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6 Skin Problems That Develop During Pregnancy

So, you are in a family way. Good for you! But remember, the journey to motherhood is fraught with challenges, think isolation, fatigue, mood swings and physiological conditions. In these hard days, preconception healthcare is essential to ward off complications and conceive safely. It’s time you frequent your doctor for routine consultations and checkups, receive diagnostic care, and fetch the required supplements and medications. Well, for expenses, the Bajaj Finserv health EMI network card keeps you covered, offering discounts on all healthcare needs. 

Besides physiological conditions, skin issues are a fact of life for expecting moms. Some are hormone-specific, and some, pregnancy-related. Regardless of what stimulates them, these conditions impact your looks and self-esteem. Fortunately, most of them are benign and tend to vanish once you conceive. If they persist, however, seeing your dermatologist is advisable. Here’s your rundown on 6 common skin problems concerning an expecting mom and ways to deal with them. After all, information is your first line of defence against an impending crisis. 

1. Hyperpigmentation

Expecting moms often have to put up with dark spots and patches. In medical terminology, it’s called hyperpigmentation. It’s linked to excessive melanin production in the body triggered by sun exposure, hormone fluctuations, and skin inflammation, including acne, injury, and lupus. The condition typically subsides after delivery, but in rare cases, can persist for years. 

  • Melasma

Hyperpigmentation is a set of multiple conditions, melasma for one. They often call it “the mask of pregnancy”. The to-be mum experiences brown patches on her forehead and entire face, resembling a mask. Avoid exposure to the sun early in the day to ward off Melasma. If you can’t avoid sun exposure, at least wear a wide-brimmed hat. Applying a factor 30 sunscreen also helps. But if it is still visible, consulting a dermatologist in Hyderabad or near you is the only way out.      

  • PUPPP: 

PUPPP is shorthand for Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy. It’s a frustrating condition characterized by red bumps on arms, belly, breasts, and lower extremities. Coming in all shapes and sizes, these bumps are painful to touch, exuding a burning or stinging sensation. PUPPP treatment involves topical corticosteroid and antihistamine for inflammation relief. The symptoms can be reduced with cold compression therapy and avoiding tight-fitting clothes.   

2. Stretch marks

Pregnant women run a risk of acquiring stretch marks on the belly, buttocks, breasts and thighs. During pregnancy, the skin is exposed to rapid stretching and shrinking, which ruptures the collagen and elastin. The skin recovers over time, leaving behind unsightly scars that they call stretch marks. Most stretch marks are benign but some might feel itchy or sore. From reddish-purple to white, they fade but never resolve fully. They are just too persistent. 

Often preventive measures fall short to the menace of stretch marks but keeping your skin hydrated with moisturizers can help. Among the postpartum treatments options available, Tretinoin cream, lasers and microdermabrasion standout. The Tretinoin cream and lasers promote collagen growth, while microdermabrasion uncovers the skin layer beneath the stretch marks. The caveat is you’ll be paying over the odds for these remedial measures. 

Why put up with unsightly scars when you can easily fund these procedures with the Bajaj Health Card. For payback, you have easy EMIs tailored to your paying capacity. Discounts on hospital, diagnostics and pharmacy are also readily available. 

3. Acne

Acne is likely to develop or worsen in the first two trimesters. The rise in androgen hormones triggers sebum production in the glands of the skin. The sticky and oily sebum congests pores, causing inflammation and breakouts. Acne can be discouraged with general hygiene practices, such as using lukewarm water for washing the face, preventing hair from touching your face frequently, preferring oil-free makeup and resisting the temptation to pick at pimples. 

Acne is treatable through prescription and nonprescription medications, not all are safe though. Stay away from hormonal therapy, and products containing retinol and tetracyclines. They expose the fetus to some serious congenital anomalies, deadly conditions and developmental issues. It makes sense to consult your dermatologist before trying any remedial measure. 

4. Varicose veins

Some expecting mums experience enlarged veins in their lower extremities, private parts, and vulva. Referred to as varicose veins, the condition is painful and might persist after delivery. It’s a result of impeded blood flow to the lower body caused when the uterus exerts pressure on the veins. Varicose veins are hereditary, passing from one generation to the other. 

You can’t do much to avoid varicose veins, but symptom relief can be achieved with some practical measures. These include avoiding long sitting or standing sessions, sleeping on the left side, using a maternity support hose, lifting legs quite often and exercising regularly.     It’s harmless usually, but itchy and discomforting at times. In that case, consult your doctor. 

5. Skin tags

In all likelihood, you might end up developing skin tags during your journey to motherhood. These are non-malignant lesions usually appearing on breasts and underarms, but can be expected on the groin, neck, back and other areas where skin folds. Typically, skin tags are harmless but can bleed and cause discomfort when exposed to clothing and jewellery.

These lesions start small but might grow up to 5cm. Interestingly, they are hard to prevent but easy to remove. The dermatologist in Hyderabad would either recommend Over Counter medicines or perform procedures, such as Excision, Ligation, Cauterization and Cryosurgery. Don’t remove them yourself, or else, you’ll be dealing with bleeding and infection.  

6. Prurigo of pregnancy

It’s another benign, pregnancy-specific condition experienced by 1 in 300 pregnant women, mostly in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. It’s linked to the adjustments that the immune system makes during pregnancy. The condition is characterized by minute, prickly bumps, mimicking an insect bite. The symptoms might deteriorate as the pregnancy progresses, causing discomfort.   

Prurigo of pregnancy is self-subsiding, but symptoms might take months to fade away after the delivery. No treatment is effective against the condition though, symptom relief is achievable with phototherapy, topical steroid lotions and antihistamines administered orally. 

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