Skin Changes

Skin changes are common and expected symptoms to appear during your pregnancy.  Skin changes include stretch marks, increased pigmentation, and acne.  Moles and freckles and other skin blemishes may become darker. 

There are two other skin changes that are related to the increased pigmentation but more affectionately known as linea nigra and the mask of pregnancy.  The linea nigra is the darkening of your lower midline which runs from your belly button to your pubis area. 

The mask of pregnancy is the affectionate name for the increased pigmentation that takes place on your face.  This typically shows up on your forehead, bridge of your nose, or on your cheekbones.

What causes skin changes during pregnancy?

The increased pigmentation in certain areas of the skin is caused by higher levels of MSH, progesterone, and estrogens.  The increased pigmentation is also escalated by additional sun exposure.   Stretch marks are caused be your enlarging uterus and your developing breasts.  Acne may be a reaction to additional oil produced on your skin.

When do skin changes occur during pregnancy?

The mask of pregnancy and other increased pigmentation usually appear by the 16th week of pregnancy.  Stretch marks are more likely to occur in the second or third trimester. Acne may occur at any time during your pregnancy, but is probably most likely to occur during the first trimester when your hormone production is most active.

How frequently skin changes occur?

Increased pigmentation is more common with darker complexions.  Increased pigmentation is expected for approximately 90% of all pregnant women.  Approximately 50% of all pregnant women will experience stretch marks.  The specific number of women that experience acne is not known.


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