Month three

Preg­gie skin tips

Your Pregnancy - - Contents -

# 1 STRETCH MARKS

Pre­ven­tion op­tions: None! As your tummy (and your breasts and butt) start to fill out dur­ing preg­nancy, you may start notic­ing stretch marks de­vel­op­ing that are red­dish or pur­plish in colour. They then turn glossy and streaked in sil­ver or white. The hor­monal and stretch­ing ef­fects on the col­la­gen fi­bres in the der­mis cause them. If you are prone to them, the sad news is that they can­not be to­tally pre­vented. How­ever, der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr Hardie de Beer, founder of Crème Clas­sique, says, “Ap­ply­ing ce­tomacro­gol (an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory mois­tur­is­ing creams) and al­pha hy­droxy gels con­tain­ing gly­colic and fruit acids can help with im­prov­ing the end ap­pear­ance and are to­tally safe dur­ing preg­nancy.” Th­ese acids pen­e­trate into the der­mis and are well-known fi­brob­last and col­la­gen stim­u­la­tors, she says. Treat­ment op­tions: Hurrah! There’s help! Treat­ing stretch marks af­ter preg­nancy may need a stronger ap­proach, how­ever. Prod­ucts that con­tain mar­tixyl (like Crème Clas­sique Ad­vanced Anti-Age­ing Re­pair Serum) and retinoic acid, as well as treat­ments like CO 2 laser and ra­dio fre­quency can mas­sively im­prove the ap­pear­ance of th­ese lines, says Dr de Beer.

# 2 SPI­DER VEINS

Pre­ven­tion op­tions: OMG your pre­vi­ously flaw-free legs are mak­ing you look like an eighty-year-old woman. What’s up? Thanks to hor­monal changes, small leg veins may di­late and re­sult in red to blue per­ma­nent veins. “The most im­por­tant pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sure when try­ing to avoid th­ese veins is el­e­va­tion. El­e­vat­ing legs while sit­ting or the use of elas­tic sup­port­ing stock­ings may pre­vent them de­vel­op­ing,” says Dr de Beer. Now there’s a great rea­son to tell your part­ner you need to put your legs up while they prep sup­per for you! Treat­ment op­tions: Af­ter preg­nancy, scle­rother­apy ef­fec­tively re­moves spi­der veins. Laser treat­ments are also an op­tion, but are slightly more painful. You may no­tice other both­er­some marks de­vel­op­ing dur­ing preg­nancy, too: “Spi­der an­giomas are red spots due to ar­te­ri­ole and cap­il­lary di­lata­tion on the arms, hands, neck and face. Most of them dis­ap­pear af­ter two months. Per­ma­nent an­giomas are treated by CO laser or 2 hi-fre­quency by a der­ma­tol­o­gist,” says Dr de Beer.

# 3 THE MASK OF PREG­NANCY

Pre­ven­tion op­tions: Un­for­tu­nately there’s no way of pre­vent­ing this from form­ing (it oc­curs in as much as 75 per­cent of preg­nan­cies) and nu­mer­ous top­i­cal treat­ments con­tain in­gre­di­ents that are con­traindi­cated dur­ing preg­nancy. “Sun­screen is still the best top­i­cal ap­pli­ca­tion for re­duc­ing the ef­fects of pig­ment for­ma­tion and if pos­si­ble sun avoid­ance should be prac­tised as much as pos­si­ble,” says Dr Alek Nikolic, founder of skin­miles.com. “It is pri­mar­ily caused by hor­monal changes, which have a di­rect ef­fect in in­creas­ing melanin (pig­ment) pro­duc­tion in the skin. Pre­vi­ous sun dam­age (all those years hang­ing at the beach!) also be­comes more vis­i­ble due to the in­creased melanin pro­duc­tion.” “Oc­ca­sion­ally we see ex­ces­sive new pro­duc­tion lead­ing to melasma (chloasma gravi­darum, or the mask of preg­nancy). Melasma is char­ac­terised by large patches of pig­ment in the skin usu­ally in a sym­met­ri­cal pat­tern. It can be seen on the cheeks, up­per lip, and fore­head and even on the neck and chest. Melasma looks like brown, tan, or blue-grey ar­eas on the face and can be di­vided into three lo­ca­tion pat­terns,” ex­plains Dr Nikolic. Treat­ment op­tions: “This is a very dif­fi­cult form of hy­per­pig­men­ta­tion to treat, but it may lighten or dis­ap­pear once the preg­nancy is over. Other treat­ment modal­i­ties such as medium and deep chem­i­cal peels, lasers, and so on, can only be per­formed once breast­feed­ing has stopped,” he says.

# 4 ITCHY SKIN

This con­di­tion can drive a mom-to-be nuts! “Hor­monal fac­tors, as well as liver func­tion strain, con­trib­ute to mild to se­vere itch­ing with or without ac­com­pa­ny­ing dry skin on the trunk and limbs,” ex­plains Dr de Beer. It may be mild and re­lieved by anti-in­flam­ma­tory mois­tur­is­ing creams, or se­vere, lead­ing to con­tin­ual scratch­ing, loss of sleep and blis­ter­ing. Cholesta­sis of preg­nancy can be dan­ger­ous for your baby, so do con­sult your doc­tor if you have ex­treme itch­ing and/or known liver trou­ble.

# 5 LINEA NIGRA

You look like you’ve been split in half and stitched up again! Preg­nancy lines, as they are com­monly known, may have been there all along – they were just too light to no­tice. Hor­monal changes kick up your pig­ment pro­duc­tion so the area dark­ens in a line that runs down your tummy to­wards your pu­bic bone, and can be­come no­tice­able from your fifth month of preg­nancy. The good news? It will fade af­ter the birth of your baby, but it might take up to a year.

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