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Pregnancy and Sensitive Skin

Pregnancy and Sensitive Skin

For many women, pregnancy glow and stretch marks aren’t the only ways their skin will change during pregnancy.   

As your body changes, so does your skin – including, for some women, increased sensitivity. This often appears as red or tender skin, itching, or burning after using certain products or detergents – even ones you’ve been using long before becoming pregnant.1

Here are some of the common skin sensitivities you can expect while you’re expecting, plus some practical tips for dealing with sensitive skin while pregnant.

Why does skin change during pregnancy?

There are a number of reasons why skin changes during pregnancy. Three common reasons include hormone-related changes, pregnancy-specific changes, and changes to pre-existing conditions.2

Hormones are in constant flux during pregnancy which can affect oiliness or dryness of skin, itchiness, acne, varicose veins, hyperpigmentation, and more.

Other skin conditions, like stretch marks and abdominal itchiness, are pregnancy-specific since many people experience them during or right after pregnancy.

Some women have pre-existing skin conditions like eczema or atopic dermatitis and may experience changes to the severity of their symptoms while pregnant.3

Common skin conditions during pregnancy

Skin changes can vary from woman to woman as well as from pregnancy to pregnancy – and some women don’t experience many skin changes at all! Still, it’s helpful to know what you might expect while you’re expecting.

Here are some of the common skin conditions women may experience during pregnancy.

Dark spots and melasma: melanin naturally increases during pregnancy which can result in darkened spots all over the body. Melasma or the ‘mask of pregnancy’ are darker patches of skin concentrated around the cheeks, nose and forehead.4

Stretch marks: these pink, purple, or red stripes of skin occur in areas where skin rapidly grows and is stretched tight during pregnancy, predominantly along the belly as well as on breasts, hips, and thighs.4

Spider veins and varicose veins: hormonal changes, increased blood supply, and the weight and pressure of a growing baby can cause spider veins, tiny red veins that appear on the face, neck, and arms, as well as varicose veins, veins in your legs that can become swollen, sore, and blue.4

Dry, itchy skin: in most women, skin stretches and tightens along the belly, especially in the third trimester, which can cause dry, itchy skin.5 In addition, women who are prone to dry skin before pregnancy or women who are pregnant during the winter when the air is cold and dry may experience dryer, itchier skin.

Acne: increased hormones during pregnancy cause oil glands to kick into overdrive so skin may break out more easily.6

Pre-existing conditions: women who already experience pre-existing skin conditions like eczema or atopic dermatitis may see a change in their symptoms while pregnant.4 Work with your OBGYN to monitor your skin conditions and come up with a plan that is safe.

Soothing sensitive skin while pregnant

Here are a few safe and easy tips to help soothe and support sensitive skin while pregnant.

  • Wash with mild, fragrance-free soaps.
  • Take an oatmeal bath to relieve itchiness and irritation.
  • Wash linens and towels more often. Allergens like pet dander that didn’t bother you before may bother you now. 7
  • Opt for lukewarm baths or showers, as hot water can lead to skin dryness.
  • Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize – not just your face, but your belly, too!
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing.  
  • Use hypoallergenic, fragrance-free sensitive-skin laundry products like all® free clear which is the #1 recommended detergent brand by dermatologists, allergists, and pediatricians for sensitive skin.

Want to learn more about sensitive skin? Check out All About Sensitive Skin for other common causes of sensitive skin, plus some extra tips for dealing with it. 



Relevant Products in this Article

  • all® free clear liquid laundry detergent, THE ORIGINAL

  • all® free clear MIGHTY PACS® laundry detergent, THE ORIGINAL

  • all® free clear dryer sheets