In Search of That Pregnancy Glow

Tackle breakouts, stretch marks and pigment problems while you’re expecting

Strangers are patting your growing belly and regaling you with childbirth stories, but few are talking about the skin care concerns that come with pregnancy. You survived morning sickness, but where, oh where, is your pregnancy glow?

We’ve got advice for three pregnancy-related skin issues:

Stretch marks. As your abdomen enlarges to accommodate your growing baby, your skin stretches and twists as it tries to keep up. The elastic fibers just below the surface of your skin break, leading to stretch marks. There’s no way to prevent these whitish bands of scar tissue, which typically occur during the third trimester, but you can keep your skin hydrated by liberally applying shea butter or extra-virgin coconut oil. Note: If your mom had stretch marks, you’ll probably get them, too; genetics play a role.

Breakouts. Your hormones surge while you’re pregnant, causing acne like you haven’t seen since you were a teenager. Though most over-the-counter medications are probably OK, talk to your obstetrician about a sulfur-based spot treatment or topical antibiotics (products containing salicylic acid or retinoids are a no-no when you’re pregnant) to zap zits.

Melasma. Known as the mask of pregnancy in pregnant women, melasma is caused by a rise in estrogen levels and occurs most commonly in women of color. Sunlight makes the facial discoloration worse. Make sure to use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day, wear a hat and keep sun exposure to a minimum. The problem usually goes away on its own after you give birth.

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