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 Allison

Q My sister-in-law and I both work three-day weeks and we help each
other out with child minding on our working days, which up until recently has worked out really well. Between us, our kids are aged between five and nine years – the problem is that it’s now become quite apparent that we have very different parenting styles. I prefer my two daughters (seven and nine) to have a structured day. For example, in my house, we have allocated times for television and iPads, etc. My sister-in-law, however, lets the kids run loose after school – homework is ignored and my kids end up wired after eating sugary treats all afternoon. I am considering looking at after-school childcare for the kids, but I’m worried that this is going to cause a family argument. Is there a diplomatic way that I can ask my sister-in-law to introduce some discipline into her child-minding days? It certainly doesn’t do her two kids any harm when I am minding them in my own house!

In a word, no, there is no diplomatic way to do this as it may very likely seem like your saying that your parenting style is better than
hers. As L’Óreal says, ‘now here comes the science bit.’ Dr. Kaylene
Henderson, a child psychiatrist, wrote a very interesting blog about ‘the
science behind the Mummy Wars’. She explains that before she had
children of her own she hadn’t been aware of how parents have a
very specific sense of the right parenting style. She also found that parents could be very definite in defending their chosen parenting style. Dr. Henderson, who describes herself as a curious, scientific, open-minded person, was surprised at how defensive parents could be and, at times, of their judgemental attitude towards each other. She explained the neurology of the Mummy Wars; okay, I’ll need you to bear with me for a second. Warning; I’m about to use some neuro-techie language.

Why do we judge each other?
As we have all had different experiences, this means that we all have very different memories stored in our brains. Most of our memories are ‘explicit’ memories – these are ones that we can recall easily such as important dates that mean something to us; important birthdays, special events or stories of and about our lives.
There is another type of memory called ‘implicit’ memory that plays a
key role in our parenting. This type of memory is the stuff that you do on autopilot. Psychologists call these heuristics or rules of thumb –
such as tying your shoelace, or driving your car (once you have learnt
to do both first!). Otherwise we’d really waste a huge amount of time
pondering over tasks that we have readily available to us. This seems to be where the science bit of our parenting style kicks in. This implicit memory goes all the way back to when you were an infant being parented by your parents. This is when you started the process of storing up how they did it into your memories.
Unless you make a conscious choice and effort to parent differently, what you saw and unconsciously learnt will be your automatic go-to parenting style.

We learn habits
This can really kick into gear when we feel our parenting style is
being mirrored or highlighted by disapproval from another parent. I know the cold sweat you feel when your child decides to make their outstanding bad behaviour performance at, of course, the most public and worst time. The implicit autopilot of how your parents dealt with these outbursts will flow unconsciously from you if you haven’t worked super hard to be aware and consciously change the old habits.
What’s happening for the on-looking parent is that they see you doing something they are used to doing, but you are doing it all wrong. Simply, because that is not how they know how to do it.

Find a way that works
You both have different parenting styles – who is to say which type is correct? You just need to know what works best for your family and that’s the bottom line. The irksome feelings won’t go away. You can talk to your sister-in-law, but I’m adding a caveat that it would be hard not to hurt her feelings. What we’re possibly looking at is that you prefer a more structured form of parenting, whereas your sister-in-law has a more permissive style. I’m not sure the two styles can mix, the mixture is a bit like oil and water.
If a collaborative shared form of parenting style can be agreed upon, then that is great, but our learnt hardwiring may prove difficult to change despite the intent to do so.
Perhaps, your own instinct of changing childcare might work best for you. In terms of making childcare work; the fit is ultimately the most
important aspect as you want a cohesive congruent feeling of the other caregiver to just ‘getting it’, like in any good partnership. Best of luck
with this and I wish you both well.


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Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….