema and ruby ​​points or telangiectasias.

To improve these symptoms, we recommend the following:

  • Wear elastic stockings.
  • Keep your legs raised.
  • Avoid spending a lot of time on your feet.
  • Maintain a healthy and balanced diet.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Do moderate physical exercise.

Most of these changes in the skin disappear after approx. 6 months to a year. If they are there for a long time, you can treat them with measures recommended by a dermatologist.


This condition is common during pregnancy because the sebaceous glands in the skin are stimulated and increase the production of sebum. This can occur in any trimester of pregnancy and can be mild, moderate or severe.

Skin changes during pregnancy: Cutis marmorata

This is a bluish-stained discoloration of the skin that can occur during pregnancy. It mainly occurs on the legs during exposure to cold. It usually decreases in puerperium. If this is not the case then maybe you should consult a dermatologist to rule out other causes.

Light skin

During pregnancy, the skin looks lighter. This is due to two main factors. First, the sebaceous glands are stimulated, with a consequent increase in sebum production. On the other hand, the blood flow in the epithelium increases, which causes more oxygenation of the skin cells.

Taking care of your skin during pregnancy is important

Although most skin changes are considered normal during pregnancy, it is important to maintain a care routine that includes the use of special products. Fortunately, there are many treatments available today that will protect your skin during pregnancy. In addition, it is always helpful to visit your dermatologist.

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