skin problems in pregnancy

Skin problems during pregnancy

Pregnancy affects women’s hair and skin in different ways – find out how to treat the different skin problems you may encounter.

Beauty teacher and therapist Lynn Armstrong gives her expert advice on your skin during pregnancy.

Your skin during pregnancy

Many of the problems experienced by the skin during pregnancy are the result of fluctuating hormone levels within our body, coupled with increased blood flow and fatigue. Every pregnant woman’s skin reacts differently to pregnancy.

Acne and pigmentation

Much of the acne experienced during pregnancy occurs in the chin and jaw area of the face, this is generally associated with hormone fluctuations and stress, both of which are present in all stages of pregnancy. Often acne-prone skin tends to be worse in early pregnancy and can be the number one skin problem for many mothers-to-be.

Breakouts lessen in the fourth and fifth months with some experiencing little or no breakout activity for the remainder of the pregnancy due to the increase of female hormones in the blood stream. Unfortunately, once female hormone levels drop, breakouts can reoccur, generally after birth or once breastfeeding has finished.
For those less prone to acne, pregnancy can be a time when we see eruptions on the face, chest and back that are not normal. Again, due to pregnancy hormones often it will often rectify itself once everything is back to normal, but during this time some TLC may be required.

skin problems during pregnancy

There are a full range of targeted acne products on the market, but remember not all are suitable for mums-to-be. A great overnight product to target breakouts and clear dead cells away is Dermalogica Overnight Clearing Gel. Its active ingredients work tirelessly to slough off dead cells and clear out pores as we sleep, healing the skin and reducing inflammation around the break out. Also worth remembering, that even though all you want to do is cover up with some full coverage make up, it’s best to go lightly using a good primer and a mineral make up to help conceal the break out activity. In addition, try not to over clean the skin, as this can aggravate the problem.


Rosacea is another condition that can target the skin during pregnancy. The skin will present with redness, dilated capillaries and acne like breakouts. Often, as a result of the additional blood in circulation in pregnancy, this skin condition should be handled with care. Using soothing and hydrating products will help in reducing the appearance of redness and irritation. Exfoliation should be avoided along with fragranced products, toners containing alcohol and heavily foaming products. Using a soothing cream cleanser with ingredients such as aloe and lavender will be beneficial to this skin condition.


Rosaliac UV Anti-Redness Moisturiser with UV Protection from La Roche-Posay is a great product for tackling the redness while strengthening the underlying capillaries and providing UVA protection of 15. Sunscreen and temperature regulation is vital in the treatment and maintenance of rosacea, so keep out of the sun!

Dry skin

Dry skin in pregnancy should not be confused with dehydrated skin, it can also exhibit the same symptoms, tightness and flaking. Dry skin should be well moisturised. Often, in the early weeks of pregnancy the skin can become dry, especially if there has been a lot of morning sickness. Dry skin should be gently exfoliated, to remove dead cells and moisturised well. Using a good quality grade of oil is well worth it and it can be used from top to toe including your hair. Avoid using harsh alcohol-based toners and soap-based cleansing products, both of which will strip the skin and result in irritation or potential breakouts.

skin problems during pregnancy


Finally pigmentation, also known as the mask of pregnancy often seen in a ‘butterfly’ shape across the cheeks and nose and around the eyes. Again, caused by a fluctuation in hormones, which causes the skin to tan more easily. In this case, it doesn’t tan evenly. Often the pigmentation disappears after birth, but in some cases, depending on the amount of pigmentation, it may require treatment.

SPF is essential if you are prone to pigmentation marks such as freckles as part of your normal reaction to the sun. In fact, I would say that SPF is always essential for pigmentation and ageing as well as protection. SPF should play a key role in our daily skincare regime and taking the ‘prevention is better than cure’ route is better when it comes to this skin condition during pregnancy. It should also be remembered that using an SPF after birth will help the pigmentation to dissipate faster and bear in mind that some contraceptive pills can also cause a similar type of pigmentation, so be sure to mention it to your GP.

More you might like:

The truth about stretch marks
Pre and post pregnancy beauty
Beauty quick fixes

Ask Tracey

Midwife Tracey Donegan answers your questions about pregnancy and birth

Q When should I have my first pregnancy scan? And how many scans should I get throughout my pregnancy?

Your first scan is known as your dating scan and is routine in all hospitals. Most mums will have this scan at their booking visit, which can be anywhere between 12-18 weeks. The earlier the scan the more accurate it will be. If you have experienced recurrent miscarriages some hospitals will scan you earlier. Contact your antenatal clinic for more information. In Ireland, most women will have two scans in a healthy pregnancy – a dating scan and an anomaly scan at around 20 weeks. However, some units provide a dating scan only. Private scans are also available in most cities and many parents use these services for additional reassurance and to find out the sex of their baby.



Q. I’m would like to start an exercise programme that will benefit my emotional health as much as my physical health, but I don’t know which type of class would be best. Should I consider choosing from yoga, pilates, tai chi, or could you recommend a class, please?

A It’s great that you have decided to get into exercise. The benefits to you are going to be great. You’ll sleep better, have more energy, better skin, reduced stressed, not to mention all the amazing physical benefits of your clothes fitting better, and looking healthy, trim and toned! My advice to you would be to try them all. Even if some don’t offer pay-as-you-go sessions, if you get in touch directly with the instructor, they will almost always let you try it out first to see if it’s for you. All of the above things that you mentioned are great for mental health, so it really will be a personal preference as to which you go for. On top of the classes you mention, all forms of exercise will give you great mental rewards so consider the not so obvious interval training sessions, bootcamp, and circuits too, as you will also feel on top of the world after a class like that.