Women experience dramatic changes during pregnancy and the skin is not spared from the effects. Pregnancy-specific skin dermatoses can be experienced during all trimesters, although most conditions resolve after child-birth. Hormonal activity during pregnancy results in physiological changes and women with a predisposition to eczema may suffer from a flare-up of symptoms requiring dermatology solutions.

Tolerating additional discomfort is an unwelcome disruption for pregnant women. Fortunately, most skin disorders in pregnancy can be treated and the professional staff at Pymble Dermatology are on hand to assist. Once skin disorders are resolved and controlled, expectant mothers can once again dedicate their full attention to caring for their babies.

Common skin disorders in pregnancy

Even women who have never experienced eczema/dermatitis can be affected during pregnancy. While most women are accepting of the potential for stretch-marks or even varicose veins, a sudden invasive rash outbreak can be surprising and alarming.

Here are a few common skin disorders experienced during pregnancy:

  • Hyperpigmentation: An increase in melanin can affect the pigment (colour) of skin and make previously damaged skin more pronounced.
  • Melasma: A type of hyperpigmentation that manifests as discoloured skin patches, most noticeably on the face. Pregnant women are extremely prone to melasma, sometimes called ‘the mask of pregnancy.’
  • Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP): Experienced as an outbreak of red bumps that can itch, sting or cause a burning sensation. The bumps range in size and can combine to form plaques that cover a large skin area. PUPPP lesions are common on the abdomen, while legs, buttocks and arms are also susceptible.
  • Atopic Dermatitis: The itchy skin condition usually known as eczema can flare up during pregnancy, especially in women who have an atopic tendency.
  • Psoriasis: Defined by scaly red plaques (thickened skin) that usually persists unless treated. Any area of the skin can be affected, but psoriasis is most often noticed on the scalp, elbows and knees.
  • Acne: Hormonal surges during pregnancy cause acne in some women. Although usually fairly easy to treat and control, a dermatology consultation is suggested in extreme or difficult cases.
  • Perioral Dermatitis: Appearing as itchy and tender red areas around the mouth and lower face, perioral dermatitis is more common in women than men, with pregnancy sometimes exacerbating the problem.

Additional changes to a woman’s body during pregnancy include the bolder appearance of the linea nigra (pregnancy line) running downward from the navel to pelvic area, along with the potential for skin damage caused by dramatic weight gain/loss.

Treating skin disorders during pregnancy

Although most disorders will naturally disappear once the baby is born, there are safe treatments that can be administered and prescribed by your dermatologist. It’s important to speak to you doctor regarding appropriate treatments during pregnancy.

Here are a few examples:

  • Melasma can be treated with prescription creams or over-the-counter products as advised by your dermatologist. Limiting exposure to harsh sunlight is also helpful, along with the application of sunscreen.
  • PUPPP can be alleviated by antihistamines or topical corticosteroids prescribed by your dermatologist. Materials, products and soaps that aggravate the condition should be avoided. Cool compresses can bring relief from the symptoms, while also keeping skin moist to minimise overheating.
  • Acne can benefit from prescription and non-prescription options under the guidance of your health provider. Regular gentle washing using a mild cleanser is helpful, as is avoiding contact with irritants that can inflame and stimulate acne growth.

 Skin disorders in pregnancy are common. The ideal of the bright glow associated with pregnancy is still there, although sometimes concealed under unwanted skin conditions. Fortunately, modern science and medicine can diagnose causes, symptoms and treatments related to most diseases, and skin disorders in pregnancy are no exception. The team at Pymble Dermatology have the solutions you require to experience the joy and glow associated with pregnancy. They will advise you regarding the safety of medications usage during pregnancy pertaining to skin disorders that you have.